TOUCH International (TI), the international arm of TOUCH, facilitates timely and effective delivery of crisis relief and community development programmes to communities outside of Singapore. Through these projects, TI expose volunteers to new challenges and develop passion among them to help the underprivileged. Often, these humanitarian trips also help revitalise participants who find that their work at home has become routine.
“Besides supporting the immediate needs of the international community, the focus of our work is very much to inspire our volunteers through their trip experiences and to come home encouraged to make a difference in their own local community,” says Mr Shawn Lim, Manager of TI.
When Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines on 8 November 2013, Mdm Taulagon was alone in the hut trembling with fear as the winds screamed around her. "I was alone and very scared when the typhoon hit. There was nowhere to run, so I hid in my house and waited for it to pass. I was terribly afraid.” While Mdm Taulagon was unharmed, her home was completely destroyed.
When TI first met Mdm Taulagon, she had the look of hopelessness as she sat beside her collapsed hut staring aimlessly into the distance. There was no smile on her face, just the deep wrinkles betraying her worries. Around her broken hut, there were no trees and she was completely unsheltered from the scorching sun. TI promised her that it would return with a team to help rebuild her house.
Back in Singapore, a TI volunteer team was quickly put together consisting of professionals, businessmen and homemakers. Though none of the team members were skilled carpenters, architects or professional engineers, they started the home rebuilding project for Mdm Taulagon under the supervision of a local carpenter.
The hard work paid off when a sturdy little yellow house was presented to Mdm Taulagon a few days later. She was visibly touched when she saw her spanking new home. Her tears of gratitude more than conveyed her heartfelt thanks to the many TI volunteers who helped turn her life around.