SINGAPORE - A new project that aims to help green up Singapore's urban areas and raise funds for social causes was officially launched on Friday (June 24) by community-based initiative Target15.sg.
The Hold-a-Hand Project is facilitated by Target15.sg, a community-based initiative launched by events management company Circus Maximus International.
The project involves the initiative partnering with organisations such as schools to grow 150,000 trees over the next five years on their premises from seeds or seedlings sourced from partner nurseries in Malaysia and Indonesia.
Once the trees reach a suitable size, they will be transplanted to other areas in Singapore, including nursing homes, religious institutions and properties like condominiums and shopping centres.
Mr Edward Kent, 55, founder of Target15.sg and managing director of Circus Maximus International, said the initiative aims to complement Singapore's target of planting one million more trees islandwide by 2030, and also supports Singapore's 2030 Green Plan.
Target15.sg has collaborated with St Patrick's School to germinate and nurture 1,300 tree saplings from 16 species within the school compound under the Hold-A-Hand Project. Students are responsible for caring for the young trees.
When the saplings mature - which takes six months - Target15.sg will collect and donate them to nursing homes and religious institutions, helping to create a greener, healthier environment in those areas.
For every viable sapling harvested, Target15.sg will also donate $30 to the school, with the money to be used at the school's discretion.
It will also pledge a $2 contribution for each tree harvested to charities, including SDI Academy which is an education centre for IT and financial literacy for migrants and refugees; and migrant workers charity ItsRainingRaincoats. A variable sum was also pledged to the selected charity for Friday's event, the Singapore Muslim Women's Association.
Minister for Culture, Community and Youth and Second Minister for Law Edwin Tong, who was guest of honour at the project's launch, held at St Patrick's School, said: "(Being) green should be part and parcel of our everyday, part of our lived experiences, part of how we conduct ourselves.” He added that a mindset change is needed to make being green sustainable.
Mr Adrian Lim, head of character and citizenship education at St Patrick's School, said: "Part of being a gentleman is not just taking care of families and themselves, but also taking care of the environment and being stewards of the environment."
Among the 1,300 tree saplings being cared for by St Patrick's School, are 500 moringa trees - whose leaves and fruits are often used by migrant workers from Bangladesh and India in their food and drinks.
The Rotary Club pledged $250 per tree to St Patrick's School to underwrite the cost of the trees. Upon harvest, these trees will be donated to the migrant worker community. The first 100 moringa trees nurtured by St Patrick's have been harvested and were donated at the event, to be planted in migrant worker dormitories across the island.
Mr Kelvin Wee, 60, commercial director of Target15.sg, said that planting trees within the school and collaboration within the district helps students and the various communities get involved in protecting nature.
Correction note: In an earlier version of this story, Mr Kelvin Wee's full name and designation were incorrect. It has been corrected. We are sorry for the error.