36 Primary Six students from Lianhua Primary School (LHPS) accompanied nine seniors residing in the Hillgrove precinct on a 5-minute-long train ride from Jurong East MRT Station to Bukit Gombak MRT Station. The train ride is part of the CARE Ride @ South West 2023 event organised by the Caring SG Commuters Committee and South West Community Development Council (CDC). The students and seniors were also accompanied by youth volunteers from both the Bukit Gombak EAGLES Interact Club and Rotaract Club of Bukit Gombak.
2 CARE Ride @ South West is a Caring SG Commuters Committee initiative that is also part of the Adopt @ South West programme. It is targeted at seniors who may require assistance when commuting on public transport due to lack of confidence or other issues such as dementia or poor eyesight. The initiative aims to encourage intergenerational bonding among commuters; for the younger generation to be more mindful of senior commuters in their midst, and to have more empathy and willingness to help, making public transport commutes more purposeful and joyful for all.
3 LHPS has adopted CARE Ride @ South West as part of their ‘Values-in-Action’ programme since 2022. To prepare for the event, LHPS students attended a ‘Caring Commuter Workshop’, conducted by SMRT Trains on 25 October 2023, where the students learnt how they can assist seniors and other commuters who may need help. The students were more aware of the challenges and needs faced by vulnerable commuters like seniors and were looking forward to putting what they have learnt into good use. This year, youth clubs such as Bukit Gombak EAGLES Interact Club and Rotaract Club of Bukit Gombak have also pledged to adopt CARE Ride @ South West as part of their annual club project.
4 During the event, the participants were introduced to the Heart Zone (a connecting point at a public transport node for commuters to help other commuters) and Heartwheels@Linkway (a designated space where wheelchairs are provided for commuters’ usage to push fellow commuters in need to the nearby hospital) at Jurong East MRT Station. The seniors were also able to familiarise themselves with navigating the train system using the system map, topping up their card at the Top-Up Kiosk, and utilising the barrier-free ramps that can be found at MRT stations. Students from LHPS also took the opportunity to distribute caring messages to SMRT station operations staff and the seniors.
5 Another highlight of the CARE Ride @ South West 2023 event was the launch of the Young Caring Commuter Champions booklets by the Caring SG Commuters Committee. Jointly developed by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and the Singapore Polytechnic Media, Arts and Design School, the two booklets, targeted at Lower and Upper Primary School students, aim to raise their awareness of the challenges that vulnerable commuters may face. These booklets are also packed with age-appropriate tips for primary school students on how they can show care. During the launch, Ms Janet Ang, PTC Chairperson and Caring SG Commuters Committee shared snippets from the booklet for Upper Primary with the LHPS students. Mr Shawn Huang, Vice Chairman, South West CDC, also conducted a short Q&A session based on what the students have learnt. The booklets are adapted from the Caring Commuter Champions e-learning course originally developed by LTA and SG Enable. Members of public are encouraged to download the booklets from the Caring SG Commuters portal.
6 Commenting on the CARE Ride @ South West event, Ms Janet Ang, who hosted the event, said: “We are heartened by the opportunity to work with so many partners for today’s event. This event is possible only because of the support of LTA, South West CDC, Lianhua Primary School, SMRT Trains, Hillview Community Club Management Committee, Bukit Gombak EAGLES Interact Club and Rotaract Club of Bukit Gombak. Thank you for being part of our journey to build a more caring commuting culture. We are encouraged by the enthusiasm of our young ones. They have embodied the spirit of a caring commuter by showing how they can Give Care, Give a Hand, Give Time and Give Thanks. Together, we can make every ride joyful and purposeful for all.”
7 Mr Shawn Huang, who was the special guest at the event, said: “Through CARE Ride @ South West, we aim to provide opportunities for our youths to interact with the seniors. A kind word, a listening ear, a helping hand and a warm smile during the journey will kindle an intergeneration connection. A connection that is filled with understanding and will encourage a more caring and inclusive community, and enjoyable rides for all.”
8 Ms Pamela Kiew, Principal of Lianhua Primary School, said: “This partnership has been instrumental in nurturing the growth of our students. The synergy between our school and SMRT has allowed us to empower our students, guiding them to become engaged learners and empowered leaders within our school community.”
About Caring SG Commuters Movement
The Caring SG Commuters movement first began in August 2017 as a national movement to foster a caring commuting culture in Singapore. Members of the public are invited to visit the Caring SG Commuters Portal to find out more about Caring SG Commuters initiatives and how they can get involved.
About Caring SG Commuters Committee
The Caring SG Commuters Committee was set up in January 2020 with the mandate to work with commuters and the community to transform Singapore’s public transport system into one that is more caring, welcoming and inclusive. It is chaired by Ms Janet Ang, who is concurrently the Chairperson of PTC, and comprises key industry players, as well as representatives from relevant ministries and agencies.
About the South West Community Development Council (CDC)
The South West Community Development Council (CDC) was formed on 24 November 2001.
Through local help programmes, the South West CDC provides assistance to help the less fortunate in our community. The South West CDC also organises projects and programmes to promote community bonding and social cohesion. The South West CDC adopts the "Many Helping Hands" approach to encourage community ownership among residents, community partners and corporations to realise its vision of “Owning Your Community”.
For more information, please visit: www.southwest.cdc.gov.sg
About Adopt @ South West
The Adopt @ South West programme aims to uplift and enrich the lives of needy and vulnerable residents by reaching out to them and providing social support. This is part of the WeCare Plus @ South West Initiative, which aims to provide holistic assistance to our residents, strengthen the social safety net for the needy and vulnerable, and create a more caring environment for all residents. The suite of programmes is developed to meet the three core needs of Adopt @ South West - namely Social Support and Wellness, Home Care and Maintenance, as well as Education and Enrichment - to enhance the lives of vulnerable residents in the South West District.