In the Co-operative Values Series, we shared about the co-operative values that will make an individual a caring and productive person and inspire individuals to come together to enhance the betterment of the communities. 

This article focuses on Solidarity, a co-op value. Read how Solidarity takes a stronger meaning in this circuit breaker period, Stay Home, Stay Safe in Singapore.

solidarity-coop-value

That is the last value remaining to be a good member of a co-op and productive person.

This is something you might have heard your teachers say again and again.

And it all starts with sticks.

individual stickBundle of sticks to represent solidarity

It is much easier to break one stick than it is to break a bundle of sticks. Similarly, it is much easier to fight a battle with an army than just a single soldier. I think you get the idea.

Unity in the Co-operative movement

Unity is strength. As seen in SNCF New Year Reception 2020.

That’s the foundation of a co-op society. You can tell from the suffix Co in its name, which means “together”. People working together, for themselves and for others. In short, solidarity is sharing interest and common purposes with members and other co-operatives.

It is a very common saying, “teamwork makes the dreamwork”. And solidarity means just that. it is when people believe in the same thing and work together to make that happen.

If you notice that something is wrong with your friend, or that he/she is going through some problem, it is almost instinct that you try to console him/her and help him/her get through it. We always need that helping hand in our life, don’t we?

confiding to someone

This is why peer counselling exists, where you can confide your troubles to your friends, because they are there for you and you know that. If you want to extend this togetherness to the outside world, that’s where co-ops come in.

Imagine a hot, sunny day and you’re outside but with no water. What refresher would you absolutely crave for?

 

Sunkist

If you said water, fair enough. But the answer I was looking for was lemonade. That brings me to Sunkist, a co-operative company established in 1893!

Sunkist canned drink

It all began in California, whereby citrus growers banded together to market and sell citrus fruits like oranges, lemons and grapefruits. Without the need of a middleman to market and package their goods, they relied on each other, so they were directly exposed to the consumers, and hence juice prices decreased.

More people came to buy Sunkist juices and it has since known nothing but progress. More vendors meant more variety, and a wider outreach, which also translated to cheaper juices. There could not have been a better example of a collective group of people doing so much for the consumers.

Certainly Sunkist could not be the only co-op exemplifying solidarity. We can take COSEM Safety and Security Services Pte Ltd for example, a local co-op.

 

COSEM

COSEM is a co-op which is staffed by ex-employees of the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF). Through their knowledge, they train upcoming servicemen the tricks of the trade. They also offer consultancy services on emergency situations, and host schools on learning journeys.

cosem-firefighter

As you can tell, it requires the combined effort of all the staff members, who work together for the training to be conducted efficiently. This is a reason why COSEM is a trusted co-op, and can be the reason yours is too.

That’s why you should strive for teamwork in a co-op.

“United we stand, divided we fall” is a mantra every co-op lives by. Once you realise that you are as important as everyone else in your group, you will find yourself committing.

Try to contribute, because when every member contributes, the co-op can be stronger. A sea can only form from millions of tiny drops.


This article was brought to you by Rishi Rayapati from Anglo-Chinese School (Independent), an intern at SNCF from 9 December to 13 December 2019. Rishi likes reading a good book and playing badminton.

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