Singapore Budget 2020: A ground-up project for youth, Progress Nest, benefits from the Our Singapore Fund

Progress Nest, a ground-up project for youths, was an initiave founded in June last year. PHOTO: PROGRESS NEST

SINGAPORE - Every Thursday evening, dozens of secondary school students gather at Marsiling Community Club to take part in team games, and bond over food such as pizza.

The students, from low-income households in the neighbourhood, are sometimes also taken on outings to places such as bowling centres.

This is part of Progress Nest, an initiative that was founded Mr Akram Hanif, 24, in June last year.

"I felt we should do a programme that helps with (young people's) social and emotional growth as they go through these important years, and get through " he tells The Straits Times in a phone interview.

Much of this might not have been possible if it were not for the Our Singapore Fund, which was launched in 2016 and has since supported more than 240 other ground-up projects in areas ranging from sports to the arts.

"It would have been quite difficult to achieve what we want - to build that rapport (with the youth), we need to invest in resources," says Mr Akram, who applied to the OSF half a year after starting Progress Nest, and says this money will go towards activities such as outings, food and chartering a bus to events.

Mr Akram, who works as an office secretary in the shipping industry, adds that he has been granted about $13,000 in financial support from the OSF.

Today, he is assisted by two other core team members and more than 10 youth volunteers.

He adds that he hopes Progress Nest will be a safe space for its students attendees - affectionately dubbed "night owls" - to explore and learn.

"I would love to see them build on positive relationships with each other."

He adds that he is "really glad" to hear that the OSF has been topped up, and extended from end-2020 - when it was due to end - to 2025.

"This will allow more Singaporeans to have more opportunities to do good for the community in need.

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