Thursday, 21 May 2015

[Today] RCs build more inclusive communities

I refer to the report “FB groups help rekindle kampung spirit” (May 14).
While social media has facilitated networking among neighbours, Residents’ Committees (RCs), which have been around since 1978, strengthen the community by reaching out to residents across all races, ages and backgrounds.
Besides engaging residents — many of whom still do not access social media — through house visits, block chit-chats, floor parties and talks at the RC centres, RCs organise programmes to meet their needs.
For example, in zones where the vulnerable elderly are, RC programmes such as the Ageing Gracefully @ Home programme in Kreta Ayer ensure they are cared for. RCs also engage at-risk youth groups — for example, by opening up their centres or running after-school programmes while their parents are at work.
Many RCs use social media to better connect residents. For example, Tampines Changkat recruits youth volunteers through Facebook for its monthly Bearing Fruit project, which packs fruits at the RC centres and takes them to the disadvantaged in the division.
Through this, we build a more inclusive community. RCs are also unique as important platforms for the Government to explain to residents new policies such as MediShield Life and to gather feedback face-to-face.
In times of emergency, such as SARS, dengue, haze or fires, RCs are able to mobilise quickly to make government and non-government services available to residents, providing the help from neighbours — which is the essence of the kampung spirit.