Working together for the benefit of the community

As part of the PA's Project We Care Stay Well, volunteers helped needy residents by cleaning and repairing their homes. The PA also roped in 19 partners, which contributed to the project by donating money, sponsoring products needed for refurbishment
As part of the PA's Project We Care Stay Well, volunteers helped needy residents by cleaning and repairing their homes. The PA also roped in 19 partners, which contributed to the project by donating money, sponsoring products needed for refurbishment or offering technical expertise for repair work.PHOTO: PEOPLE'S ASSOCIATION
As part of the PA's Project We Care Stay Well, volunteers helped needy residents by cleaning and repairing their homes. The PA also roped in 19 partners, which contributed to the project by donating money, sponsoring products needed for refurbishment
As part of the PA's Project We Care Stay Well, volunteers helped needy residents by cleaning and repairing their homes. The PA also roped in 19 partners, which contributed to the project by donating money, sponsoring products needed for refurbishment or offering technical expertise for repair work.PHOTO: PEOPLE'S ASSOCIATION

In a concerted effort to improve the living conditions of needy residents, the People's Association (PA) roped in a total of 19 partners to help in a corporate giving project.

Project We Care Stay Well, which started in November last year, aims to benefit 75 households in Marine Parade, Ang Mo Kio and Sengkang West over two years.

It was highlighted by Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong recently as an example of how companies can "maximise the resources that we have through synergy".

The 19 partners involved in the project contribute in different ways: Some donate money to cover refurbishment costs, while others sponsor products such as furniture and paint.

Some partners have offered their services too. Hope Technik, for instance, has been lending its engineering expertise in repairing leaking pipes and faulty wheelchairs.

Some schools were also invited to help decorate the homes to beautify the living environments.

PA's senior director for membership and community partnership Jasmine Kwok told The Straits Times that the project idea was mooted after conversations with grassroots organisations.

"They told us there were some pockets of vulnerable communities within Marine Parade that were residing in less desirable living conditions. For instance, some were living with dilapidated furniture that they could not afford to replace, and some were living in cluttered homes which could be fire hazards.

"Project We Care Stay Well provides a holistic platform for companies to contribute resources - cash, in-kind donations, expertise, volunteers - in a concerted effort to reach out to vulnerable households."

The project was piloted in Marine Parade in early November last year, then extended to Ang Mo Kio and Sengkang West later that month.

Since earlier this year, corporate partners have also been encouraged to move from one-off engagements to regular meetings with the beneficiaries, through home visits or outings, for instance.

Hope Technik chief operating officer Michael Leong said the pooling of resources ultimately benefits the community.

"Previously, we were doing corporate giving on our own. But in this project, we get PA's help in identifying homes that truly require assistance. This relieves us from identifying who is in need of help, and we can better focus our energy on improving the homes," he said.

Cleaner Lelah Sulaiman, 46, had her Marine Parade home refurbished last year as part of the project. She lives in the three-room flat with her husband and four children aged 13 to 17.

Volunteers also helped with some repairs. The flat's gate had been broken since she moved in in 1997. Her toilet bowl was also leaking but she did not have it repaired after learning it would cost about $500 to do so. "I'm very happy with the house now. It's also much cleaner," she said.

Priscilla Goy

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 11, 2016, with the headline 'Working together for the benefit of the community'. Print Edition | Subscribe