Deaf and hearing volunteers pair up to clean part of Geylang River

Ms Rukhsana Khan Binte Muhammad Yunos (left), 39, Admin Officer and Deaf participant, picking up litter from the waterway along sungei geylang and throwing into the pail held by Ms Clara Lee Wa, 17, Dunman High School JC 1 student and volunteer for W
Ms Rukhsana Khan Binte Muhammad Yunos (left), 39, Admin Officer and Deaf participant, picking up litter from the waterway along sungei geylang and throwing into the pail held by Ms Clara Lee Wa, 17, Dunman High School JC 1 student and volunteer for Waterways Watch Society on Dec 20, 2014. -- PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
Mr Lim Jing Jie (right), 25, SADeaf YouthBeat volunteer, picking litter from the waterway along sungei geylang and throwing into the blue pail held by deaf participant Nicholas Eaw Cheng Shun, 29, 3D artist on Dec 20, 2014. -- PHOTO: LIM YA
Mr Lim Jing Jie (right), 25, SADeaf YouthBeat volunteer, picking litter from the waterway along sungei geylang and throwing into the blue pail held by deaf participant Nicholas Eaw Cheng Shun, 29, 3D artist on Dec 20, 2014. -- PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
Mr Chan Yin King, 23, Undergraduate and Deaf participant from Singapore Association for the Deaf, picking up litter in the waterway along sungei geylang on Dec 20, 2014. -- PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
Mr Chan Yin King, 23, Undergraduate and Deaf participant from Singapore Association for the Deaf, picking up litter in the waterway along sungei geylang on Dec 20, 2014. -- PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
Ms Nancy Teoh (right), SADeaf YouthBeat volunteer, picking up litter in the waterway along sungei geylang on Dec 20, 2014. -- PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
Ms Nancy Teoh (right), SADeaf YouthBeat volunteer, picking up litter in the waterway along sungei geylang on Dec 20, 2014. -- PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

SINGAPORE - Thirteen pairs of kayakers, each consisting of a member of the deaf community and a hearing volunteer, took to Geylang River on Saturday morning to pick up litter.

The activity was organised by youth volunteers from The Singapore Association for the Deaf and aimed to give the deaf participants an opportunity to do their part to keep the environment clean. Volunteers from the Waterways Watch Society also took part.

The young people were paired up for safety reasons, and to get them to work together towards a common goal, said organising chairperson Toh You Xin, 26.

"I feel that the deaf can give back to the community and be equal participants in society in their own ways too...despite their hearing loss," said Mr Toh, who works in public healthcare.

Mr Alvan Yap, deputy director of The Singapore Association for the Deaf, said such events foster greater awareness among both the Deaf and hearing of each other's needs and abilities. "Everyone will realise through such direct interaction that ultimately we are all the same, just that we have different communication modes," he said.

One of the deaf participants was Ms Lau Ee Wun, who works in admin support and is in her 30s. "I have always wanted to try kayaking," she wrote.

"While helping to clean up the river, I came to appreciate our waters."