After Mr Koh (not his real name), a businessman, came to know of the plight of the homeless in Singapore through the stories on The Online Citizen, he felt he had to do something to help them. He was shocked that there are so many Singaporeans who are in such dire straits and living in tented communities at parks and beaches in Singapore.
Mr Koh himself had some personal encounters with those who needed help in housing. “Last year, I met a family that I came across which had problems,” he says. A divorcee mother and her two children were sharing a one-room HDB flat with an elderly stranger because she could not afford the rental in the open market. She was earning just about $800 a month. After TOC intervened, and with the help of Mr Koh, the family was eventually given a rental flat by the HDB.
“When I first started out as an entrepreneur,” Mr Koh explains, “life was really tough. My mother and I have always done whatever we could to help others. I felt that if only I had some small financial help in the beginning, it would have been a real life-saver.”
After some careful thought, he decided that the best way to help the needy was to give them a leg-up. “My initial thoughts were to help people start-up small businesses and hopefully for them eventually to give back to society,” he says. “I am open to helping anyone in need.”
A friend, however, suggested that he asks for ideas from TOC’s readers on how to assist those in need. It would be a community effort, in a sense. He readily accepted the suggestion and Mr Koh would therefore like to request you, our readers, to share your recommendations.
Mr Koh has set aside S$500,000 as a start-up fund for this purpose.
You can share your ideas and suggestions by posting them as comments here or you can email them to us at [email protected] and we will forward them to Mr Koh.