Social action has always been an integral part of being a Methodist. For Jimmy Chua and his team of volunteers from Hakka Methodist Church (MC), they have decided to give back by collaborating with Methodist Welfare Services (MWS) as befrienders in the MWS Family Development Programme (FDP).
This team from Hakka MC first came together in 2016, and they now have 22 volunteers in their 30s to 60s from all walks of life—working adults, retirees and housewives. As MWS befrienders, the Hakka MC volunteers start their first visitation by getting to know the families in need and helping them to apply for the FDP.
Once the application has been approved, the volunteers visit the families every month, over the course of one year, to help them with their financial management. This involves helping them plan how to pay their bills with their current available finances, as well as debt repayment and savings matching, so that they may eventually break out of the poverty cycle.
The help is not just practical. While journeying with the families as befrienders, Jimmy and his team are able to lend them a listening ear, and share their concerns and needs. In the process, the befrienders have developed patience and tolerance, and become less judgemental. They have learnt to share the perspectives of those from all races, language groups and religions. Their commitment as befrienders also requires them to have passion, integrity and team spirit.
Although Singapore might be considered an economically developed nation, there are still many underprivileged members of society who get left behind, although the inequality is often not visible. Jimmy’s wish is to see more Singaporeans, as volunteers and organisations, reach out to the underprivileged. Methodists, he says, can do their part by exploring more in areas of outreach, and to offer their time and resources if they can.
By the MCS Communications Team / Photos courtesy of Hakka MC