Singapore, June 29, 2020: While most of Singapore remained at home during the pandemic lockdown period, basketball player Ng Han Bin frequently stepped out – for a good cause.
About once a week he went door to door at blocks of rental flats, carrying bags full of packet lunches and delivering them to vulnerable households.
“Kids from disadvantaged backgrounds often feel discouraged. I hope to change that mentality by being a friend with whom they can share their joys and struggles,” he said.
Ng, 31, has been one of many athletes who have used their sporting influence to play a larger role in helping the underprivileged.
In March, national golfer Jen Goh co-founded HopeFull, a ground-up initiative which provides needy families with home-based activities. The idea came when the 24-year-old golfer realised that children from low-income households struggled with boredom as they lacked the resources to keep themselves occupied. Her Project Hope provides them with board games, second-hand books, activity sheets and even personal notes of encouragement from athletes.
“This period has given me the time to sit down and carry out this project. Athletes don’t always have the time to do that because we’re constantly on the move,” said Goh, whose team have distributed over 500 boxes of items since May.
HopeFull is still going strong. Through social service organisations it is looking to distribute 450 more kits in July and expand its reach by bringing educational materials online.
Although the initiative has already helped hundreds of children, Goh believes more can still be done. “This crisis has shown us where the cracks in society are,” she said. “By thinking a little deeper and getting a little more creative one will realise there are so many ways in which athletes can give back to the community.”