Star Shelter – A secular shelter provided by the Singapore Council of Women’s Organisation (SCWO) that offers a temporary safe environment for women and children who are affected by family violence.
The shelter provides the residents with basic living necessities, while also catering to their emotional needs through therapy and educational programmes.
On 3 September, young SMOU (YSMOU) reached out to the residents of the Star Shelter, to engage them in an interesting soap making workshop to show care and support, while introducing them to a new skill.
More than 15 residents from the Star Shelter were ferried to the White Rabbit Hole, where YSMOU staffs and volunteers prepared a cosy set up for the activities.
Brother Terence Tan, SMOU Secretary, welcomed the ladies and children, sharing that it was pleasant to be able to gather and meet everyone in-person after 2 long years of the pandemic. As it was the first time the union was reaching out to the SCWO-Star Shelter, Terence introduced the union and the volunteers. Ending off his speech, he encouraged the women and their children to relax and enjoy the evening specially planned for them.
In one room, the children were encouraged to put their creativity into painting a vase that would be presented to their mothers. Upon hearing the news, all were immediately excited about preparing this surprise gift to express their love and gratitude towards their mothers. The youth volunteers sat with the children, guided, and encouraged them to explore creative ideas to make theirs the best-looking piece. They also took the time to engage the children in conversation, asking them about their studies, and learning about their hobbies and interests.
While the children were painting, the mothers engaged in a workshop where they were guided on how to make scented soaps. Using basic materials such as essential oils, crushed flowers and pre-made soap bases, the ladies customised the look and scents of their soap. The process was a delicate one, but thoroughly enjoyable as the participants were seen carefully mixing in the ingredients and delicately decorating their soap bars. One participant commented, “we had so much fun and laughter at the soap making event. It was enriching for us, and we would like to thank SMOU for organising this activity.”
When the activities were over everyone gathered over a delicious dinner and shared conversations with the youth volunteers to learn about the job of a seafarer. When dinner was over, the children presented their painted vases to their mothers, which was a pleasant and heartwarming surprise for them.
Praising the approachability of the volunteers, a participant told SeaVoices, “My children and I enjoyed the activities very much. SMOU volunteers were very friendly and took good care of us. The food was delicious too.”
Finally, the day’s events ended with a presentation of goodie bags containing self-care items for the ladies, while the children received a gift-wrapped stationary set, which they wasted no time ripping open with enthusiasm and excitement.
The Union also donated daily necessity and household cleaning items to the Star Shelter to support their meaningful operations.These were received by the Star Shelter staff on behalf of the residents.
SMOU and the volunteers hope that this organised outreach strengthened the bonds between mother and child through the evening of interaction. Life can be challenging, and SMOU will continue to reach out to care and share with those who have been afflicted by life’s unfortunate circumstances.
“I volunteered at this event to contribute to society as I feel that it is everyone’s responsibility. Although we are all very busy with our life, it was heartwarming to interact with the children and their mothers, and giving them some encouragement through the event.”
Thaniarasu Sannasi, SMOU Executive Committee member, and member of 9 years.
“I thought the outreach was interesting as the activity was very hand-on, and the mothers could make something useful to bring home. I volunteered because I felt that if I can make another person’s life more enjoyable by doing something small, why not?”
Jessy Chua, SMOU member of 3 years.