#InMyKampung: Rachel & Joel
Meet the couple who's creating ripple of change in their community.
Rachel and Joel may look like your friendly neighbourhood couple-next-door, but don’t be fooled – strong human connectors by nature, the pair have helped to build an ecosystem of mutual support and care in their community!
Having lived in Ang Mo Kio since young, the married duo find giving back and engaging with their community part and parcel of ordinary life. “I used to be really reserved, but things changed when I got to know Joel,” Rachel says bashfully. Indeed, Joel bears a natural disposition to connect with strangers: “I warm up to people very quickly, so they might find me a busybody,” he laughs.
His knack for creating bonds easily became integral to the development of the 414 Community Hub under AMKFSC Community Services, which creates initiatives that foster resident-led engagement and activism. Having been regular volunteers before, Joel and Rachel found the space a little different from how they were used to contributing back to their community.
By tapping on their strong existing networks of friends and family, the couple support the hub’s various initiatives and often participate in organising meetings; Rachel and her friends also gather once a week to cook for its weekly community lunches, which are freely available to all residents.
“At the community hub, we’re recipients ourselves, too – as residents of this area, we contribute where we can, but also benefit,” Joel explains. His mother, who was isolated at home after an illness left her wheelchair-bound, found a new lease of life when she began attending the community lunches: “Her health actually improved a lot, and she started opening up so much more to us, and even to new friends at the hub,” Rachel shares.
Since then, the couple have enjoyed learning new cooking skills at the hub’s community kitchen, and have also made a multitude of friends from all walks of life, including beneficiaries who also give back in their own way. “Even by just offering a listening ear, they have been able to help their fellow neighbours to relieve stress and find company,” Rachel says.
“It’s a kampung where everyone cares and connects in their own ways,” Joel states, adding that the area has since grown closer and more connected. “At the end of a day, for a neighbourhood to be safe and strong, it’s important for us to look out for one another – and it helps when we all know one another, too.
Our #InMyKampung 🏠 series explores the inspiring stories of everyday people who give back to those around them through ground-up community work. At AMKFSC Community Services, we provide the resources and support necessary for residents like Rachel & Joel to lead community initiatives that ensure their fellow neighbours do not fall through the cracks. If you would like to help us build more resilient and self-sustainable communities, donate at https://s.giving.sg/Pwzs167.