Thomas Handoyo is our Marketing and Communications Executive. Find out about his journey and contributions with COH in this interview.
Originally from Indonesia, Thomas has settled in Singapore since 2006 with his Singaporean wife. Prior to that, the couple were living in Batam serving as a Dean in a Bible School. They have 2 children, age 12 and 5.
Thomas’ journey with COH began in Feb 2016
Q: Where were you working before COH?
A: Before joining COH, I worked in Changi General Hospital in Business Development for international medical services. Working in the corporate world was very demanding and stressful. My background being in pastoral care, I wanted to search for something that placed more value on human relations and well being.
I therefore looked for an opportunity to work in a VWO that would allow me to work with people, yet be able to earn an income for my family. It was then I met someone who introduced me to COH and so I applied for the position.
Working with special needs clients
Q: What is working with COH like?
A: Initially, when I first joined, I was a bit scared because I had never worked in caring for people with special needs before. Over time, compassion to the clients grew in me, especially as I became more familiar with them.
I think my compassion grew because I began to see what their needs were, and my goal – my bottom line of my service here – was to make these clients happy.
Sometimes when I see the clients doing their usual routines at our centre, I feel like I want to give them the opportunity to go out and meet new people. So when I see volunteers coming and bringing them out, I feel very happy because I know the clients are very happy also.
Q: What have you learned since you began working at COH?
A: Initially I thought that these clients lives were just as I could see – that they would come and just spend time at the centre and go home. But I discovered that certain clients have special gifts and abilities. So that drives me to help them find opportunities to use their gifts, for example, to try out something that might make them job-ready.
Even though they have their disabilities, to help them somehow contribute to society is what motivates me. One of the things that I try to do is to connect with different local institutions or companies, that might be able to someday hire the clients starting in a small capacity, and provide assistance and training along the way to make that possible.
One of the companies that we have connected with is the Onesimus Garden, which is a farming company that is managed by a church. We send our clients there once a week to train in caring for plants. We hope that the training will lead once day to perhaps providing some of the clients with monetary compensation for their contributions at the farm.
An open invitation
Q: What would you say to the public about COH?
I hope that people will come to COH as volunteers, in their own capacity, to brighten the life of our clients. If you come to our centres and mingle with our clients, they are already happy with seeing a new face.
Whether you are a housewife, retiree, or in between jobs, please come. We will be very happy to welcome you.
About the Author: The COH Resource Team comprises volunteers, content writers and experts, including psychologists, counsellors, educators and social service professionals.