What are the chances of you taking your passion and transforming it into a movement to raise awareness for a social issue? How about when you are a working adult with various responsibilities on your shoulders? While most of us do have something we are passionate about, be it a hobby, an interest or more, not many of us think that we can actually turn our passion into something more, like advocating for a social issue prevalent in Singapore.
On 20 May, Make The Change hosted its second episode of Conversation of Change where we invite speakers to discuss how individuals can bring about change to the community, no matter how big or small it is. This time, we partnered up with YOLO2020 and had 3 gentlemen, Uantchern, Sutat and Jared, join us in our live talk on Facebook. While the 3 of them come from different backgrounds, they all shared a common mission of raising awareness about mental wellness. Alongside with Uantchern’s passion for trekking, the idea of hiking to Everest Base Camp as a tribute to those with mental health conditions and their caregivers was created.
The lunchtime talk that Uantchern and Sutat had did not not stop there, they went ahead to pursue that idea, get people on board, and engage partners. As busy working adults, it may have been difficult to balance their time, but as Uantchern said “if you believe enough, you will get there”. The 3 gentlemen's passion, be it trekking or to raise awareness about mental health, they believed and carried on the journey which birthed out YOLO2020. Their passion to make a difference to the community is truly admirable and something we should all learn from.
As a quote goes “the beginning is the half of every action”, if you have something you are passionate about and want to make a difference, pursue it! Passion leads to great things and for Uantchern, Sutat and Jared, it led them to YOLO2020.
While the talk focuses on introducing the movement and the 3 gentlemen’s efforts of advocating for mental wellness, it has also shined some light about caregiving as well. The journey of people with mental health conditions and their caregivers could feel like a difficult hike up a mountain. As a caregiver himself, Jared described the journey to be “long and tiring”, even when they reach a summit, they have to scale another one. Many are unaware about the difficulties caregivers go through, especially those that have to take care of their loved ones while juggling a full time job. The mental exhaustion and stress that they face are sometimes brushed aside as we tend to direct our care and concern to people with mental health conditions instead. Caregivers are people who can be prone to mental health problems as well, especially with the daily struggles they face trying to care for their loved ones and YOLO2020 has done a great part in advocating for that.
I personally feel that by getting participants to join in the journey of preparing to scale to Everest Base Camp, it put into perspective on how caregivers and people with mental health conditions feel, especially when training gets difficult, when you feel like giving up, when your legs burn from each step you take, when your shoulders ache from the weight of your bag. These exhausting feelings symbolise what YOLO2020 beneficiaries feel and it allows participants to develop empathy for them. To understand what they are going through, to change the public’s mindset, and to remove the stigma of mental illnesses.
The talk with these 3 changemakers has been a very insightful and valuable one. I have learnt so much more about the perspective of a caregiver and how I can fuel my passion into making a difference. For anyone who wants to bring about change, I will leave you with what Sutat said, “if you try to put your best foot forward, you can be potentially overcoming mountains big or small”.
You can also play your part in making a difference by supporting YOLO2020! You can either donate to their giving.sg page or purchase their products from our Design For Good Website. Do visit our Facebook page @ MakeTheChange or view it on our Youtube page if you are interested in listening to our Conversation of Change! It is also available on iTunes podcast under the name Conversation of Change.