Salaam friends of learnislam!
As we approach the start of a new hijri year (1439H), many of us would be thinking of new year resolutions, things we have done, things we want to change – all for the better insyaAllah. So we took this opportunity to speak to a member of One Heart Brothers Society (Singapore), Shafiqah Wahab. We met Shafiqah from a camp for youths-at-risk organised earlier this year where she shared about her life and how she was given a second chance in life, not only to make amends but to also touch lives of people around her. Below is our short interview with Shafiqah:
1) Hi Assalaamu’alaikum Shafiqah, firstly tell us more about yourself.
Wa’alaikumussalaam! My name is Shafiqah Wahab. I came from a broken family. My parents & my two elder brothers were drug offenders. I was also once a youth at risk. I dropped out from school when I was in primary 4. I didn’t go through any PSLE examinations nor secondary school life.
Until the time when my mum was serving her sentence in 2012, she got to know about a programme under Mendaki named MaxOut, and there was where I was referred to take my N Levels exams. And through my journey in MaxOut programme, I met One Heart Brothers Society. They were in charged in a lesson called, Civic & Moral Education. That was when I felt interested in joining them after my graduation from the programme.
I am currently taking a Nitec cert in Community Care & Social Service in Institute Technical Education (ITE). I found an interest in doing community work since I was young, and since then, I aspired to become a Social Worker. It has been a dream that one day I would be able to help families with difficulties. I feel like I understand their situations since I used to sail through in the same boat as them.
2) What is One Heart Brothers all about? And how long have you been part of the community?
I have been part of the team for two years now. One Heart Brothers Society (Singapore) formerly known as One Heart Brothers is a not-for-profit charitable group. We were formed in August 2013 and our main objective is to help youths to stay out of crime. Most of our members are ex-convicts who have decided to make amends and turn our lives around, and thus One Heart Brothers was formed. We feel that it is time for us to give back to the community, and our duty is to spread out to them that everybody deserves a second chance. Oh and we are in the midst of registering ourselves with ACRA (Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority) and planning for an event in collaboration with Baru Nak Start and Muslim Youth Forum (MYF) insyaAllah.
3) We saw that you create programs mostly for youths-at-risk, what have you done and why?
We have started to do in-house programs for our young members. We crafted mentorship programs to benefit youths-at-risk where the speakers will share about their past experiences and what triggered them to change (turning point).
We are also in the midst of crafting programs with the boys from Muhammadiyah Welfare Home (MWH).
The reason why we want to do this? It is simply because, we do not want these youths to follow our footsteps and make the mistakes we made before. There are many other things good things to do other than crimes. The black marks in us, left a scar which nobody can heal.
4) How do you feel these programs can impact the participants and community?
We hope that it will somehow make the participants to think about the consequences of being a criminal. The speakers will share, without secrets, their life experiences, life being incarcerated and the steps of changing. For the community, we really hope that we can share with them and hopefully, they will also believe that “everybody deserves a second chance”.
5) After a few years in this community building project, has it changed your perception in any way?
I have started to think that, being an at-risk youth myself, it was not those who are wearing ties that helped me in changing. It was someone who are full of tattoos that helped me realize that “there is still light in front of me”. And this was the reason why I have decided to be part of “One Heart Brothers Society”.
6) Where do you see OHB in the next 5 years?
I really hope that in 5 years’ time, OHBS can already there competing with all those big organizations that render help for the community.
7) Any last words?
Please keep supporting One Heart Brothers Society. Your trust is all we need, Thank you.
You can check out One Heart Brothers SG’s Facebook here to know more about what they are doing and how we can participate as well. We pray that their efforts towards creating a better future for those at risk be eased and blessed. May their personal journeys too be filled with blessings.
Shafiqah’s story touched and inspired us to do more to uplift the community, with hopes to bring hope and light to those in need. And we hope that her journey has been much inspirational to you as it has been to us. Let’s get up and do our bit for the community with whatever we have, wherever we are.
We at learnislamsg wish you Muharram Mubarak. Let’s start the year right.
Rahmah begins with us. – U