Volunteer group to install special doorbells for hard-of-hearing
Volunteers give special doorbells to hearing-impaired residents who often miss out on food deliveries
For over 20 years, Madam Fion Phua has been visiting one-room flats around Singapore to distribute food items and do house clean-ups.
But sometimes, when she and her volunteers knock on doors, no one answers.
They later find out that it's not because no one's home.
It's simply that the occupants have hearing difficulties, which means they miss out on these essential supplies.
To solve the problem, Madam Phua, 45, the founder of private volunteer group Keeping Hope Alive (KHA), has started a project to provide these residents with special doorbells that light up when someone presses the button.
She told The New Paper: "Sometimes when I knock on the doors, the residents don't reply and I realised only later that they had hearing difficulties."
Since the project started a few weeks ago, 40 units in estates on North Bridge Road and Chai Chee Road have been selected to get these new doorbells for free.
Each doorbell costs about $25, including batteries and wall hooks for the installation.
Helping the less fortunate is not new to Madam Phua.
Last year, she exchanged 50 of her designer bags worth $70,000 for 6,500 rice sacks and distributed them to the needy.
She and several other volunteers also undertook a project in 2010 to distribute old beds and mattresses to the needy.
In March, she was named this year's winner of the MediaCorp Singapore Woman Award for her charity work.
Last Sunday morning, volunteers from KHA went to Blocks 51 and 52 at Chin Swee Road for their regular visits.
At the same time, they identified eight flats which need these new doorbells.
One of the units was the home of Madam Wong, 99, who has hearing difficulties because of her age.
Madam Wong, who does not use a hearing aid, would sometimes leave her door partially open so visitors would know she is in when her daughter leaves for work.
Despite this, she has missed out on the food distributions.
When the volunteers explained that they wanted to install the special doorbell, she was very happy as she did not know such a device existed.
She said in Cantonese: "It is very kind of you to help voluntarily, bless you all."
Madam Phua added: "The doorbells will hopefully result in those residents missing out less on food distributions.
"Not only that, the doorbells can also work as a safety device in which the hearing-impaired can be told to evacuate if there's a fire."
Sometimes when I knock on the doors, the residents don't reply and I realised only later that they had hearing difficulties.
- Madam Fion Phua (above), founder of private volunteer group Keeping Hope Alive