3 DEC — Out of 950 charities that were assessed for the Charity Transparency and Governance Awards this year, a total of 67 charities were recognised—the largest number since the awards were introduced in 2016.
Organised by the Charity Council, the Charity Transparency Awards recognises charities with good disclosure practices. Filos was among the 15 small charities, defined as those with a gross annual income below 1 million, that were awarded this honour. The Straits Times reported this as particularly noteworthy, as small charities often have limited resources and manpower.
Filos is thankful for this recognition and the Board and Staff will continue to strive to have good disclosure and governance practices for the organization. We are thankful for the trust that our donors and volunteers have in us!
Picture Credit: The Charity Council
Ramon came to know about Filos two years ago during a door-to-door outreach of the rental block at which he was staying. He was then a mild-natured gentleman, politely answering our questions and agreeing to keep in touch after the outreach survey. Estranged from his family, he was staying alone in a rental unit.
Ramon agreed to be befriended under Filos’ More Than Friends programme, which helps elderly living with chronic diseases to manage their conditions through a helathy lifestyle and compliance to their medications and medical appointments. Ramon was also introduced to social wellness programmes that saw him interacting with other seniors living in the community.
Ramon was a quiet person and Anthony, his befriender, had to learn to give him time and space to get accustomed to a new friend in his life. Regularly spaced home visits and phone calls slowly melted the ice and Ramon revealed himself to be a fun-loving and humorous person.
Anthony later discovered Ramon’s love for tinkering and fixing things. He encouraged Ramon to interact more with his neighbours through this skill. Ramon comes alive when he talks about how he loves to take things apart to figure out how they work before re-assembling them again.
One day, Ramon was browsing in a shop selling second-hand goods. He spotted an old toy helicopter that could not work and decided to try to bring it to life again. He spent time studying the manual and finding spare parts to piece the helicopter together again. He eventually succeeded and proudly presented it to Anthony as a gift. Knowing his love for children, Anthony suggested that Ramon give the helicopter to a child from a family-in-need. Ramon happily agreed. It was heart-warming to see how both the child and Ramon were blessed through this simple act of giving and receiving.
Ramon is now our friendly neighbourhood handyman. From tables, trolleys and shower hoses, Ramon enjoys putting his skills to use, even going the extra mile to learn solutions to new problems to help others who may be in need.
Ramon still occasionally falls back to old routines and sometimes withdraws into his own home as he still finds it challenging to socialise with new peers. Despite this, Ramon remains optimistic for the future. He makes it a point to join in the social wellness programmes of Filos. He especially enjoys the company of youth and children and often opens his home to student groups who drop by to pay him a visit. He freely shares his life stories with them. Ramon says he wants to continue to keep his mind sharp and live fully.
Seniors like Ramon remind us of the importance of building a loving and caring community. His spirit motivates us to continue connecting the community through our various programmes and services.
Social isolation is a growing epidemic—one that’s increasingly recognised as having dire physical, mental and emotional consequences. One study found that isolation increases the risk of heart disease by 29 per cent and stroke by 32 per cent. Equally troubling is the accelerated cognitive decline seen in lonely elderly. (Source: https://www.straitstimes.com/opinion/how-social-isolation-is-killing-us)
Given the demographics of Kembangan-Chai Chee, Filos has befriending programmes to tackle elderly isolation. ‘More-Than-Friends’ aids elderly residing in rental flats with chronic illnesses, and the ‘Community Befriending Programme’ reaches out to isolated seniors living by themselves in purchased flats. These Befriending Services help seniors to form a social network that they can call upon in their time of need. They find new friends and new purpose as they continue to age well in the community.