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Talking Trash: 123kg!

Some twenty ONE (SINGAPORE) volunteers cleared more than 120kg of rubbish from Punggol Beach on a rainy Saturday morning, as part of an International Coastal Cleanup that was timed to coincide with the second anniversary of the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals.

In addition to plastic bottles, grocery bags, plastic takeaway containers, cigarette butts and packaging materials, volunteers found discarded handbags, plastic toys and even something buried in the sand that appeared to be part of a foam mattress or bed.

Every item collected was logged and the data shared with Ocean Conservancy, a non-profit environmental advocacy group.  Below is a glance at what was found; you can check out the full list here.

Debris Summary

Millions of tons of plastic are dumped in the ocean every year, killing sea birds, whales, seals, dolphins, sea turtles and other marine life. Not only that, plastic production requires millions of barrels of petroleum, contributing to climate change, which in turn disproportionately affects impoverished countries.

As part of the Sustainable Development Goals, the nations of the world have pledged to significantly reduce marine pollution - particularly from land-based activities - by 2025.

Related Links

Not just another day at the beach! ONE (SG)'s Beach Cleanup Coordinator talks trash.

Dikirim oleh ONE(SINGAPORE) pada 22 September 2017

Talking Trash: Register for Beach Cleanup

Join us at ONE (SINGAPORE)'s Beach Cleanup and Data Collection.  Register Now!

Millions of tons of plastic are dumped in the ocean every year, killing sea birds, whales, seals, dolphins, sea turtles and other marine life. Not only that, plastic production requires millions of barrels of petroleum, contributing to climate change, which in turn disproportionately affects impoverished countries.

Join the fight for a sustainable planet!   Join ONE (SINGAPORE) as we clean up Punggol Beach on Saturday 23 Sept.    RSVP now!  This action is part of International Coastal Cleanup Day, which is conducted in more than seventy countries every year.  Help us take a stand in support of the Sustainable Development Goals!

Talking Trash

Trash is affecting our marine ecosystems at an alarming rate. The largest contributing factor is plastics.  Why? Plastic lasts forever and is designed to be thrown away.

How bad is it?

  • Approx. 15 to 51 trillion plastic pieces float in the oceans at any given time.
  • 8 million metric tons of plastic enters the oceans each year
  • In Singapore last year alone, 3179 volunteers cleaned 18.6 Kilometres of coastline and collected 12773Kg of trash (approx.. 149,892 items) in 90 minutes!

Why it matters
Plastic can affect marine life by entanglement and ingestion.

From last year’s clean-ups alone, 250 horseshoe crabs were found dead at various sites around the island, from fishing net entanglement. Coastal horseshoe crabs are endangered marine animals.

Many marine animals cannot differentiate plastic from their food, especially turtles because plastic bags floating in the ocean look like their favourite food- jellyfish!

But large visible plastics are not the only problem. Microbeads from beauty products have been found accumulating in fish and oysters that eventually make their way back on our tables!

Why clean up?

  • Trash washes onto the shores from the oceans.
  • By clearing the trash, we reduce the stress it has on the marine environment.
  • By recording and sharing what we collect, we act as citizen scientists to inform researchers and policymakers on how to better tackle this problem locally and globally.
  • At clean-ups, we realize just how far our trash can travel and how it affects our surroundings.
  • It provides the perfect opportunity to educate and reach out to people who want to make a difference.

Join us at ONE (SINGAPORE)'s Beach Cleanup and Data Collection.  Register Now!

Programme:
9am: Assemble at meeting Point
9:10-9:30am: Briefing on safety and how to conduct clean up
9:30-11am: Pick Trash, record data
11-11:15am: Move trash bags to collection point
11:15-11:30: Debrief
11:30: End

CAP Partner Sponsors Early Education Programme

Children from low-income and at-risk families have received top-quality pre-school education, thanks to a generous donation made by a ONE (SINGAPORE) partner, which funded the salaries of two educators for 18 months.

Through a matching grant system, Edrington and its employees participated in ONE (SINGAPORE)’s Concrete Actions Programme (CAP) and contributed nearly S$90,000 to Child at Street 11, a charity that helps families break the poverty cycle in one generation.

A portion of Edrington’s donation also supported ONE (SINGAPORE)’s campaign to Make Poverty History and groceries for struggling families in Bedok earlier this year.

