Get inspired by causes that make a difference

Saltsteps founder Desiree Yang (centre), 21, with GobblerShop team members (from far left) Janan Kwek, 25, Jacob Lau, 29, Nurul Na'iimah, 24, and Irna Yanti, 22. Ms Yang said being featured in last year's ST Causes Week made it easier for the social supermarket to gain more partners. GobblerShop is one of its main partners. ST PHOTO: AZIZ HUSSIN

The Straits Times Causes Week is back for its fourth year.

Over the course of this week, the paper will spotlight various individuals and groups, and share how they are making a difference through the causes they are passionate about.

They include a 25-year-old chef who employs and trains at-risk youth and former offenders in the intricacies of French cooking techniques, a group of engineers who modify toys to cater to children with special needs, and a social enterprise that offers English lessons for migrant workers so they can improve their productivity and better understand safety briefings.

By highlighting these efforts, the paper hopes to inspire people to contribute, especially during the year-end season of giving. It also hopes to feature lesser-known groups which may need help to get the word out about their work.

Straits Times editor Warren Fernandez said: "Many people and groups do good work to help those in need, away from the media spotlight.

"They would like more to know about their work, to help them raise funds, attract volunteers or just to get some recognition for their efforts. Causes Week is our way of helping them do so."

More than 150 individuals and groups responded to The Straits Times' call for story submissions last month, up from about 80 entries in the first run of Causes Week.

The submissions spanned a variety of causes - from spreading cheer to mentally ill patients, to caring for cats in the community.

For instance, a group of maids spend two hours of their time off to befriend patients at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) every Sunday.

IMH volunteer programme manager Catherine Chua, 67, wrote to ST about the domestic helpers who call themselves Ladies In the Power of Service (Lips). She said: "We want to show our appreciation to all our volunteers and to thank them for their selfless acts of kindness on a public platform, such as the ST Causes Week page."

Priscilla Goy

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 07, 2015, with the headline Get inspired by causes that make a difference. Subscribe