One is a researcher, one a medical student, and two are educators. Despite coming from different cultures and backgrounds, these volunteers have the common desire to share the joy of reading with children from underprivileged families.
Reading changes lives and knowledge changes one’s destiny. Before the Covid-19 pandemic, volunteers of the kidsREAD programme would convene at the Vibrance @ Yishun every Saturday, each leading a group of children aged between five to eight years old, exploring the worlds between the pages of books.
The children might find themselves being introduced to the tree in The Giving Tree by primary school teacher Ms Soh Hui Leng, and learning about how, like the tree, their parents are giving unconditionally so their children can grow up happily. Or, they might have second-year medical student Mr Huang Yuxuan showing them his infographic illustrations on the contribution of foreign labourers in building Singapore’s infrastructure, or to explain the importance of environmental protection.
Mdm Hasanah Mohamed Sohdi is a pre-school educator and has been working with children in kidsREAD for a good 15 years. “I hope to plant the seed of reading in the hearts of the children so that they can grow to appreciate the joy of reading,” she says.
Researcher, Mrs Jayanthi Padmanabhan, whose two daughters are both studying abroad, jokes about suffering from empty nest syndrome, and says she chose to become a volunteer because she loves spending time with young children. “Being able to bring 45 minutes of happiness to children every week makes me happy too!”