by Marilyn Peh on

A family living at Woodlands Drive 50 lost their home overnight when a fire broke out in the living room of their sixth-floor unit on the evening of 22 September.

Thanks to the swift response of the SCDF, no one was injured in the fire. A post by Zul Monsor, who lives in the same block, applauded the firefighters whose determination to save lives went as far as to rescue the family’s four pet cats that were still trapped inside the house.

Two of the cats came out unresponsive, so the firefighters performed CPR on them. While both cats did not eventually survive, Zul commended the SCDF team for their “compassion, responsibility and honour” and lauded their heroism.

Now, residents at the estate are banding together in support of their neighbours. Counting on the power of social media, they are spreading word of a crowdfunding initiative that hopes to raise some funds to help their neighbours tide over this difficult time.

The fundraising is being coordinated with the affected family’s blessings. And to avoid doubt over the campaign’s authenticity, well-wishers can transfer their donations to the family’s own bank accounts, or drop off cash into a tin left outside the flat.

NTU student runs his own school to teach English to migrant workers

It started with informal English lessons he would give to four or five workers at a park in Lakeside, that swelled to more than a hundred interested students when word of his initiative began to spread.

Now, 23-year-old Singaporean Sazzad Hossain is the head of SDI Academy, a school founded in 2013 that provides English lessons to Bangladeshi migrant workers in Singapore.

His family had relocated from Bangladesh to Singapore when he was just 11, so Hossain could empathise with the workers’ struggles in communicating with others here. Speaking to On The Red Dot, a Channel NewsAsia programme, the NTU freshman said: “Because I went through a similar journey, I can tell what are the very specific problems that they might encounter while trying to learn.”

Despite some opposition from his family who worry that his social enterprise work will affect his studies, Hossain is on his way to realising his dream of graduating 10,000 workers from his ‘Doctor English’ programme by next year.

He said: “I think my age is the best time to start something – focus on social impact, rather than thinking about how much salary I’m getting.”

More than just teaching a language, Hossain hopes his work will encourage Singaporeans to challenge negative stereotypes about migrant workers, and build friendships between two communities that would make for a more inclusive Singapore.

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A tuition centre with a heart for needy students

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Image Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Permission required for reproduction

Every child deserves a fair chance at education. And in academia-obsessed Singapore, a tuition centre is ensuring that eager learners are given equal opportunities to better themselves in class, regardless of their socio-economic backgrounds.

Curious Thoughts Academy, located at Waterloo Street, has a philosophy of admitting an underprivileged student for free for every three paying students. The centre opened in May this year after receiving a $40,000 grant from the Singapore Centre for Social Enterprise, and currently has around 10 paying students along with the proportionate number of beneficiaries enrolled in its classes.

Its founders, married couple Lydia Lok and Yao Shuohan, are hoping to reach 65 paying students, so that they bring more needy children into the programme. In addition to classes held at the centre, beneficiaries can attend free weekly lessons conducted by Lok and Yao at family service centres and children’s homes.

The pair first met at the National University of Singapore as students of the university’s community service club. It’s clear that their passion to serve the community still burns bright, as Lok told The Straits Times that through the centre, they hope to help children who come from difficult backgrounds by intervening at an earlier stage and helping them gain confidence in school.

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Road users come to aid of injured motorcyclist during a heavy downpour

Amid a heavy downpour on the morning of 15 September, a motorcyclist skidded and fell while riding along the PIE.

Thankfully, the injured rider managed to avoid further danger when two drivers and two motorcyclists stopped and came to his aid. In a video shared by Heath Tan on Facebook, one of the motorcyclists on the scene, the group was seen helping the man up and bringing him to the right side of the expressway.

Together, the group of good Samaritans stayed with the rider, and Tan helped to push the rider’s motorcycle to the road shoulder while another driver helped to divert traffic.

In an interview with STOMP after the incident, Tan, said he stepped forward because he was worried for the rider’s well-being: “I just wanted to find out if he was OK because I do know first-aid. I told him to take a piece of cloth to press against his wound to stop the bleeding.”

The motorcyclist appeared to escape with minor injuries, including a gash on his palm.

Incidentally, Tan is a moderator of the SG Road Vigilante Facebook group, where videos of bad driving behaviour or accidents on the road are shared in a bid to emphasise better road etiquette. Knowing that some road users may not know how to help if they see an accident, he advised: “Make sure you stop safely and when you stop to help, don’t panic. If the victim is seriously injured, do not move him as there may be spinal injuries.”