This afternoon, SDH students attended a one-of-a-kind session of The ‘Dining In the Dark’ experience organized by the Singapore Association of the Visually Handicapped (SAVH).
‘Dining In the Dark’ experience helps to raise public awareness of the challenges that persons with vision impairment face in their daily activities. Diners are guided into an enclosed room and served their meals in complete pitch-black darkness so they can experience what it is like to be blind without the use of blindfolds.
The servers are all friendly and very accommodating. We were given a prep-talk by one of the servers before breaking up into groups. It was heartening to see students closely listening while they facilitate the session and thanking them after their meal. We also learned about how to provide assistance when we see an individual in need in the public.
The students were then invited to take a tour around the NGO premise. The individuals at different stations showed us a series of useful equipments for the blind and visually impaired for independent living.
The idea for Dining in the Dark originated from the Blindekuh (Blind Cow) restaurant in Switzerland where patrons at the restaurant were served by blind and visually impaired people. The purpose of this meaningful learning journey is to engage students to foster social-emotional balance and help them cultivate empathy and compassion for others.
Empathy – the capability to understand and feel compassion for others, is one of the most defining human quality. According to researchers at McGill University in Montreal, there is a direct connection between empathy and learning capacity. (Martin et al., 2015) Having a sense of empathy and kindness help to foster a positive classroom culture, promotes genuine open-mindedness, and prepare students to be prosocial leaders. (Briggs, 2014)
Such valuable learning trips help to expand the horizons of our students and hopefully leave a lasting imprint on them. This trip reminds us that kindness, empathy, and compassion are important human qualities We truly hope our students have gained insights from this trip!
Briggs, Saga. “How Empathy Affects Learning, And How To Cultivate It In Your Students.” InformED, 1 Nov. 2014,
Martin et al., Reducing Social Stress Elicits Emotional Contagion of Pain in Mouse and Human Strangers, Current Biology (2015), published online Jan. 15, 2015.