Students win for projects to encourage neighbourliness in heartlands

(From Left) ITE West students Lim Yi Cin, Poh Zen Feng, Nelson Yeo, Hidayu Salim and Nazirah Arianie, all aged 18. They organised a baking class at Chua Chu Kang Community Club and taught about a hundred residents how to make traditional bites such a
(From Left) ITE West students Lim Yi Cin, Poh Zen Feng, Nelson Yeo, Hidayu Salim and Nazirah Arianie, all aged 18. They organised a baking class at Chua Chu Kang Community Club and taught about a hundred residents how to make traditional bites such as nine-layered cake, glutinous rice balls (tang yuan) and muah chee. -- ST PHOTO: AZIZ HUSSIN

SINGAPORE - Dance and baking classes, a book donation drive and a games carnival were some projects thought up by students as part of this year's Good Neighbours Project.

The youth category of the project, organised by the Housing Board for the second year, aims to encourage ground-up initiatives by young people to encourage neighbourliness in the heartlands.

Twenty teams from primary, secondary and post-secondary schools were awarded seed funding of up to $2,000 each to carry out their projects from March to May this year. Together, they reached out to about 2,300 residents.

On Friday, nine of these teams were awarded the title of outstanding project, which included $800 cash prize, a plaque and individual certificates.

National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan, who gave out the awards at HDB Hub in Toa Payoh on Friday, stressed the importance of a strong community spirit.

"There is much to celebrate, when you have a strong community of fellow residents, when you have good neighbours who have become your friends, and when you have strong memories of your HDB town," said Mr Khaw.

"The rewards are plentiful."

One of the winners was a team of five from ITE College West, which organised a baking class at Chua Chu Kang Community Club last month. There, they taught about a hundred residents how to make traditional bites such as nine-layered cake, glutinous rice balls (tang yuan) and muah chee.

"We wanted to not only help the residents bond, but also introduce traditional kuehs to the younger generation," said Ms Nur Nazirah Arianie Sairi, 18, who, like her team mates, is working towards a certificate in pastry and baking.

"We learn how to make French pastries like quiches and pies in school, but we wanted to do something more local. We want to preserve traditional culture."

The winning projects will be on display at an exhibition at HDB Hub till the end of the month.