CWA – Feeling the Wind in their Hair

3 February 2022

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Feeling the Wind in their Hair

Ravi Subramanian.

Is there a partner who could run a programme where seniors face no social isolation, and get an opportunity to feel the wind in their hair?

Yes, there is. It is Cycling Without Age Singapore (CWA) under the Temasek Foundation Cares Moving Generations programme. The Sree Narayana Mission Singapore (SNM) – CWA partnership was facilitated by the Agency of Integrated Care (AIC). The MOU was signed in 2017.

This is a programme that gives youth opportunities to engage with seniors in an active setting, allowing them to have a meaningful dialogue with them and to learn from them about the past. The settings are the one-hour trishaw rides piloted by trained youth volunteers from CWA.

At SNM, a trishaw waits on the weekends. This is an opportunity for the residents to dress up, to go out, to snack, to enjoy nature, to wave to the gallery, to engage the community, to chat with the youth, andto walk down the memory lane. It’s opportunities galore, and it means a lot to the residents!

The vintage three-wheeler trishaws with their conspicuous red coloured seats have become a common sight in Yishun, especially on weekends. They can be spotted at the parks, near the lakes or the play areas with regally seated and well-groomed elderly passengers, some sporting floppy hats, being safely pedalled by cheerful youngsters. These are some real selfie, wefie photo moments and the youthful volunteers revel in that!

In fact, a buzz was created when the 107 year-old SNM resident, Mdm. Yeo Iu went on a CWA trishaw ride. Apparently, a world record for the most senior resident taking a ride on a trishaw. A truly amazing feat!
There is synergy in this partnership. The partners have a shared mission and their values are aligned. Both are exploring ways to improve quality of life for elders and empower them to lead dignified lives.
For youth volunteers, these trishaw rides are a bridge that connects the past with the future. SNM is the best place to put this to practice.

And it shows. The partnership has blossomed. The number of rides has grown. More volunteers have joined, more are getting trained and elders are enjoying more rides than before. People are noticing it.
Happy memories create happy association. Owen, a regular volunteer from CWA is a shining example. He has developed a close bond with some of the residents. They seek each other and the camaraderie they enjoy during these scenic rides speaks volumes of what these rides can accomplish.

It’s not only feeling that wind in the hair, it’s also experiencing that enduring joy of life!!
Let this community keep growing. It benefits all.

Sree Narayana Mission (Singapore) Pte.

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