Through the Eyes of a Volunteer: Family Survival Playstreets
On 19 November 2016, the Raffles Interact club joined other World Vision youth volunteers to engage and educate children and parents at Family Survival Playstreets.
The aim of the event was for participants to bond by stepping into the shoes of a family in poverty, experiencing the struggle for survival and learning tangible ways the poor can be helped. I am very glad and thankful that my fellow Interactors and I were given this opportunity to experience such an eye-opening and unique event.
One week before the event, we went to the World Vision office for a training session, where the very friendly and committed World Vision staff brought us through the different problems children in developing countries face worldwide, such as shortage of clean water, lack of education, inaccessibility to food, unavailability of healthcare, poor economic development, vulnerability to disasters and the like.
I was very inspired by the videos that World Vision showed us – they gave me a very real perspective of the problems which those in developing countries have to face on a daily basis. It made me realise that I have much to be thankful and grateful for, and also reminded me that I have a responsibility to help my fellow human beings who do not have access to fundamental rights and basic necessities in other countries.
On the day of Family Survival Playstreets, World Vision staff and 50 youth volunteers went down to Duxton Plain Park to set up the respective stations. Each station represented a major issue in poverty, as aforementioned. As the children and their parents came towards us, we introduced the station activity to them and explained the scenario which they were faced with. This allowed them to step into the shoes of a family in an underdeveloped community.
My station was Education, where participants had to play Charades. After the game, we explained the deeper significance behind the game to the participants. For instance, the difficulty which participants faced communicating a variety of words represented the challenges those who are illiterate face when attempting to decipher words and communicate with others. This could have devastating effects, for example if you are illiterate, you miss out on life-saving information such as disease outbreaks in your community. We also shared the inspiring videos that we were shown during the volunteer training, so that children and parents could better understand the life of poor families.
This event not only allowed children and parents to gain a deeper insight into the challenges of the poor, but also served as a stepping stone for them to believe in the cause and take action to champion it. Moreover, it served as a platform for family bonding and it was heartening to see families enjoy themselves through the various activities, whilst attempting to complete the survival challenges.
All in all, Family Survival Playstreets was a very meaningful and insightful event for me and my fellow Interactors. The games and simulations were very well thought-out and planned, allowing participants to benefit greatly and truly understand the plight faced by our fellow humans in developing countries. We are thankful to World Vision for providing us with this opportunity.