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Building a City of Good
AS a child, Leow Shu Mei never felt that there was anything wrong or different about herself. But others saw her as the odd one out. She had trouble keeping up at school, was ridiculed for being "slow" and was left out of activities.
In primary school, Ms Leow found out that she had a lower-than-average IQ and was transferred to a special education school. Her parents worried about the future of their daughter, who had always seemed "normal" .
But, at her new school, Ms Leow met classmates and teachers who embraced her individuality without judgement. She gradually opened up, and her performance improved.
Today, Ms Leow not only works at restaurant Iron Nori as a steward, but she and two other colleagues have come together to create a Giving Week set menu that the special needs crew are trained to prepare and cook, with proceeds going to St Andrew's Autism Centre.
Initiated by the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre (NVPC), Giving Week aspires to celebrate Singapore's caring spirit and encourage brands, non-profit organisations (NPOs) and people to support a variety of causes.
Giving their best for others
Building on NVPC's recently shared vision for a City of Good where individuals, organisations and leaders come together to give their best for others, Giving Week rallies Singaporeans by offering a range of opportunities to embrace and practise giving in all forms, and aims to amplify these acts of giving through The Good Hubs, The Good Life, and #TheGivingWeekChallenge.
The movement was inspired by the global #GivingTuesday in the US and it started here in 2015. This year, Giving Week has the support of over 70 lifestyle, retail and F&B brands, including Carousell, Courts, and d'Good Café.
Bernard Chan, operations consultant at Iron Nori, said: "Iron Nori trains and employs Persons with Disabilities (PWDs). After the PWDs receive help, aids and training, we don't want the social good to stop there. We want (them) to . . . use the skills they have acquired, to go onwards to benefit others who need help, and Giving Week gave us an opportunity to do that.
"Our PWDs can use their skills to prepare dishes for the many diners at the restaurant and help another beneficiary (SAAC) in the process. We also give diners a reason to invite their colleagues to join them for a Giving Week meal, and maybe a discussion on special needs issues."
Rachel Tan, manager, fundraising, of St Andrew's Autism Centre, said: "Giving Week is a great initiative and opportunity for everyone across Singapore - corporates, non-profit organisations and individuals to give back to society.
Raising awareness of autism, leading to acceptance and support
"Iron Nori has been a supporter of SAAC, working with us on various fronts - fund-raising, consultancy and collaboration on community projects. Partnering Iron Nori provides a platform for SAAC to showcase the abilities of persons with autism and raises awareness of autism to the general public, which hopefully will lead to acceptance and support for them and their families."
Another company involved in Giving Week is Chope, a real time restaurant-reservation booking platform.
Heather Cheong, VP of regional marketing, said: "Chope's mission has always been to connect our users to meaningful and memorable dining experiences. Taking this ethos further to a community in need, our ChopePerks rewards programme now enables diners to easily make a donation to TOUCH Community Services' Meals-on-Wheels, a worthy cause that helps home-bound elderly meet their daily needs. It is now one of our most popular redemptions. Now into our second year, we are continuing our working relationship with Giving Week as we find it a simple, effortless and meaningful way for us to do our small part in giving back."
Melissa Kwee, CEO, NVPC, is optimistic that the groundup nature of giving is emerging in the Giving Week 2019.
"In this Bicentennial year, we observe more Singaporeans demonstrating that spirit of embracing the other and showing how we can thrive together. We are starting to see more ground up initiatives and collaborations for community emerging in this year's Giving Week and I hope the trend grows."
- Company of Good is proud to support Giving Week 2019, as part of our wider vision to build a City of Good. Visit our respective websites www.companyofgood.sg and www.givingweek.sg to find out more.
- Check out the list of events and activities island-wide on givingweek.sg
Ng Teng Fong General Hospital
Dec 5 (10am - 4pm)
Members of the public visiting the hospital will be able to give in various ways, such as donating blood, and purchasing products from their flea market which supports various causes.
Dec 2-6 (11.30am -3.30pm)
The week-long Giving Marketplace at Marina One will celebrate different forms of giving, with market booths, performances and more helmed by non-profit and social enterprises.
PAssion WaVe @ Bedok Reservoir
Dec 7 (3.30pm - 8.30pm)
PAssion WaVe @ Bedok Reservoir is holding its inaugural #CommunityGivesBack with fun-filled activities for everyone. Beneficiaries of various non-profits and members of the public will get to try out water sports such as stand-up paddling.
Dec 5 - 8 (10am - 9pm)
Social Collider has invited social entrepreneurs to share and chat with visitors at different timeslots.
The cafe is putting a twist on the usual Christmas tree decorations - guests can pick out a wish to fulfil at the cafes' Christmas trees and leave the gift by the tree on their way out.
Mon to Fri 11am - 3pm, 5.30pm - 10pm
Sat, Sun & PH 11.30am - 10pm
Iron Nori has curated a special Giving Week set meal, with all proceeds going to their charity partner, St Andrew's Autism Centre (SAAC).
Until Dec 31
Chope is converting your Chope Dollars into donations for TOUCH Community Services' Meals-on-Wheels programme, delivering meals to meeting the daily needs of home-bound elderly.
Nov 29 - Dec 15
In their #ShopeeGivesBack campaign, Shopee is matching every Shopee coin donated by users to their selected charities.
Nov 26 - Dec 6
For the festive season, SATS staff will be giving back in a variety of ways - from marketplace activities in their office, to volunteering for various causes, and even a tea-time talk with Singapore Cancer Society.