At Child at Street 11, well-trained preschool teachers like Jacqueline Fletcher and Rabiah Hassan - whose salaries were sponsored by Edrington - not only educate children, they also work with parents to better help them better address child behavioral issues.  The charity engages the community — working with external agencies, social workers, counselors, education psychologists, doctors and other professionals — to support meaningful change in the lives of children who might be left behind in traditional classrooms.

Rabiah Hassan, a mid-career professional trained in early childhood education, consistently integrates new experiences with traditional knowledge to help children aged as young as 18 months settle into childcare settings.  Her knowledge of the arts, cooking and creative self-expression has helped foster meaningful change in the lives of Child at Street 11’s pre-schoolers from the very beginning of their educational journeys.

Jacqueline Fletcher is a pre-school teacher trained in the Montessori method with over 30 years’ experience.  At Child at Street 11, she has looked after the educational and emotional needs of a small group of six-year olds, a particularly important year for Singapore students as they start formal education at age seven.  Many of Jacqueline’s students struggle with dyslexia, autism and the residual effects of traumatic life experiences.  Her contributions to early childhood education have resulted in the publication of three books that show cased the power of young children's learning.

Investments in early education are particularly important because first learning experiences deeply affect children’s emotional, social and physical development.

Students who attended preschool and other tuition classes also have a competitive edge when it’s time for exams that shape their educational and professional careers.  While Singapore’s education system is structured around the concept of meritocracy, meritocracy is only truly possible if all children are equipped with the same resources.  Low-income and at-risk families generally cannot afford pre-school programmes, without external assistance.  Many centres also lack integrated programmes to help children with emotional support needs.

During the 2017 National Day Rally, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong highlighted investments that the government has made in pre-school education over the past five years and pledged to double annual spending on pre-school education within the next five years.

ONE (SINGAPORE) thanks Child at Street 11 for the fantastic work that it does to foster early education and Edrington Singapore for its contribution to the campaign to Make Poverty History.

If you would like to participate in the Concrete Actions Programme - and take actions in support of the UN Sustainable Development Goals - please contact us!

Two years in, how are we doing on the #SDGs?

Nearly two years after adopting the Sustainable Development Goals amidst much fanfare, governments returned to the United Nations in July for a 'high level political forum' to review their implementation efforts and assess progress.  Forty-three countries, including ten from Asia-Pacific, presented 'Voluntary National Reviews' (VNRs), which more than 2500 civil society advocates critiqued their work.

The civil society coalition, Action for Sustainable Development, has noted five key trends:
    • The commitment to 'Leave No One Behind' - a centrepiece of the SDGs - received little emphasis from the countries presenting voluntary reports.
    • Civil society rights are being violated in a majority of UN member states, limiting the capacity of citizens and community organisations to assist with the implementation of the goals;
    • The relationship between the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Change Agreement needs to be further incorporated into the reporting framework of the High Level Political Forum;
    • The United Nations needs to do more to compare national progress reports between member states and related independent assessments from civil society;
    • Civil society should have, but often lacks, a formal role in goal implementation and monitoring.
You can read the full statement, as well as find links to government VNRs and civil society shadow reports on the SDG progress, on the Action4SD website.
 
(Parts of the article above originally appeared in correspondence from the secretariat of the Global Call to Action Against Poverty to its constituents and supporters.)

ONE (SG) Scholarship Sparks a Unique Friendship

“Usha” – My Friend from Faraway

By Kaiyi Liu

“Now in Nepal winter season is coming near. A week ago here comes a earthquake. I thought it’s going to be more dangerous in Kathmandu and lots of people would died. Many people died in Sikkim. Many house had fall down. I hope in future this all not will happen.” - “Usha,” Nepal

Living in the safe summer haven of Singapore, it is only through my pen-pal Usha that I have come to understand the experience of harsh winters and earthquakes.  My appreciation of my home stems from the words in her letters.

Usha has been my pen-pal for about six years. One of my mother’s friends was volunteering with ONE (SINGAPORE) and looking for a pen-pal for Usha, whose education was sponsored by ONE (SINGAPORE) through a programme called the Little Sisters Fund.  With no idea of what to expect, I offered to write to her. On 22nd of August 2012, I received Usha’s first letter and this is how a friendship blossomed.

