Volunteering with Soap Cycling Singapore has been a meaningful experience. The concept of soap recycling was totally new to me so I learned a lot of things in the process. Being engaged with Soap Cycling also helped me forget about my problems, even if it's for a little while,” says Hou Yan Ming.
Hailing from Shandong, China, Hou has two sons aged 10 and 16 years old. For three years, Hou worked as a factory worker in the filter tank business in Singapore – clocking 10 hours every day with hardly any rest days. Unfortunately, he got injured at a worksite accident a few months ago, and had sought assistance at our charity partner, SG Accident Help Centre (SGcare).
He and another worker were both asked to lift a 236kg tank filled with resin solution. Recalls Hou: "I had told my boss that the tank was too heavy for two people to lift but he wouldn't listen. We had no choice. The Bangladeshi worker was very young and thin. He couldn't lift it and I had to use all my strength. And in the process of lifting the tank, I injured my back badly. I could no longer do physical labour after the injury.”
Being injured had meant losing his basic pay of $800 a month, which made him worry a lot about how he was going to support his family. However, his case workers at SGcare organised for him to take part in activities, one of which included being part of the pioneer group of migrant worker volunteers helping SCSG with soap scraping/packing and simple logistics.
"Besides helping to reprocess the soap bars, I also get the opportunity to share about my volunteer experiences with people from all walks of life – from volunteers to teachers and students. I enjoy interacting with them," he adds.
~ Jiin Linn
Thank you for volunteering with us, Mr Hou!
Update: Mr Hou has returned to his hometown in Shandong.