"Only a life lived for others is worth living. “ –Albert Einstein
What if we spent a day away from the comfort of our homes, and took a step towards living a life greater than ourselves?
Rag & Bone was the culmination of the months of preparation by Transformers, the first of a two-part event aimed at raising funds for ‘The Makeover’ (home refurbishment). This was carried out through the tireless collection of recyclables within the heartlands of Singapore.
On 3rd November 2018, students across SIM-UOL were involved in helping the event happen. They were first gathered and briefed on the event in the early Saturday morning. The ICs gave out instructions and then dispatched the students in groups to the different blocks in Redhill and Telok Blangah.
The students were given roles such as going door-to-door to collect the neighbours’ recyclables like newspapers and clothings. Thanks to the residents’ generosity, some of them even donated away their electronics that were no longer in use which was especially helpful in funding the event. Items collected were then brought down to the lobby to be looked after by a member of the group everytime and then loaded into the truck to be sent off. As every group had to cover several blocks within the day, the event only ended late in the evening with many of the students feeling exhausted. However from this event, they were able to have a few takeaways such as learning to be more environmentally conscious.
Next up, we have ‘The Makeover’ which occurred about a month later from the first part of the Transformers event. ‘The Makeover’ is a series of home refurbishment efforts to make the recipients’ homes more comfortable
On the early Saturday morning, students were gathered and briefed by the IC of the organising committee at Sin Ming Industrial Estate. They were then divided into groups to head to the selected units to be refurbished. The groups met with the owners and they gathered details on what are the areas or items in the flat to be left untouched. After which, they promptly began their work.
Firstly, the furnitures were removed from the rooms so that the students could work on cleaning and repainting the walls without any obstruction and to prevent the furnitures from being tainted by the paint. Some of the groups were met with some difficulties as the flats were infested with cockroaches, lizards and some of the beds even had bed bugs! Despite so, the students persevered on and helped to remove these pests.
Then, they began cleaning the apartment. Some of the flats had mould growing on the walls, grime accumulated on the windows and stubborn stains on the floors but the students still patiently removed all of the dirt, wiped every window with effort and also mopped the floor. After cleaning, it could be seen that there is already a significant improvement in the state of the apartments as they looked less dull than before!
Next up, we have the painting of the walls and ceilings. However, before that, the cracks on the walls were first sealed with wall putty and the peeling paint was scraped off. After a smooth surface is obtained, a fresh coat of paint was applied, a layer after every dried layer. With lots of patience and good teamwork, the students helped out with one another and completed their tasks.
Now comes the final step! The furnitures were swiftly moved back into the apartment in accordance to the original layout. Students were also required to assemble new furnitures from scratch. Even though many of them had no experience of furniture assembly, the great display of teamwork enabled them to complete assembling and replace the worn out furnitures with new ones. The students had to assemble by themselves from scratch The students also did a final clean up by sweeping the floor. With the area looking new, cleaner and brighter than before, it made the owners extremely thankful and delighted. They thanked the students and exchanged several words with each other. With that, it was the end of the refurbishment!
All in all, through these efforts, the students were left feeling accomplished as they were able to improve the lives of the people in one way or another, be it physically through the improvement of their living conditions or emotionally, where they were able to strike up conversations and also allow the people to feel satisfied with their newly refurbished homes. In addition, the students were able to nurture kindness and empathy towards the community. With that, Transformers 2018 was a success and we look forward to the refurbishment next year!
In case you have missed out on the event, we have gathered some feedbacks from the participants:
“A difficulty faced by the organising committee was that we were unable to receive paint sponsors initially and this was important for the event. However, we tackled it by contacting one of the major paint companies personally and negotiated to get the sponsorship. The options for paint sponsored was not variant and there was a miscalculation of the amount of paint needed hence resulted in the need to spend on it. However, by experiencing this issue once, we can take note of it and be better prepared for the event next year.”
“The collection of recyclables was tiring as it required much effort where we had to go to the several HDB blocks, level by level, to collect the items donated by the residents. Also, by being assigned in groups, we had more courage to approach the residents for donation. Overall, it was a fulfilling and meaningful experience as we know that our efforts will be paid off in this event - the funds and recycles raised from the collection will be able to help the less fortunate.”
“It was a tiring yet meaningful experience for me. It felt really good to be able to give back to the society with such efforts. However, when it started raining then things got a little messy as we were also rushed to complete the tasks so perhaps the organising committee next year could work more on a wet weather plan and be more prepared on it. Overall, the event was well organised and programme flow was quite smooth.”
“The challenge we faced as a team was that the refurbishment work was also quite rushed as we had to finish up a lot of tasks by a certain timing. However I am proud of the fact that my team was able to display good teamwork despite not knowing each other well. Overall for me, the takeaway from this event is that volunteering can be a learning experience where I am reminded to be more appreciative of the things I have and to always give support to those in need. Rag N Bone was a meaningful experience for me and I will definitely join again next year!”