Since 2017, Mark Yuen and their Team MDI have offered a lot more than 10, 000 totally free haircuts to seniors and lower-incomes households in Singapore. Title “Team MDI” will be inspired simply by the hair salon where Indicate first started his apprenticeship in hairdressing, which had been called Reflect D’ Worldwide. Hear how he went through climbing the particular corporate ladder to initiating this meaningful cause.
Leaving employment in the particular finance business to be a volunteer is a striking move. Exactly what prompted a person to do this?
Before I started Team MDI, I has been within the wealth management business, owning a team providing legacy and retirement planning services for the clients. A person could declare my relationships with our clients over the years caused me personally to believe read more about palliative care and the requirements of elderly folks during the evening years of their lifestyle. In 2012, I produced the choice to depart the corporate sector to be a volunteer in palliative care providers. I began to look for courses to upskill me personally as We had usually wished to contribute to our society via volunteering.
There are numerous some other ways to provide back. Why did you choose hairdressing?
I actually have been a grassroots volunteer more than the previous 2 decades and noticed that we tend to overlook the emotional needs associated with the vulnerable groups – their emotions of loneliness and anxiousness. I wished to create a platform where all of us could supply psychological support for the particular less privileged and I noticed hairdressing since an indicates of doing so. A good haircut is not only about personal hygiene but can also lift spirits. Many associated with our beneficiaries consider the volunteer hairdressers as their friends plus often reveal their troubles and concerns with all of us throughout a new hair-do session. That will was after i felt there was clearly a need to make hairdressing providers more accessible towards the vulnerable groups in the community.
(Mark offering a senior a hair cut during a session at Pasir Ris. and Photo by Mark Yuen)
Can you share with all of us what you did in order to prepare for this transition?
One day, I chanced upon a simple hairdressing program at among the hair salons and spas in Chinatown. Even although I was currently 60 years outdated then, I wanted to pick up a new skill that I could use to assist others. Along with the assistance of my loved ones, I embarked on the SkillsFuture training course and eventually became professionally certified because a hairdresser.
What motivated you to definitely initiate Group MDI?
While i was still the trainee in the hairsalon, there had been an occasion where I provided free hairdressing service designed for a bedridden elderly as part of a neighborhood event. After the hair cut, she looked at the reflect and offered me a smile. This occurrence left the deep impression on myself, and We told the instructor of my plans to provide free of charge haircuts pertaining to the unlucky. He backed my idea and that’s how We started Group MDI.
(Photo simply by PLUS Collaboratives)
Over the years, our team has grown exponentially. Presently, we have 40 in order to 50 active volunteers, along with the earliest being 8 decades old! They come from most walks of life – we have some salon owners, lawyers, teachers plus even medical personnel. All of us has worked with a number of social assistance agencies, home homes and NGOs to be able to bring our own free hairdressing services in order to more individuals in need.
(Mark with Team MDI’s earliest hairdresser you are not selected, Jenny. and Photo by Mark Yuen)
It has been challenging in the start as we had to put in a great deal of energy to get volunteers. We didn’t have any social media platforms to publicise our outreach efforts, and as a result only a few people were aware of our volunteering work. But eventually, we had a cutting-edge when we all participated in several occasions included in SG Cares Giving Week. Individuals events provided us the particular chance in order to find volunteers from various social support agencies.
(Photo simply by PLUS Collaboratives)
You often encourage your volunteers in order to upgrade their particular skills whenever they can. What motivates you to continue studying even from this age group?
To me personally, hairdressing will be like handcraft; the more you find out, the greater a person get. At this point, I was learning to make use of different tools to slice different styles. This spirit of learning is exactly what I hope to pass in order to the additional volunteers at the team. Whenever we improve from our handcraft, we can carry much better service in order to those in need plus hopefully get more smiles in late every new hair-do!
What words of encouragement do you have for individuals who are usually pursuing their own aspirations plus learning new skills?
If you are learning new skills, be open-minded and have faith in what you desire to go after. Practice your own craft all the time. If a person are serious to volunteer, you might not have to create the new platform. You may sign up for an existing team and satisfy like-minded people. This will help to grow the girls of volunteers in the particular community.
– Mark Yuen, 67, founder of Team MDI