To create an empathetic ripple effect across society
Meet One Step Forward - a youth-led, ground-up initiative that supports the less privileged through community outreach and volunteer projects. Their welfare pilot project started back in October 2020, where Diyanah and Nasha - both co-founders - lend a helping hand to low-income households in one part of Singapore by setting up a pop-up consisting of a free food pantry and free self-care items.
"Basically what we do is, we outreach to vulnerable groups across Singapore. And the kind of project we do varies from helping out across shelters, for example,” Diyanah, the co-founder of One Step Forward, shared with us.
Global Ehsan Relief had the opportunity to work alongside One Step Forward for the second time, during our Eid ul-Adha Charity Ride event.
Diyanah recounted how One Step Forward got into volunteering together with Chapalang Brotherhood: “We started out during the Ramadan Charity Drive. We did the distribution around this area as well (in Aljunied-Crescent). So for Hari Raya Aidilfitri, we brought some kids from the Orphanage out to get their baju raya. So this is our third time with Chapalang Brotherhood.”
For Diyanah, one of the best takeaways from the community effort that she has poured her heart into, is the opportunity to interact, get to know and understand the community better.
“For me I guess it’s the groundwork itself, to see what the community’s needs are. I think it’s one thing to donate money, and not know where it goes. There’s one more aspect of physical labour to it, getting to see the beneficiary themselves. I think that shed some perspective and light that, as much as we know Singapore is a first world country and it’s quite prosperous as it is, there are also plenty of those who need help and we should lend a hand. So I think volunteering sheds that kind of light that we should.”
One Step Forward agrees that working together to help the community is one of the best ways to benefit the community on a much wider scale.
“You never know who knows what. By reaching out, you’ll get resources that you otherwise will not be able to get. It’s more sustainable too,” shared Shama, one of the members of One Step Forward.
The importance of a community can be seen through Global Ehsan Relief’s collaboration projects with volunteering groups such as One Step Forward and Chapalang Brotherhood.
For one, we can do so much more together - by combining our resources, our manpower and our ideas, rather than to carry out initiatives separately.
“I agree with that. When I co-founded One Step Forward, my idea was that, I didn’t think - I knew that within the community itself there were a lot, a lot of ground-up initiatives everywhere, be it big, small, known or unknown. And I think it’s not working in silos, but again, together, that makes it quite a ‘gotong-royong’ feat. But even on a large-scale, it makes more sense when you can find your resources together, combine your manpower together for the greater good,” Diyanah said.
Realistically, it's an impossible feat to reach out to the masses - as much as we all aim to help as many people as we can. But in joining volunteering efforts, making a change in even one individual's life is just as rewarding.
For One Step Forward, they believe that volunteerism and activism does not necessarily require a loud voice or large funding. An empathetic ripple can be started simply by having an idea and taking it in your own hands. To take one step forward at a time, together.
We hope that this article has inspired you to make your own first step forward in lending a helping hand! You can explore more of Global Ehsan Relief’s local projects, or you can also check out One Step Forward for their activities and updates.