Usha’s letters arrive in neatly-typed envelopes with colourful stamps.  Her letters contain updates on the seasons and weather in Nepal. (I only have summer to discuss with her, as it is the only season here in Singapore).  She also writes me about the cultural and social activities happening in Nepal and her school life.  As time has gone by, we have shared our joys and sorrows of growing up. She has told me about her interest in the English language and I have expressed my disappointment in my marks for Mathematics.

Usha’s beautifully-written letters, accompanied by lovely drawings, are a window to another world of different seasons and celebrations.

“Few days ago, there was a festival called Janai Purnima. In Janai Purnima, I went to temple with my friends. We put sacred thread in our right hand. We enjoyed very much. In this day all people ate Kwati, the delicious food made of beans this day. This sacred thread tied for the protection and some take it as good luck. We tie a yellow red threads.” -Usha

Usha’s school has special holidays dedicated to religious festivals, such as the Nepali New Year, which falls in April.  Similarly, we have days off in Singapore for holidays like Chinese New Year. Through these differences, I have also learnt about the similarities around our world.

“We celebrated Gaijarta and Krishna Asthami last month. Gaijatra is a funny festival. In Gaijatra must of the people come with their cows or they paint their body by colour and they made cow in their body. In Krishna Asthma Hindu people take fasting and they go to the Lord Krishna temple and they worship Lord Krishna.” -Usha

In this world of advanced technology and social media, where I communicate regularly with my friends on Instagram and Snapchap, Usha’s letters on paper and ink have become something I treasure a lot.

Over the past few years of exchanging letters with a friend many thousands of miles away, I have also polished up on my written communication skills.  I have noticed that Usha’s English and writing skills have improved with the longer letters too.

Being given the chance to be Usha’s pen-pal is truly a blessing. I treasure it very much.  It is amazing to know about Usha’s life through her own words and drawings. I believe that our long distance friendship will last for as long as we wish, through paper and pen.

Kaiyi Liu, 15, is a student in Grade 9 at Hwa Chong International School.  She has been corresponding with “Usha” (whose name has been changed to protect her privacy) since 2012.  Usha recently completed 11th grade and has one year remaining until graduation.  ONE (SINGAPORE) began sponsoring Usha’s education in 2009.

Pilates for Good: ONE (SINGAPORE) Partners with PushPullGive

Some fifteen socially-minded exercise enthusiasts gathered in the Singapore Botanic Gardens recently for a charity pilates event in support of ONE (SINGAPORE)’s $10 Campaign.

The event - organised on Saturday 28 May by PushPullGive, a social enterprise startup that fuses fitness and health activities with community initiatives - raised more than S$250.

“We were excited to partner with ONE (SINGAPORE) because we know that poverty is a real problem, but one that we can all help to address,” says Konrad Haedicke, one of PushPullGive’s co-founders. “Our social enterprise aims to push individuals to be socially active, pull them out of their comfort zones and offer opportunities to give back to society.”

Partnerships are an important part of spreading awareness and taking concrete action on poverty and inequalities, both here in Singapore and overseas. Here are a few ways your organization can get involved in the $10 Campaign:

“The number ten of the $10 Campaign serves as a reminder that at least one in ten Singaporeans lives in poverty,” explains ONE (SINGAPORE) president Nichol Ng. “This year-long campaign aims to raise $100,000 to support an Emergency Fund as well as long-term solutions to end poverty and inequalities. Partnerships – like the one with PushPullGive – are a key component of the campaign to Make Poverty History. Please join us in this campaign!”

If you have ideas about how your organization might partner with ONE (SINGAPORE), please contact us at info@onesingapore.org.

TAKE THE $10 CHALLENGE TO END POVERTY

It’s simple!
  1. Take a photo of what you can do with $10.
  2. Post it on Instagram or Facebook and tag #tendollarchallenge.
  3. Contribute to the $10 Campaign.
  4. Challenge a friend to Take the $10 Challenge!
The $10 Campaign takes a two-pronged approach to addressing poverty in Singapore.  First, it finances the creation of an Emergency Fund to support our neighbours-in-need.  Second, it funds research & advocacy to create long-term solutions to eradicate poverty, ensure that no one in Singapore is left behind and that everyone in our nation can live with dignity.

