Finding strength and friendship in adversity

Mr Muhammad Noor was born a healthy baby boy 69 years ago, with robust limbs and a pure smile. His family felt so blessed to have a most perfect baby. Six months later, a high fever changed everything.

The sequel of high fever affected Mr Muhammad Noor’s nervous system. His legs were no longer functional and both his hands were also affected.

As he grew up day by day, Mr Muhammad Noor found out that more diseases struck him without mercy, making him and his family fragile. He now suffers from diabetes, liver dysfunction, and has kidney stones and gall stones.

Yet, when we met him for the first time, we saw a smiling man. In spite of his illnesses, Mr Muhammad Noor maintains a positive attitude. “Do not let emotions control you. Be strong willed. Have faith,” he said that after sharing with us his medical conditions.

He truly appreciates the volunteers who visit him as part of the Singapore Red Cross’ (SRC) Community Led Action for REsilience (CLARE) programme. He said, “I am very happy and grateful that someone is thinking of me and doing something to help.”

SRC launched the CLARE programme in January 2015 to equip volunteers with knowledge and technical skills, to provide first aid, elder care, befriending, and community service to the vulnerable. The CLARE programme is aimed at enhancing community resilience; to harness available resources to respond to, withstand and recover from adversity. It also opens the door for the less privileged to access signature Red Cross services such as Community FirstAid, TransportAid and FoodAid, thereby providing neighbourhoods with a ‘one-stop’ support framework.

For Mr Muhammad Noor, SRC’s CLARE programme opens the gateway for him to access the TransportAid service.

“It is difficult for me to go out for my medical appointments. The London Cab is extremely expensive. I often have to depend on my friends and my brother-in-law to bring me around,” he said. While talking about this, Mr Muhammad Noor said, “I do not want to leech on others, they have their own life to lead.”

“The volunteers are really helpful. I enjoy interacting and chatting with them as they bring the gift of friendship and joy into my life,” said Mr Muhammad Noor.

Now, he hopes that one day, he can take some freelance jobs at home to contribute back to the society.