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Planting a hope for patients with HIV/AIDS

01 March 2013

The red ribbon formed with well-wishes from members of the public to show support for patients with HIV/AIDS. The red ribbon is the international symbol for HIV/AIDS awareness.

A donor penning down her message on a Signature Item while NUS CSC volunteer Yinmin (centre) and Darren (far right) explain more about the project

With "Plant a Hope for $2", those afflicted by HIV/AIDS are getting a helping hand in their battle with the disease, both physically and psychologically.

Members of NUS Students' Community Service Club (CSC) and student volunteers from the University have come together to raise awareness and funds for the patients at Patient Care Centre of the Tan Tock Seng Hospital Community Charity Fund. This is a community-based hospital project set up to help patients with HIV/AIDS. As one of the Club's Special Projects, Signature Love Project X (SLP X) this year sets out to increase understanding about the disease and spread the love for patients living with HIV/AIDS.

Many myths surround people with HIV/AIDS, leading to discrimination and stigmatisation from society. SLP X hopes to foster acceptance of these patients among the public by raising awareness of the condition and dispelling misconceptions.

SLP's unique "Signature Items" feature themes that let donors pen down well-wishes and words of encouragement, which are presented to the groups of beneficiaries identified. The theme for 2013, Plant a Hope, uses red roses as the Signature Item to signify the love and support from the public to patients at the Patient Care Centre.

Over two fund-raising drives - one within the various faculties of NUS, and the other in two Singapore shopping centres - SLP X managed to collect a total of S$14,600. The funds will be used to subsidise the beneficiaries' medicine costs.

SLP volunteers also visited the Patient Care Centre regularly to interact with the patients and workers through various activities such as games, handicraft sessions and lunches. The experience was very meaningful and enjoyable for the participants.

Yeo Su Jian Darren (Year 2, Faculty of Science), an organising committee member, said: "Through SLP, I've learnt not to judge others by who they are, but rather accept them as a whole. A lot of times we only see HIV/AIDS patients as people with the disease, but they can also be loving parents, breadwinners and good friends! We should accept them as all of these figures without discrimination."

Tay Yinmin (Year 3, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences), one of the volunteers, noted: "The beneficiaries were so lively that even I got very much influenced by their positive spirit. I learnt a lot from them, and the whole experience was made all the more enriching and enjoyable because of the volunteers' enthusiasm. It was heartening to see the dedication from the organising committee and volunteers to raise awareness and funds for the beneficiaries, and the public was very impressed by the meaning of the project and hand-made Signature Items."

By Signature Love Project X, a Special Project under NUS CSC