ONE (SINGAPORE) ANNOUNCES LAUNCH OF $10 CAMPAIGN TO END POVERTY

ONE (SINGAPORE) is excited to announce the online launch of the $10 Campaign!  The number 10 serves as a constant reminder that at least one in ten Singaporeans lives in poverty.  The year-long campaign will raise awareness of poverty and inequalities in Singapore.  It will also raise funds to generate short-term and long-term solutions to poverty through a two-pronged approach.  Proceeds support an Emergency Fund for low-income families as well as research and advocacy efforts.
 
Most Singaporeans living in poverty are employed and either face barriers to accessing government assistance, or the assistance they do receive is insufficient.  Often, urgent needs go unmet.  The Emergency Fund created by the $10 Campaign assists low-income families with essential everyday expenses, like milk formula, diapers or a ride to work on public transport.  Research and advocacy help create long-term solutions to end poverty and inequalities.  Research is essential to identify social and policy gaps.  Advocacy enables us to raise awareness and take action to fill the gaps. 
 
There are many ways you can get take action to support the $10 Campaign:
 
ONE (SINGAPORE) looks forward to working with you to create solutions to poverty and inequalities in Singapore.  Together, we can Make Poverty History. 
 

 ONE (SINGAPORE) looks forward to working with you to create solutions to poverty and inequality in Singapore. Together, we can Make Poverty History. 

2017 Member/Volunteer Action Programme Kicks Off

2017 Member/Volunteer Action Programme Kicks Off

Teams of volunteers converge on a void deck nestled between Bedok North residences on a sunny Saturday morning in March. They form a long queue to collect and pack fresh vegetables and other groceries, being distributed by another dozen volunteers. After completing one round – paying attention to bundle halal food for Muslims and pork dishes for Chinese families – each volunteer gets back in line to repeat the process. Afterwards, they divide into teams, steered by local community members, to deliver the food bundles to 130 low-income families living in the neighbourhood.

The project, made possible by a corporate donation and organised on 25 March in collaboration with a local community partner, kicks off the 2017 ONE (SINGAPORE) Member/Volunteer Action Programme.

Some twenty-five ONE (SINGAPORE) volunteers spent the better part of a Saturday afternoon in service to the community, assisting families that one way or another have trouble making ends meet at the end of the month.

"I'm volunteering with ONE (SINGAPORE) because I want to make an  impact in the Singapore community and connect with like-minded people who want to do the same," explains volunteer Omar Rachid.

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“I want to thank you all very much,” a recipient, who had been hospitalised for some time and unable to work, tells us.  He shares his family’s story and explains how he instils a sense of gratitude and humility in each of his children.

Many of the families that we visit recount how they face problems paying for groceries, water, and electricity at the end of each month. Singapore does not have an official poverty line, however researchers estimate that some 387,000 Singaporeans do not have the resources to fulfil their basic needs, including food, shelter, clothing and other essential expenditures. That means that more than 1 in 10 Singaporeans is living in poverty.

Another resident in a nearby block impassionately shares how grateful she is for the fresh produce, as she heads out to work. She is the sole income earner for her children and parents. Stories like these repeat themselves as our volunteers knock on doors in different blocks throughout the afternoon.

Even though quite a number of the recipients in the Bedok North neighbourhood are employed, they simply do not earn enough to make ends meet. Their stories are unfortunately not unique. Low-income workers are estimated to account for approximately 60% of all Singaporeans living in poverty. The unemployed, underemployed and the elderly, particularly older women, also face higher rates of poverty.

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While volunteers bundled and distributed groceries for the March kick-off of the 2017 ONE (SINGAPORE) Member/Volunteer Action Programme, future events in the series will have a variety of activities in line with ONE (SINGAPORE)’s focus areas.  If you or your organisation would like to sponsor an Action Programme event, please contact us today!  You can also take action by filling up our volunteer form, which provides specific information on volunteer opportunities, here or joining ONE (SINGAPORE) as a member.

If you would like to know when the next Member/Volunteer Action Programme outing will be happening, please follow us on social media where you will get the most up-to-date information on ONE (SINGAPORE) events.

To view more photos, check out this album on Facebook.

This article was written by Katie Powell Rachid.