Lending a palm and creation new friends, one wheelchair during a time – Channel NewsAsia

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SINGAPORE: It is a balmy afternoon during a Sunlove-Kampong Chai Chee Senior Activity Centre, and 72-year-old Mohd Ali Abdullah is tough during work, his eyes bound on a wheelchair fibbing on a side in front of him. With practised skill, he unscrewed a front circle and private it.

“You see?” he said, indicating to a tufts of hair and mud held in a wheel’s hub. “Stuck.”

As he used a brush to delicately chase a hair and sprayed some liniment onto a wheel, he invited this contributor to give a circle a spin. “See?” he said, smiling proudly as a circle spun smoothly. “Just take a hair out, mist a bit and it’s fine already.”

A unchanging during a Senior Activity Centre (SAC), Mr Ali would have whiled his days divided personification games and chatting with his friends during a centre – other retirees in a community.

But somewhat over a year ago, he was recruited to join what is fondly famous as a “wheelchair brigade”: Active seniors who proffer their time and bid to use a wheelchairs of their needy peers.

Dirt and hair tends to get trapped in a circle with unchanging use. (Photo: Lianne Chia) 


Mr Ali assimilated a WHEELS programme that is administered by a Agency for Integrated Care (AIC) and gift Kampung Senang, with appropriation from Temasek Foundation Cares. As partial of a programme, seniors like Mr Ali are lerned to use a wheelchairs of needy seniors in a community.

“Wheelchairs are a pivotal device thin seniors need to pierce around,” explained Woon Saet Nyoon, arch executive of Temasek Foundation Cares. “We realised that there were many times when they indispensable some assistance with their wheelchairs – possibly a tyres got flat, or it didn’t pierce around really well, or a nuts and bolts got lax – and they didn’t know where to go for help.”

“Then during a same time, we saw a lot of seniors who were not doing most with their time … so we thought, because not get them to learn a new skill?”

The three-year commander programme was initial launched in 2017 during 5 SACs in Bedok and Tampines. It has given been stretched to 7 centres, including dual eldercare centres. They are assessing a outcome of a commander before expanding it to other areas.

Ms Woon explained that before to a launch of a pilot, Kampung Senang volunteers had already been servicing wheelchairs for aged beneficiaries. But with a pilot, a programme has been stretched to get active seniors on board.

A structured training programme was also developed, where seniors are sent to a centralised training centre in a Tampines area to be lerned by Kampung Senang volunteers.

The programme includes 6 hours of speculation lessons and supervised unsentimental sessions, and covers topics like bargain a wheelchair components, maintenance, investigation and reserve evaluation.

The seniors afterwards lapse to a SACs where their services are straightforwardly permitted to those who need them.

“When they go by a course, they feel that they’re doing something good, and they get to learn a new skill, instead of only sitting there chit-chatting or personification games,” she said. “And when they know they are doing something to assistance another resident, they are even some-more peaceful to learn.”

So far, they have lerned some-more than 35 seniors as wheelchair technicians, and they wish that during slightest 600 thin seniors can advantage from a scheme.


68-year-old Jamilah Gulam is one of them. She has been wheelchair-bound for some-more than a decade after pang a nasty fall.

But this has not stopped her from going out and about: She enjoys going about her daily activities like visiting a marketplace or mosque, or spending time with her grandchildren during a beach.

What can put a stop on her daily activities, however, is if issues stand adult with her wheelchair. The tyres do get ragged down and the screws do turn lax and need tightening from time to time.

Without a wheelchair, Mdm Jamilah is cramped to her bed, contingent on her children or relatives to do her needs.

“It was really difficult,” she pronounced in Malay by a translator. “The wheelchair is really important.”

But she smiled as she held Mr Ali’s eye and gave him a thumbs-up: Two years ago, she was invited to a launch of a WHEELS commander programme, and it was there that she met Mr Ali, who has been creation certain that her wheelchair is in good sequence ever since.

“I will only call him, and he will come right away,” she said. “He also taught me how to do elementary checks, like if a screw is loose.”

“Sometimes we ask him if we should compensate him,” she added. “But he always says no need, giveaway one.”

“So we only buy him coffee or water, ok lah.”

It takes about 30 mins on average for Mr Ali to repair a singular wheelchair, that includes simple servicing such as cleaning and tightening of lax screws. (Photo: Lianne Chia) 

“Yes, no need money,” Mr Ali chimed in.

He is eager about his role, articulate animatedly about a people he has met given he started out roughly dual years ago. And it turns out that Mdm Jamilah and Mr Ali were in fact aged friends: they are neighbours and he was friends with Mdm Jamilah’s husband.

“I will try my best to assistance them,” he said.

“I saw some people with spoilt wheelchairs … they have to wait for their daughter or son, and they can't go jalan-jalan,” he said.

“I like creation them happy when we repair their wheelchairs.”

It takes him about 30 mins to repair a singular wheelchair, that involves simple servicing such as cleaning and tightening of lax screws. More formidable tasks, such as regulating a brakes and tyres, can take about dual to 3 hours and also requires a assistance of another person.

There are scheduled monthly servicing sessions, though Mr Ali says he is accessible to assistance whenever he is needed.

“I am here each day,” he said. “If people see me here, they ask me, and we will help.”

“They know that if they have wheelchair problems, they can come and find me.”

 And ultimately, he shows no pointer of stopping. 

“I will do (this) as prolonged as we can,” he said, a extended laugh lighting adult his face. “If we assistance other people, a God will assistance we back.

“So we contingency go on assisting people.” 


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