The One Life Experience (OLE), an interactive exhibit enabling visitors to take a walk in the shoes of a HIV/AIDS patient, will be wrapping up its 2-month campaign on Feb 3 and UrbanWire had the privilege of speaking to 1 student volunteer lending a hand to this worthy cause.
Parveen Kaur, a Singapore Management University (SMU) undergraduate, was initially apprehensive about signing up as a helper but took on the role at World Vision’s recruitment booth at the university.
Glowing with passion for the cause, she was assigned to manage a team of volunteers, scheduling their roles and handling the volunteer database. On a more important note, she is one of the many ambassadors for the campaign itself.
On her experience volunteering for the past 2 months, she shares with UrbanWire her thoughts, “It feels good to have the opportunity to be able to provide my help in such a project.”
“I think the exhibition as a whole makes you feel for the people.”
The OLE exhibition, which has attracted close to 5,000 Singaporeans to participate in its interactive displays, contains 150 square metres of space featuring a personal journey into the life of a HIV/AIDS patient, aided by an audio tour and accompanied by shocking pictures of HIV/AIDS sufferers.
Open from 10am to 9pm daily, OLE, which aims to educate the public about the HIV/AIDS situation, has made its rounds to the Woodlands Civic Centre, HDB Hub (Toa Payoh) and also the National Library. Currently at the SMU’s Campus Green, the last stop of the campaign, OLE also allows visitors to pen down their heart-felt messages and support for sufferers of HIV/AIDS.
Parveen, a year 1 Social Science student, adds, “I think the exhibition is extremely well done, the sets in which the stories take place are very realistic, and it makes the whole experience better.”
“It certainly increased my understanding as it showed me exactly how big the impact of one person having AIDS can be and how it can affect so many other people like their family members and so on.”
Launched with a 3.3km OLE Run around the heartlands of Woodlands, the first of the 4 stops, the campaign has seen the participation of World Vision’s goodwill ambassadors including Kosmic Film Entertainment artiste Jaymee Ong, Malaysian singer Victor Wong, celebrity twins May and Choy, local band EIC’s Jack and Rai and also, former Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP) and TV host, Eunice Olsen.
Parveen continues, “I think such efforts by World Vision are excellent and they should definitely continue with such projects, educating Singaporeans about such causes.”
Through the experience, the student helper also got to meet fellow volunteers who shared the same sentiments about the HIV/AIDS issue.
She explains, “It is hard for them to accept that one small mistake can cause you to have AIDS and impact the rest of your life drastically.”
In fact, it has been reported that the people most likely to be affected by this deadly disease are between the ages of 15 and 39, a shocking revelation. But what is even more surprising is the reality that 1 in 5 of HIV/AIDS sufferers are Asian.
Commenting on the statistics, Parveen mentions, “The fact that the message genuinely got through them made the whole thing extremely meaningful to me as through this exhibition, we may have saved a few people from making some really bad decisions which could have destroyed their lives.”