Students of North View Primary School put themselves in the shoes of the less fortunate and learn the true meaning of kindness.
Contributed By Dawn Seow
Eleven-year-old Merwin Lee is a boy of small build, but with the help of his teacher, he managed to turn a wheelchair around and successfully pushed his friend down a ramp, over a small hump and through narrow paths. He was also able to fold the wheelchair, a feat that left a triumphant smile on his face.
Lee had just completed one of the five stations set up by CityCare Ltd in collaboration with North View Primary School in a movement to inspire its students to perform acts of kindness. Lee learned that handling a wheelchair was not as easy as it seemed—the most challenging part was to ensure that his friend did not fall off the wheelchair. “I am better able to help the disabled, now that I have learned how to do so!” declared the student excitedly.
After the long Good Friday weekend, the students of NVPS returned to school to experience a road show setup by CityCare. The road show gave students a chance to get a taste of the daily challenges faced by the hearing-impaired, the physically challenged, the elderly and the visually handicapped.
Principal of NVPS, Ng Yeow Ling, said that it was important for the students to step into the shoes of the less fortunate and to interact with those who are handicapped; this will lead to them becoming civic-minded individuals, who will show empathy, helpfulness and be active contributors in society.
The students were involved in activities such as learning sign language, trying to read through opaque paper, separating red and green beans with their fingers taped, using a walking stick to navigate through a maze—blindfolded, and painting without the use of their hands. Many of them found themselves feeling the frustrations of the less-abled for the first time in their lives.
Andre Tan,12, went through a maze blindfolded, with only a walking stick and the voice of a volunteer as his guide. “Even though I had the walking stick to guide me, it was very difficult because I was constantly knocking into things,” he told City News.
His classmate, Lee Zheng Hui, said that after completing the stations, he now knew how it felt to be disabled and was now more aware of what he can do to care for them in future.
This experiential road show is part of Kindness In Action @ NVPS, an initiative by the primary school, which is in line with Singapore Kindness Movement. The initiative also launched the “Kindness Cent” sculpture to encourage students and teachers to donate to the NVPS’ School Pocket Money Fund. The sculpture of the “famous Pup” is NVPS’ mascot that symbolizes acts of service. The money goes to helping the less fortunate students in NVPS.
Another project launched on the same day was the “Blue Ribbon Project” adapted from the “Who I Am Makes A Difference” project founded by a teacher named Helice “Sparky” Bridges in 1983. Students were given three Blue Ribbons that read “I Make A Difference!” They were to give a ribbon to someone who has made a difference in their life and encourage that person to pass on the blue ribbons to others who have also impacted their lives. The dual purpose of this simple action was to teach the students to say “thank you” to those who have touched their lives; and to also spread kindness within society.
Manager of Singapore Kindness Movement, Sarah Lam, said that SKM has empowered schools to carry out their own kindness movement and she is glad to see schools like NVPS taking the initiative.
Since its conceptualization in 1997, SKM has started many initiatives to encourage the public to start, show and share kindness. Just last year, SKM achieved this purpose with activities such as “Send A Kindness Postcard,” “Give Out A Yellow Gerbera” and “Kindness Ambush.”
To participate in or find out more about Singapore Kindness Movement, visit www.kindness.sg.