Close to 100 Sikh and non-Sikh volunteers came together to spruce up the homes of the less fortunate, needy and aged Sikhs in Singapore. They washed, cleaned and painted their homes as well as worked with electricians and plumbers to carry out repair works.

Called Project “Reaching Out, Touching Lives”, this initiative by YSA was held in two phases over two weekends on 12, 13, 19 and 20 June 2004.

The aim of the project was to provide the opportunity for Singaporeans to participate in meaningful service in aid of needy and less fortunate Sikhs in Singapore and, in doing so, experience a sense of civic engagement and social responsibility. At the same time, through the project, it is hoped that the participants would be able to understand and appreciate the challenges and difficulties faced by some Singaporean Sikh families in making ends meet. The project was also designed to assist the less fortunate in the Sikh community to enjoy better living conditions. Lastly, it was to enable the participants to develop group and leadership skills.

The two phases saw the volunteers descending on 12 houses across Singapore from dawn to dusk. They carried out a wide range of activities such as washing and spring cleaning, painting rooms, doors, gates and grilles, repairing taps, cisterns and water leakages, repairing electrical faults, rewiring and replacing lamps and bulbs, installing support handles and anti-slip mats in toilets, and shelves on walls and in cupboards as well as changing plastic floorings.

The community service project was certainly an excellent opportunity for Singaporeans to be involved in helping the less fortunate in our society as well as to learn from the experience, so that they become caring and compassionate members of our society. One participant, Vimaljit Kaur, stated that, “The project is an eye-opener for me as I did not know that we had Sikh families who needed help. My friends and I plan to keep the interaction with the children going after this project. We do not want it to be just one-off.” Another participant, Mrs Naidu, said, “I should thank YSA and the team of volunteers in giving me this opportunity to extend my service to such good deeds. It was my pleasure working with your team.”

The project was supported by the Sikh Welfare Council and funded by the Lee Foundation, National Youth Council and the Youth Expedition Project, a programme of the Singapore International Foundation.

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