My volunteering journey
26 August 2020 • 4 mins read
Twenty five years ago, I started my volunteering journey with SINDA as a Youth Mentor and a young NTUC Union Activist. The first day at Sinda as a volunteer I was introduced to a veteran volunteer Mdm Jeyamani Overithi. She mentored me for about a year teaching me the ropes and avenues that we could contribute as volunteers. She nurtured and in fact in my life became a godmother to me.
One Day after volunteering from Sinda both of us were walking along the road to have our lunch at a nearby coffeeshop as we were walking by the road side a tree branch snapped and dropped on to the road and she immediately sprang into the road to redirect the oncoming vehicles of the danger and called me and a few bystanders to carry the tree branch off the road to the grass verge so that it might not cause any danger to oncoming road users, especially to vulnerable motorcyclists.
We went for lunch at a nearby coffee shop, at the coffee shop she gave me the contact number of Parks and Recreation Department (PRD) now known as NPARKS and asked to call and inform of the fallen tree branch and get their contractors to remove it which I did and at the end of the day when we were leaving SINDA after volunteering we saw the PRD contractors were cutting and clearing the tree branch.
That night as I was reflecting on that day, I realised I had learned not only to be good volunteer but to be a good citizen whom takes ownership and act Immediately.
From that day if there was a pot hole on the roads or dangling tree branch on the road side or a faulty traffic or road lights, breadkdown vehicle in the middle of expressways I called the respective government departments and gave them the feedback to rectify all the issues. Today I have the contact numbers of all theses various government departments in my phone contact book.
I have also joined the grassroots organisations and have been trained in the Community Emergency Response Team, Community Executive Development Programme, Community Leadership Programme. I have been trained in First Aid, CPR and AED. I also respond to incidents around me via notifications in my First Responder to my phone App of accidents and emergencies near wherever I am and will rush to respond to these incidents to assist before the ambulance, Fire Engines and Police arrive as time is crucial in accidents, fire or incidents.
The three of the most memorable awards that I had won in my life are in 2014, I was awarded inaugural Singapore Silent Heroes 2014 as Aspirational Figures of Society and Distinguished Community Service Award by People’s Association. This year I was given Minister Of Home Affairs National Day Award by Home Affairs and Law Minister K Shanmugam.
Four of the volunteers that I had volunteered along with over the years had also been awarded Singapore Silent Heroes my Godmother Mdm Jeyamany Overithi, Bro Foo Say Thye, bro Paul Lee Bing Fong and Sister K Durga. We are all just ordinary humans with extraordinary humanity silently contributing in whatever ways that we could.
I am currently serving on top of being SINDA Volunteer, in Serangoon Community Emergency Engagement Committee(C2E) as Vice Chairman, Association of Certified Security Agencies(ACSA) and Braddell Heights IAEC and Koothanallur Association as its Honorary Secretary, Muslim Kidney Action Association as its Honorary Treasurer and Federation Of Indian Muslims as (FIM) and Yio Chu Kang Zone 6 Resident’s Committee as Committee Member.
Written by Gary Haris
SSH Alumni Member
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Recognising humanity with an award that expresses gratitude of our society for their kindness towards fellow individuals, families, community and environment. Through this award, we look forward to inspiring more to become Silent Heroes. Someday soon, everyone shall be a Silent Hero, not only in Singapore but globally.