“I only feel I have done good when I have acted from the space of giving, loving, and connecting with people.”
Abhishek is an everyday hero and an active seeker of understanding the complexity of social issues that speak to him. Out of the vast social issues present in society, urban poverty and refugees are the ones that he feels most strongly about on a personal level. As such, he makes a conscious effort to understand the people involved through meaningful conversations. The words they share allow for connections to be formed as he learns about their experiences and emotional journeys.
“I get it what it feels like to leave your home, to have uncertainty of the future, to work hard to build oneself. I love and care for them because I believe in the potential for each and everyone to blossom. Why should anyone be disadvantaged in our society?”
Growing up, Abhishek often questions what entitled him to his way of life, especially since many in our society are still disadvantaged. He remembers witnessing a huge tractor tear down the small slum area a couple of streets away from his house back in India. Where does that then leave its inhabitants?
Working at ThinkPlace has given him opportunities to understand the needs and struggles of these various individuals. He has engaged in a variety of projects, one of which was named ‘Urban Poverty Walks’, where walks were conducted through the rental flats of Singapore. They had the sole purpose of connecting with residents, to hear their stories, and to genuinely get to know them on a deeper level than what meets the surface.
“It is about knocking on their doors, interacting and being vulnerable with them, and asking them what do they need?”
Another project includes ‘Sessions with Kids’, which holds the objective of providing children with a safe environment to practice vulnerability and to uncover their dreams and aspirations. These sessions include activities such as arts and craft as well as theatre sessions. He recalls an experience that led him to a realisation of how accessible it can be to impact the future of children. During one of his sessions, he met a child who had a desire to make herself a dress. With simple everyday tools such as cloth and scissors, she was able to pursue it. The access to such common tools and simple opportunities could very well spark creativity that paves the future for children.
“It gave me a sense that change, no matter how small, is change, and by doing these monthly sessions we can impact their lives.”
‘Refugee Experiential Walks’ , on the other hand, tackles a different issue altogether. It is a project that offers an immersive experience to its participants by putting them in the perspective of a refugee. The experience comprises of 3 scenarios: Singapore as it is currently, what it would be during a crisis and what it would be post-crisis.
“It is meant to ask the participants what they will do if this happens to them – will they leave Singapore to safer land or stay put?”
Through the walks, individuals can come to an understanding of the discomfort and sense of hopelessness refugees feel. On the flip side, it portrays refugees in an admirable light by showcasing the grit and love they possess. With their great desire to give their family the best that they can, they are indeed all heroes who act upon love. They deserve the recognition for the strength and willpower that they have as they fight hard to bring their loved ones to safer land.
“It is about taking a pause, figuring out who they are by trying and exposing themselves to issues, and slowly gaining momentum in terms of action towards the cause.”
Abhishek encourages youths to take the step in becoming a change-maker themselves. Patience is a virtue in the process of change-making. It is vital that youths give themselves sufficient time and space to connect with issues so that they can figure out a way to contribute to it. Take a pause, expose yourself to the societal issues, and change-making will naturally happen.
Watch the video below to see this inspiring story of Abhishek!
Everyday Heroes is an online series that captures stories of youths creating impact and embracing possibilities to build a more positive community in Singapore. Most importantly, they help stand as positive reminders that doing good doesn’t have to look a certain way!
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