Bringing cheer to Cheshire Home

Sharing of two students from Form Four Phi on their experience during their St Joseph’s Social Outreach Programme (StJoSOP) to the Sarawak Cheshire Home on 18 January 2020

   On the 18th of January 2020, the class of Form 4 Phi had a social outreach programme held at Sarawak Cheshire Home Kuching to enable students to learn how to contribute to the society. The programme was mainly focused on helping students to understand what serving the community and the less fortunate is like so that we will sympathise with the residents and appreciate how lucky we are.

   When we arrived, we were introduced to the history and background of Cheshire Home. Immediately after that, we were assigned into groups and areas to do some clean-up such as sweeping and cleaning the blocked drains. After that, we showed the residents the performance that we choreographed beforehand. Many of them were impressed by the singing done by my fellow classmates. We ended the performance with the whole class singing 10,000 Reasons, Hari Ini and Gong Xi Gong Xi. Mandarin oranges were even given out as a gift to the residents and also the helpers as a token of appreciation for letting us go there and do some community service. A Mass was held as a conclusion to the day’s activities.

   I felt extremely relieved that the residents were properly taken care of and were constantly beaming at us, waving and overall being lively. Seeing them smile made me proud of myself and my friends to have been able to help them out. This experience has granted me pedagogical insight on ways to help each other and those who are in need. I believe this activity is extremely important in shaping teenagers to be compassionate so that they may blossom into fully functioning adults who can actively contribute to the world. I learnt that happiness can be found in the simplest of things, especially when we are surrounded by people who care for us, because we will not be plagued by loneliness; instead, we will be joining in the laughter and joy that is permeating through the air.

   As a responsible person, I think that manifesting empathy and compassion within ourselves can be a first step for us to start taking action and helping those who are in need. With compassion, therefore, we will be able to do things with cause and meaning so we will understand why certain things have to be done to help others.

   This programme has served as a wake-up call for me as I realised that I have plenty more opportunities to grow and mature. I think more activities like this should be organised to galvanise the youth into contributing to society to make the world a better place.

by Max Ng Tze Khai

   While I was cleaning, I felt very proud and happy that I was able to contribute to the cleaning activities.  Although my group was given a simpler task of sweeping while other groups had to clean the drains, we put in effort to make sure we had done well. 

   I felt content and delighted when we got to perform for the residents.  At first, I was unsure and nervous about performing in front of so many people.  However, once the residents started smiling, singing along and clapping, I felt more excited and ecstatic to be performing for them.  It was an extremely fun experience.  Seeing them smile and enjoying our performance is a very beautiful memory. 

   We also built a stronger bond while cleaning together.  We talked to people we usually don’t and got to understand each other better.  I felt very fortunate to have such great people as classmates.

   Some residents couldn’t walk and that reminded of how much I should appreciate that I could walk and move my body parts.  I often forget how big of a part my body organs play in my life.  Sometimes I am sad or frustrated because of my flaws, such as my body shape or my legs and other things like that.  However, seeing the people in that home that day made me realise how fortunate I am.  I learnt that I should be grateful for what I have been blessed with and to stop comparing myself to others because being able to walk and move freely is an amazing gift.

   Besides that, I learnt to reach out to the residents when we had to wheel them to the hall.  Sometimes it was hard to comprehend what they were trying to say but we had to be patient and try our best to help them. 

   Apart from that, I learnt to work better with my classmates. We had to work together to clean the room and listen to one another while we were cleaning. We offered help to one another and once we finished what we had to do we would ask Sister Felis what we could help with.  It was a meaningful experience to help Cheshire Home as it provides love and care for less fortunate or disabled people. 

   As a person, I can offer help to those in need or people who are less fortunate.  Besides helping with material things such as donating money or daily necessities, I can offer moral support like encouragement or spend time with them so that they feel valued.  In addition, I can volunteer at charity homes as there are usually many residents and a lack of staff by offering to help with chores or events organised for the benefit of the residents. 

   I aspire to become a psychologist and I hope that I will be able to use my profession to help people.  In today’s modern world, full of stress and competition, there are many people suffering mentally and emotionally.  I believe everyone deserves to be happy in this life on Earth.  Therefore, I do not want to help people only because I am paid to do so, I want to help less fortunate people who have psychological problems.  People with disabilities such as the residents of Cheshire Home may feel discriminated against or looked down upon.  I would like to help people like them find happiness again.  No matter what I become in the future, I hope I can use my profession to contribute to the wider society.

by Eunice Wong