Volunteers with a Cause

vol-12Afandi and Zabedah

Afandi Bin Ishak and his wife, Zabedah Binte Hashim, have been delivering food provisions to needy patients under the Grains of Hope programme. It has been a heartening experience for them over the past three years of volunteering at NKF.

“We sense the change in the patients’ openness to us. From being wary of our visits to inviting us into their homes for a drink, it’s heartwarming to see some change in their attitudes,” said Afandi, who is an industrial nurse.

For Zabedah, helping kidney patients is one of the ways she wants to contribute to the society. She understands the sufferings and pain patients undergo as her father was on Peritoneal Dialysis (PD) – a home-based treatment. One of the beneficiaries this couple have been helping for the past year is PD patient Mr Lim Thiam Chye.

Mr Lim lives in a flat with other tenants. He seldom leaves his room except for meals nearby or for hospital visits. He truly appreciates the couple’s support and friendship.

“They are very nice and humble. They listen and talk to me,” said Mr Lim.

“It does not matter if you are Chinese, Indian or Malay. As long as someone is in need of help, we should help,” said Afandi. Zabedah who was seated beside him, nodded in agreement.

Volunteering is a family affair for the couple who occasionally bring their daughters along when they visit the patients. They believe that volunteering is a window to some of the hardships others are facing. Through volunteering, they want their daughters to empathise with the less privileged and cherish what they have.vol-13

Selamat Bin Haji Ahmad

“I’m 78 years old. As long as I’m healthy, I will befriend and help NKF patients even when I turn 90”, said Selamat Bin Haji Ahmad, who has been volunteering with NKF since 2008.

The grandfather of six has been spreading love and showing compassion to our patients especially to the Malay speaking ones.

As a regular befriender at Wong Sui Ha Edna – NKF Dialysis Centre in Tampines, Selamat visits patients at least twice a week for around two hours each time.

Idris Abdul Rahim is one such patient whom Selamat talks to during his befriending sessions. As Idris is partially blind, Selamat makes an effort to read the Malay language newspaper to him whenever he visits. Together with another patient from NKF’s Dialysis Centre in Simei, the three of them have forged a strong bond which has blossomed into occasional “makan sessions” on non-dialysis days.

Selamat has a lasting impression of one of the patients he used to befriend who has since passed on. They grew so close that the patient gave him a few of his pants after a severe loss of weight due to hospitalisation.

“Luckily, we are of the same size (pointing to the pants he was wearing during the interview),” laughed Selamat.

“For kidney patients, going through dialysis is tough. I see more and more Malay patients over the years. We need more volunteers to step forward and volunteer,” remarked Selamat.

“I encourage the Malay community to take care of their health by making good food choices and exercising regularly, which can help prevent kidney diseases,” added Selamat.

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