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Another Week Beyond 1809

In Another Week Beyond, Blog, Reflections by Vairam

ArtsWok Collaborative is an arts-based community development organisation that nurtures thriving communities by harnessing the power of the arts to create dialogue, invite social participation and build bridges across difference. In partnership with them, we are aiming to get our youths to develop and showcase an original play at the Esplanade next year which deals with the issue of poverty in Singapore. This effort is part of M1 Peer Pleasure Youth Theatre Festival which is a platform for young people aged 13-25 to stage productions at professional theatre venues, under the mentorship of theatre professionals, for audiences young and old.

Last Saturday, 4 of our youths joined 40 drama students and their teachers from Anderson Secondary School and Anglo Chinese School (Barker Road) to kick-off a process of deepening their understanding of poverty; gathering information and insights that facilitate their ability to produce theatre pieces for next year’s theatre festival.

Listening to the stories shared, was an exercise in value clarification. What do we make of someone who raised money illegally out of desperation but eventually found legal employment to alleviate her family’s debts and to stay in school? Do good intentions or good outcomes justify morally ambiguous means? Such and other questions got the group pensive and the notion of poverty was expanded. Many commented that poverty comes in many forms and it was suggested that emotional poverty affects people badly too. The process enabled young people to have a conversation with their peers about an issue that they normally would not touch. As a result, they communicated perspectives that widened and enriched our collective understanding of poverty.

Asnur, an 18-year-old was moved by the experience to speak up. During a question and answer segment, he whispered to a friend, “I want to say something, but I feel so uncomfortable.” Eventually, he raised his hand and took the microphone with shaky hands. “This will be a long story. I think I am one of the few here who lives in a rental flat and let me tell you it is hard.”

He elaborated that as a teenager he felt like he could not fit in anywhere because he had to keep making excuses not to accept invitations from friends to lunch or the movies. The room caught on that he was feeling very vulnerable and offered at supportive presence that enabled Asnur to confidently end his sharing forcefully, “When you guys say you are broke, you just mean that you have run out of pocket money. But when I say I’m broke, I mean my whole family is broke. There is no money! It’s real!”

Today is the 15th and last day of the Lunar New Year festivities. May the festive cheer remain with you throughout the year.

Sincerely,

Gerard

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Theory of Change

In Toolkits by Beyond Research

Beyond Social Services embarked on a joint exercise with National Council of Social Services and Just Cause Asia to illustrating how our services are organised to meet the long term outcomes of social mobility for our members.

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Getting neighbours to fix spoilt bikes

In Media mentions by Beyond Research

First appearing in Straits Times newspaper Oct 20, 2013:

“In a Singapore where many cry out for more social services, a lone voice in the wilderness is crying out for a scale-down.

It belongs to Mr Gerard Ee, executive director of Beyond Social Services, a voluntary welfare organisation which helps curb delinquency among young people from low-income families.”

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Beyond just an act of social service

In Media mentions by Beyond Research

In Straits Times newspaper Feb 23, 2017:

“In fast-paced Singapore, there are those in need – and those who take up the cudgels on their behalf. This is the fifth in a series on noteworthy causes that The Straits Times will be spotlighting.”

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Breaking down barriers: How young people, community groups work to build a cohesive society

In Media mentions by Beyond Research

In Straits Times newspaper Feb 4, 2018:

“While some surveys show the divides of race and religion easing, others point to how class divisions are sharpening. In the second of an occasional series supported by the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, Senior Social Affairs Correspondent Theresa Tan explores how some young people and community groups are working to build a cohesive society.”

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Competent Communities Overview

In Resources, Toolkits by Beyond Research

Authors: Gerard Ee, Kokila Annamalai, Samuel Tang

Renewing our focus on bringing together people from different walks of life and empowering them requires us to reframe our role from professional service providers to professional facilitators. This document serves to guide and re-organise our efforts with a view to becoming more intentional in creating empowered communities and a compassionate society.

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Activating Local Community

In Reports, Resources by Beyond Research

Author(s): Samuel Tang, Gerard Ee for publication in “Mobilising Diverse Community Assets to meet Social Needs” IPS Exchange Series (2017) 12: 104-122

This article outlines the reasons and approach that Beyond Social Services takes in its pursuit of developing communities from the inside out. It identifies 4 best practices in the work that have been integral to the empowering the local community

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