Communities and Engagement

Cooking for love


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A guide dog supervises his handler in making sure his food is well prepared during a Baking Workshop.

12 January 2021

Cooking can be a daunting task for the visually impaired and blind. What motivated five members from the visually impaired community to prepare healthy meals for their best friends? Charmaine Yew finds out from the team of students who organised a cooking workshop for their participants.

But first dog buddy

On 6 September 2020, five student volunteers from the Seeds of Good Programme each paired up with visually impaired participant to pick up a new skill in the kitchen. Through interactions with their beneficiaries, students found out from their participants that preparing a healthy meal for their best friend – a guide dog – was more important than cooking for themselves.  

Valerie Shao Ruolan, a Year 3 Dentistry student recalled: “My visually impaired friend told me that receiving his guide dog was the happiest thing that has happened to him. So cooking for his best friend added motivation to learn new cooking skills as it’s a process they can enjoy doing together.”

Valerie’s senior, Koi Kiat Chong, a Year 4 student echoed her thoughts: “I have gained newfound respect for the blind because I have seen them go out of their way to care for their guide dogs and not having to give up on doing the things they like. After the project, I was inspired to help them again in the future.”

Cooking for love-02
A group photo was taken to commemorate the successful workshop.

Venturing into the kitchen and the world

The participants diced, mixed and prepared a few no-cook recipes under the guidance of their student volunteers. Throughout the process, the volunteers ensured that the session was fun and safe. The best way to instill confidence in the participants is to be an independent person in the kitchen. 

By the end of the workshop, all five participants felt more comfortable in the kitchen environment and self-assured in using various kitchen utensils. The students hoped this experience added valuable life skills for the visually impaired and blind while providing an opportunity for the them to bond with their best friend. 

In addition, the students gained new respect for this very capable community and how they should be treated as normal competent people in society.

“I’ve learnt to not only be more empathetic towards the differently-abled in the community, but to also befriend and treat them as independent individuals,” said Chan Qing Sheng, a Third Year Dentistry student.

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About Seed of Good Programme (SOGP)

SOGP comes under OSA’s Community Engagement unit. Check out our website for useful resources and tools to get started on your community projects.

For more information, email community.engagement@nus.edu.sg

Contributor

Writer: Charmaine Yew, Office of Student Affairs
Photo credit: Dionne Sim, Barking Good