News & Opinions
Project Refresh: Making A Difference

Contributed by Jonathan Tan, LabourBeat

“I’m very happy to have these people come to my home and make it new with new paint, new LED lights and also to help make my television ready with the digital box. I’m very grateful to them for the help,” said Mdm Aminah, 65, a cleaner who lives together with her husband in a one-room HDB flat in Punggol North. 


These sentiments were echoed by 34 other residents residing in one- and two-room HDB flats in Punggol North when more than 300 Young NTUC volunteers took time off their busy schedules to participate in Young NTUC – North East Community Development Council (CDC) Project Refresh on 18 August 2018.


As part of the engagement, volunteers from local schools, unions, businesses and even religious groups spent the day helping these less privileged residents with sprucing up their homes. This is the fifth iteration of Project Refresh since it first started in 2017 as a platform for youths to tap their skills as a means of giving back to the community.


Making A Difference


In the case of Mdm Aminah, a group of 10 volunteers led by 24-year-old Ong Li Yan, a financial advisor and alumni of NTU Caretalyst, helped her with a thorough spring clean of her home.


“I’ve always been volunteering because doing something good for others has always been a part of my family’s culture. The work may be physically tiring because we did a lot of cleaning, stripped away the old wallpaper and gave the home a fresh coat of paint. We also cleaned up high and scrubbed down low into the corners of the home.


“End of the day, we also get to connect emotionally with beneficiaries like Mdm Aminah. This is why when we pose for pictures, everyone will be smiling very happily because we feel good inside,” shared Li Yan.


NTUC Secretary-General Ng Chee Meng, who is also advisor to Pasir Ris-Punggol Grassroots Organisations said: “Young NTUC - North East CDC Project Refresh aims to provide the residents – many who are getting on in age – with a safe and clean living environment. In this run, partnering the National Environment Agency (NEA) and Infocomm Media Development Authority (iMDA) has added a greater value to our mission by delivering LED bulbs and DTV (digital television) Starter Kits that will improve the residents’ quality of living. We are also seeing more businesses and volunteers coming forward to participate in this meaningful cause.” 


In keeping with the community spirit of National Day, 13 young union leaders from Young NTUC also came together to organise a National Day carnival with stage performances and games stalls for residents.


Alongside Project Refresh, NEA and North East CDC also jointly launched the ‘Switch and Save – Use LED (SSUL) @ North East’ to encourage residents to adopt the use of LED lights. As part of the programme, all household living in one- and two-room flats in the North East district will be offered a $25 SSUL voucher to purchase LED lights.


For updates on future editions of Project Refresh and other volunteering opportunities within Young NTUC, visit their website here.