Onesimus was the name of an escaped slave of Philemon in the bible. Onesimus met the biblical Paul in prison and was converted by the gospel and became a changed man for the better. He was sent back to Philemon carrying the epistle that appears in the New Testament bible.
Onesimus Garden was named for a plot of farm land in Neo Tiew Road in 2017, which was created as a social service initiative using farming as a therapy to help the elderly, the needy, those with special needs and ex-offenders. Through farming related activities, users find belonging, dignity and usefulness. The choice of farming is a deliberate move in view of the global concern for food shortage.
The Onesimus therapy journey begins with wholesome end-to-end farming by imparting practical farming skills. The objective is to train users to become skilled specialists in either hydro or soil farming methods, so to find gainful employment with farm related employers.
The therapy addresses the user’s social, physical, mental and emotional needs.
Onesimus Garden has worked with many partners, which include Institute of Mental Health (Medical Social Work), Association for Person with Special Needs (APSN), Willing Hearts (VWO), Prison Fellowship Singapore (Yellow Ribbon) and Christian Outreach to the Handicapped.
Today, the Onesimus ethos continues through SWS Onesimus Village @ Kebun Bahru, running as a community senior activity centre that conducts activities such as arts and crafts, exercise sessions, potting and farming cultivation activities that engages users onsite.
Future Initiatives will see more SWS Onesimus Village senior activity centres operating in Singapore neighbourhoods; with the aim that all who pass through the centres will gain profitable, useful and beneficial counsel and care, through the environment created there.