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Volunteerism with a twist

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Gobbler5 and DIS.IS.ABLE show us fun ways to give back to society.

Altruism has probably never looked this fun. From setting up game arenas to running grocery stands in the heartlands, youth-led organisations like Gobbler5 and DIS.IS.ABLE have been raising awareness and providing assistance for the overlooked community with pretty dope initiatives.

Youth.SG caught up with the two groups last weekend at the inaugural Same Same But Different event at the *SCAPE car park.

Gobbler5, which is part of the GobblerCo family, is a social enterprise that focuses on improving the lives of the marginalized communities with low-cost provisions and education.

Although the first quarter of the year just passed, the team of four, aged 22 to 31, has already organised three unusual charity events this year to benefit the underprivileged and the overlooked members of society – like our taxi and bus drivers.

volunteering, para-athletes, twist, carnivals, youth-led initiatives, youth.sg
SIMILAR WAGONS TO THOSE SET UP AT PROJECT HAND IN HAND.
PHOTO CREDIT: FACEBOOK.COM/GOBBLER5

"Carts for a Cause is held daily to help [bus and taxi drivers] with daily necessities like groceries, but at their convenience. We set up booths at different bus depots or taxi headquarters," said Gobbler5's 23-year-old brand identity developer, Nur Irna Yanty, of their original initiative that brings these necessities to convenient locations for the drivers.

The youths also joined hands with the Jurong Group Representation Constituency (GRC), and started Project Hand in Hand to help 462 households there.

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THE GOBBLER5 FAMILY: (FROM LEFT) NURUL NA'IIMAH, NUR IRNA YANTY, DESIREE YANG AND JACOB LAU.

On every last Saturday of the month, the team sets up six wagons (like those found in your local supermarkets) filled with groceries, and residents from two neighbouring blocks are offered a unique way to give back to their community in exchange for the groceries.

Residents choose to "earn" points by cleaning their neighbourhood, or give tuition to their neighbours. In return, they redeem whatever groceries they want, instead of receiving pre-wrapped packages.


RESIDENTS HAVE BENEFITED GREATLY SINCE THEY CAN REDEEM ITEMS
THAT THEY REALLY NEED, LIKE A RICE COOKER AND A FAN.

The group have their eyes on Bukit Batok GRC next, as they expand Project Hand in Hand.

Another inspiring humanitarian group is DIS.IS.ABLE, which aims to raise awareness for local  para-athletes. It started in 2014 when 26-year-old Shiam Jerome, then a fresh graduate, partnered four students from Nanyang Technological University for their final year project.

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SHIAM JEROME, FOUNDER OF DIS.IS.ABLE.

Although the others left the project after they graduated, Shiam carried on as he believes that equality between the able-bodied and the disabled was important, and that para-athletes should be recognised for their efforts.

DIS.IS.ABLE's website is currently run by a group of four permanent volunteers. They raise awareness of local para-athletes through videos, articles, events and community outreach. They also dabble as a consultancy to help other groups execute events regarding para-sports.

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THE NATIONAL TEAM WITH THE CP BOYS TEAM.
PHOTO CREDIT: DISISABLE.COM

One such commemorative event was a soccer match last November, which Shiam organised. At the event, a team of cerebral palsy soccer players played against the national team footballers.

"You could see the appreciation from them, because they [the cerebral palsy boys] idolised these players," said Shiam.

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THE TEAM OF VOLUNTEERS WHO RAN THE BOOTH AT *SCAPE'S SSBD EVENT.

The sporty do-good group believes that sport connects everyone. Last year, they organised a para-sports carnival at West Coast Plaza where able-bodied participants tried out sports commonly played by the disabled including boccia, wheelchair basketball and goalball. There are plans to organise a similar para-sports carnival sometime this year.

Shiam understands that it's not easy to change the public perception of the disabled, but he takes it in his stride.

He said: "Slowly but surely, if I can inspire five, it's better than inspiring none. I'm not here to make a change overnight."