Shop for a cause - at showcase of handicrafts from VWOs

(From far left) SingYouth Hub president Tham Chien Ping, its founder and executive director Sophee Tan, Dr Maliki Osman and UOL general manager (marketing) Hauw Kheng Lip with the Community Chest's pink Sharity mascot at the Craftpreneurs of SG shop,
(From far left) SingYouth Hub president Tham Chien Ping, its founder and executive director Sophee Tan, Dr Maliki Osman and UOL general manager (marketing) Hauw Kheng Lip with the Community Chest's pink Sharity mascot at the Craftpreneurs of SG shop, which opened yesterday at OneKM mall in Tanjong Katong.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

Box shop at mall puts up for sale items made by VWO beneficiaries, with proceeds going to the organisations

With their space rented out to different parties selling items such as mobile-phone accessories and clothing from their own compartments, box shops are now a common sight in malls across Singapore.

The Craftpreneurs of SG, a new box shop that opened yesterday at OneKM mall in Tanjong Katong, is a little different.

Run by non-profit organisation SingYouth Hub, its pop-up boxes, as it calls them, are occupied by items made by the volunteers and beneficiaries of various voluntary welfare organisations (VWOs).

They include the Cat Welfare Society, the Singapore Environment Council and the Thye Hua Kwan Moral Society.

Prices start from $1 for items such as tote bags and photo frames, and proceeds go to the respective organisations.

The most expensive item, a mosaic tiled bottle made by a beneficiary of the Friends of the Disabled Society, is going for $120.

UOL, which owns the mall, has given the space to be used for free for the next three to six months.

Located at the junction of Tanjong Katong Road and Geylang Road, the three-year-old OneKM mall has more than 150 shops, about 30 per cent of which are eateries.

SingYouth Hub's founder and executive director, Ms Sophee Tan, said the 42 sq m space will also be used to run handicraft workshops run by VWOs and as a platform to reach out to young people.

The organisation, which aims to engage more young people in community work, had previously used pushcarts in malls to sell items and raise funds for various causes. It has about 300 volunteers, most of whom are students from secondary schools and tertiary institutions.

"We hope we can use the shop to increase our volunteer pool," said Ms Tan.

A spokesman for the Community Chest, which is selling soft toys of its pink elephant mascot, Sharity, at the shop, said she hoped the initiative would be an effective means of raising funds for the various VWOs.

Senior Minister of State for Defence and Foreign Affairs Maliki Osman, who attended the opening, lauded UOL for its generosity in offering a "prime location" in front of a food court for a good cause.

The Mayor for the South East District said he hoped the shop would help promote volunteerism.

He said: "I hope my residents will come here and ask themselves what they can do to help other Singaporeans."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 07, 2017, with the headline 'Shop for a cause - at showcase of handicrafts from VWOs'. Print Edition | Subscribe