Students from North View Primary School went on an Amazing Race of sorts to learn kindness.
By Dawn Seow
Being visually-impaired, William Hiu, 58, a guide from the Dialogue In The Dark awareness program has had his fair share of rude comments from people in his everyday life. That explains why he was delighted to meet with a group of enthusiastic primary school children on a Friday morning on May 25.
“I am very encouraged by the children; they didn’t shun away from us, the visually-impaired, but embraced us and learned from us enthusiastically,” Hiu said.
Hiu was among the few beneficiaries who joined North View Primary School on its annual Kindness Movement day. At this experiential carnival that aims to teach students empathy and kindness toward the less-abled, Hiu’s role was to teach the children to navigate a series of obstacles without using their sense of sight.
The Kindness Movement 2012 was organized by NVPS, the Singapore Kindness Movement and City Care Ltd. In its second year running, the event was extended to students from both the upper and lower primary classes.
Before the students embarked on their experiential journey, they were each given a handbook, which taught them how to show kindness to the elderly and disabled, and described the different activities in store for participants. There was also a little column encouraging them to write down the things they had learned from each station.
The school was buzzing with activities as the students went from station to station at the Amazing Race and the Kindness Challenge. The stations gave them hands-on experiences of the daily challenges faced by the hearing-impaired, the physically challenged, the visually handicapped and also the elderly.
The six stations in the Amazing Race consist of relay matches that required students to race each other on wheelchairs, tie shoelaces with only one hand, play table tennis without using their hands, and walk through an obstacle course blindfolded. Another six stations in the Kindness Challenge saw the students playing simple games and learning from each one of them.
In the game where they raced each other to unbutton a shirt using only one hand, the students gained an understanding of how seemingly simple everyday tasks can pose formidable challenges for the elderly as well as the physically handicapped. Participant Martin Hidir, 12, said, “I realized that people who are physically handicapped cannot do these simple tasks. Out of this I learned to be more patient with others and help them in future.”
His classmate Kim Yu Lim, 12, agreed that the task was not easy. After this activity, she understood why her grandparents are slower at doing things and she would definitely lend them a hand in future.
Besides inspiring the students to become compassionate individuals, the games also taught them to solve problems as a team. While the task ahead of them was difficult, the students readily put their hands and brains together to come up with a strategy; some even forgot about their own comfort to help their “disabled” friends overcome the task.
Another segment of Kindness Movement 2012 was the Kindness Quilt, where students decorated a small square cloth with their own interpretation of kindness. The squares would be sewn together into a giant quilt to be displayed in the school compound. SKM’s manager Sarah Lam, taught the students what it meant to show compassion to others, and encouraged them to talk with their parents regularly.
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 the Singapore Kindness Movement, visit www.kindness.sg.