It has been an unusual school year and the new normal imposed upon us by Covid-19 has affected the underprivileged much more than others. Read about how the 60th Boys’ Brigade (BB) and 45th Girls’ Brigade (GB) companies helped them when physical meetings were not possible.
With COVID-19 putting a halt to many exciting plans for the year, many of us resolved to virtual means to continue our activities. We run our days like any other day minus travelling time incurred and find ourselves comfortably settling down at our desks, as we type, video conference or engage in online learning at the comforts of our well-provided homes. Unfortunately, this is not the case with many underprivileged families struggling to adapt to the new “digital” normal.
The Straits Times article aptly reminds us of the digital divide and notes how the pandemic has affected some families disproportionately from others. Also, in TODAY Online article, National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre (NVPC) encourage Singaporeans to volunteer on charity platforms to consider providing tele-befriending or online tutoring services to fellow beneficiaries.
Fuelled by what he had read about the inequalities faced by fellow Singaporeans during this pandemic, Seth Ong, a Raffles Institution (RI) BB Primer in Year 5, started gathering like-minded friends from BB to seek out opportunities to do online tutoring for underprivileged students.
Shortly after, they found their way to Kampong Kapor Family Service Centre (KKFSC) and responded to the call for tutors for lower-income families. Both 60th BB and 45th GB companies from RI and Raffles Girls’ School respectively came onboard and started by tutoring eleven beneficiaries.
Despite the tuition obligations coming to an end in late August, several BB and GB members continued volunteering their time until the beneficiaries’ exams were over until this October.
Ethan Chin, a BB boy in Year 2, shared, “The tuition was conducted over Zoom and sometimes we faced technological issues which hindered the learning process, but that did not stop us from making sure that Jayne* understood the topics we were going through.”
He added, “Additionally, I appreciated the time spent with (my tuition partner) Jaden as we planned the lessons. This experience helped us to understand how we can better contribute to society during this difficult time. It is a massive lesson to remind us how we should use our privilege to empower others.” Watch the video above to see how Ethan and others became online tutors!
Social worker at KKFSC, Stella Wong, who supervised the tuition sessions commented and expressed gratitude, “The RI and RGS students have been a great help to the children. They have been patient and creative in finding ways to engage the children despite the challenges of online tutoring, and parents have noticed improvements in their children’s schoolwork. Thank you for all the efforts to support our families!” (*Name has been changed to maintain confidentiality.)