Mdm Amidah Binte Rajab
Volunteering with RSVP since 2014
I have always had the heart to volunteer but due to my family commitments, I was unable to commit the time. After my youngest child entered secondary school in 2014, I did not want to waste my time at home and since I had more time on my hands, I decided to start volunteering.
In September 2014, I read an advertisement on The Straits Times that wrote something along the lines of “If you are 50 (years old) you can join RSVP”. I was intrigued by that and decided to visit RSVP Singapore to find out more and from there, I got to choose which volunteering programme I wanted to join.
As I was very eager to start volunteering, I joined three programmes simultaneously; the Mentoring Programme, the Mentally Disadvantaged Outreach Programme (MDOP) and the Changi Service Ambassador programme located at the airport. Before I knew it, I began volunteering in the Enriching Lives of Seniors Programme too and all the programmes took up the bulk of my free time as I volunteered up to four times a week.
I am currently a mentor at Paya Lebar Methodist Girls School and during the sessions, we will engage the students by playing games or carrying out activities such as arts and crafts and storytelling. As the students see us once a week for three months, many of them fondly call us “grandpa” or “grandma”. The students sometimes get too clingy, so I must draw a line to ensure that there is no show of favouritism to be fair to all the students. The best memory I have of the mentoring programme is when the students made cards for all of us at the end of the last session. It made me feel like it was all worth it.
I am also volunteering in MDOP now as I was attracted to the idea of interacting with the mentally disadvantaged. My brother-in-law, who is currently living with me, is also like them, so I was curious and wanted to understand them better. At Octave@Bukit Batok, an outpatient rehabilitation centre, many of the patients that I work with are already staying with their families and are already recovering or have recovered. Some of them have even started working by giving out flyers or selling tissue papers!
Today, I keep myself busy in three RSVP programmes namely, MDOP, the Mentoring Programme and the Changi Service Ambassadors. If I had to choose one programme, I would recommend people to volunteer in MDOP so that their perceptions of the mentally disadvantaged will change as many of them are actually normal.