Elderly receive diapers in interfaith project

Dr Maliki Osman, Senior Minister of State for Defence and Foreign Affairs, visiting Madam Maimunah Hussin, 72, at her home in Bedok yesterday. Madam Maimunah is one of 500 beneficiaries in the South East District who received adult diapers through Pr
Dr Maliki Osman, Senior Minister of State for Defence and Foreign Affairs, visiting Madam Maimunah Hussin, 72, at her home in Bedok yesterday. Madam Maimunah is one of 500 beneficiaries in the South East District who received adult diapers through Project Dignity.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

Singaporeans of all backgrounds should stand together to show compassion for the less fortunate, said Dr Maliki Osman, Senior Minister of State for Defence and Foreign Affairs.

Dr Maliki told faith leaders, nursing home residents and volunteers at an interfaith event to break fast yesterday that "compassion itself knows no religion".

The event at Wisma Geylang Serai marked the culmination of Project Dignity, in which 120,000 adult diapers were given out to 500 beneficiaries in the South East District.

More than 100 volunteers from the South East Inter-Racial and Religious Confidence Circles, South East Community Development Council's Racial Harmony Youth Ambassadors programme and other religious organisations repacked and sorted the adult diapers, which were then distributed to beneficiaries by volunteers.

Instead of giving more common forms of aid such as food, Dr Maliki, who is also the Mayor of South East District, said diapers were chosen to help raise the dignity of the elderly.

He noted that some elderly folk may find it difficult to go to the bathroom and diapers are expensive, so these are seen as a practical form of help while the community chips in to provide traditional forms of assistance.

"We want to spread the message that it is beyond just giving financial assistance, beyond just giving food, because many others are giving that too," he added.

 
 
 

Dr Maliki also said the recent finding from an Institute of Policy Studies survey that showed 15 per cent of respondents felt Muslims were threatening was possibly indicative of Singaporeans' lack of exposure to different faiths.

And while seeing volunteers from different faiths come together was reassuring, he reiterated that the country cannot take racial and religious harmony for granted, adding that there was always "room for us to improve".

Pastor Garrett Lee, 34, from Heart of God Church, which jointly spearheaded Project Dignity, agreed that greater interfaith interaction was important.

He said: "For many of the young volunteers, this may be one of their first opportunities to work closely with someone of another faith. Ultimately, this collaboration is all about the younger generation showing gratitude to the older generation."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 30, 2019, with the headline 'Elderly receive diapers in interfaith project'. Print Edition | Subscribe