Mohammad Kamal


Growing up, Mohammad Kamal's family often gave food and groceries to the less fortunate, as they were encouraged by his late grandfather to do good. Inspired by his late grandfather's commitment to making a positive impact in the community, Kamal joined the Singapore Red Cross (SRC)'s ambulance team (now known as TransportAid). Kamal shares the fulfilment he gains by interacting with the elderly and persons with disabilities.

The upbeat tone of Mohammad Kamal's voice when he talks about his work sheds light on his passion for his career. Being part of the TransportAid team, he relishes the opportunity to spend time with the elderly and people with disabilities; he enjoyed listening to the interesting life stories of the elderly or singing songs to a child with disabilities.

Passionate about Volunteering

Growing up, Kamal and his family would often give food and groceries and clean the homes of the less fortunate, as they were encouraged by his late grandfather to do good and contribute to society. 

When he was in secondary school, his friend urged him to volunteer with the SRC. Inspired to follow in his late grandfather's footsteps to do good to contribute to society, Kamal embarked on his humanitarian journey as an SRC volunteer with the ambulance team, which was deployed for public duties and first aid. He also volunteered as a first aider in Meulaboh, Aceh, in the wake of the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami, and continued volunteering with the ambulance team thereafter.

Mohammad Kamal Singapore Red Cross 1

It is no surprise then that voluntary service, one of the Seven Fundamental Principles of the Red Cross Movement, resonates most with Kamal. 

"Volunteering enables me to make a positive impact and extend acts of kindness to help someone, it's very fulfilling for me," he says.

Joining TransportAid as a Career

Initially offered a part-time role with SRC's Ambulance Service (now known as TransportAid), Kamal received an offer to join SRC full-time, after his National Service (NS).

When he first joined as a full-time ambulance responder in April 2010, he was on the ground, transporting the elderly and persons with disabilities to get to and from their life-sustaining medical treatments at hospitals and medical facilities. Persons with disabilities could not take private transport independently and find public transportation a daunting prospect. Through its service, TransportAid alleviates the burden of caregivers, while enabling beneficiaries to regularly keep up with their appointments and treatments. 

"It is heartening to see the positive impact I make by providing others with much-needed transportation," he says.

Kamal shares that there are opportunities for career progression in TransportAid. A responder can develop into a coordinator, a supervisory role, where he can delegate the work and plan schedules for the TransportAid responders. They also address and resolve vehicle problems and conceive solutions in instances where drivers encounter pressing situations.

Mohammad Kamal Singapore Red Cross 3

Though Kamal was promoted to the role of coordinator in 2018, he misses the day-to-day interactions he used to enjoy with the TransportAid beneficiaries.

"Beneficiaries are like friends. They have different personalities and different needs. The best appreciation is when they look forward to seeing me the next time," he says. 

Caring for People with Disabilities

Some people shy away from taking care of persons with disabilities. Not Kamal.

Kamal was seconded to the Day Activity Centre for the Disabled at Jurong West for half a year. The SRC regularly provides such opportunities to give its employees a more holistic experience of their work. Subsequently, he returned to the headquarters to manage TransportAid again. 

"Living with family members who have disabilities made me realise that there are persons with disabilities in our community who need our help. I want to serve these people so they can lead more fulfilling lives," he shares. 

To connect with people with disabilities, he took the initiative to read up on how he could better care for them and adjusted his approach by quietly observing the difficulties they faced during his interactions with them. 

"Persons with disabilities respond in their own way... their attempts at speaking touch me in a far deeper way than I can put into words," Kamal says.

The time spent with each beneficiary in the vehicle might be short, but the interactions were meaningful. Some elderly confided in him while others cried in the ambulance. Washing the ambulance and cleaning up after beneficiaries is part and parcel of the job too.

At times, when Kamal had the opportunity to ferry beneficiaries in their wheelchair to their homes, he gleaned some insights into their lives. Some beneficiaries received assistance and food from other agencies. 

"Over the years, I have met many beneficiaries who encountered difficulties in managing their day-to-day activities. By interacting with them, I have learnt to appreciate and count my blessings in life," he says. 

He enjoys working in the social service sector. 

"Working in the social service sector has given me the intrinsic satisfaction that no other job can offer. When I see a beneficiary smile and wish me well, I know I have done my part,” he explains.

Witnessing the Impact of the Pandemic on People

The COVID-19 pandemic further tested Kamal’s ability to think on his feet. Some beneficiaries developed symptoms on the day of their appointments. Others cancelled appointments as they heard of outbreaks at a hospital. 

Some were even wary of SRC's TransportAid team. Knowing the vital importance that some treatments had on their overall well-being, Kamal had to reason with them, “How will you go to your medical appointment without us?” 

Kamal was concerned about the elderly who did not wear masks amid the COVID-19 pandemic, as they did not understand the various government initiatives and were not aware of the repercussions. Kamal would urge them to wear their masks to ensure their safety and well-being. 

Thankful for Supportive Colleagues

It has been 12 years since Kamal joined the TransportAid team on 26 April 2010. Over the years, he is thankful for his supportive colleagues.

"My colleagues and I have mutual trust and respect for one another. That, I believe, is of the utmost importance. We know our roles and responsibilities well and support one another to achieve our goals. Everyone in the team trusts each other to complete their jobs on time. Besides sharing best practices and experiences to improve our work performance, we also collaborate to make decisions that benefit our beneficiaries. I look forward to many more years where I can contribute and brighten their lives," Kamal explains.

For people considering joining SRC's TransportAid, Kamal believes that a good TransportAid responder would need these attributes: an open mind, a good heart and a passion for serving seniors and persons with disabilities. 

Taking up other Leisurely Pursuits

Humanitarian work is not Kamal's sole passion. His passion also extends to videography, which has become a hobby. He had taken up some courses and had brief stints working for MediaCorp first as a part-time Guest Relations Officer, then subsequently as a part-time Assistant Videographer in 2018.

Mohammad Kamal Singapore Red Cross 2

Keep learning and gaining experience - this drive continues to fuel his motivation for lifelong learning and upskilling. A cook during his NS days, Kamal laughs as he recounts preparing culinary specialities for the SRC when COVID-19 struck. 

It has been an incredible journey where each experience has prepared Kamal for greater things. For people who are passionate about serving others, he urges them to join SRC, as it provides many rewarding and fulfilling opportunities to make a positive impact. 

By Sarah Chua, Volunteer
Copyedited by Ruth Lee, Volunteer


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