Constructing a rainwater harvester to supplement clean water supply. Creating a biosand filter to purify water. Engaging local village children through tuition classes.
These achievements by a team of NUS chemical engineering students were made possible thanks to a gift from the Maybank Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Maybank, in support of the eMpowering Youths Across ASEAN programme. The programme raises awareness among today’s youths of the issues faced by different communities in the ASEAN region and harnesses their passion and creativity to identify solutions. The NUS team, Project Cheway, won the programme’s top award.
Datuk Lim Hong Tat, CEO of Maybank Singapore reveals, “With rising interest amongst students in overseas community involvement projects, the programme aims to inspire university students in Singapore to become change makers by using social innovation to improve living conditions of the less fortunate and lessen poverty.”
The successful pilot programme in Singapore involved 200 participating university students and six completed projects impacting 1,500 people in the region. By applying knowledge gained in their tertiary education coupled with the support from Maybank, the students were given the opportunity and platform to come up with innovative and sustainable solutions to real-life issues in different communities. The student initiatives are expected to deliver tangible long-term impact, socially and economically.
Yeo Chun Yee, leader of the winning team shares, “When I learnt about my seniors’ experience on this programme, I wanted to be a part of it. With Maybank’s support, we had greater freedom to choose the type of projects that we want to participate in. Using chemical engineering knowledge gained in NUS, we were successful with what we set out to achieve. We sincerely hope that our efforts have made a difference, no matter how small, to the community in the Philippines. Moving forward, we want to continue the spirit of giving by kickstarting our own projects in Singapore to help the needy.”
Datuk Lim hopes that the programme will enable the participating students to broaden their minds and gain a better understanding of challenges in the region, and to inspire socially-conscious future leaders.
“We believe very much in being at the heart of the community and doing our part for society at large,” he adds.