(Source: www.straitstimes.com)

SINGAPORE – For years, unemployed Zainudin Mohamed, 50, has celebrated Hari Raya Puasa in his Bukit Batok flat with grimy yellow-coloured walls.

But this year, he will welcome the festivities with a bright new coat of white paint in his three-room flat at Block 247, Bukit Batok East Avenue 5.

This is thanks to efforts by some 40 student councillors from Clementi Town Secondary School (CTSS) on Monday morning (June 19).

As part of the Youth Driven Initiative Community Service project, the students helped paint the homes of five underprivileged Muslim households – including Mr Zainudin’s – in the Bukit Batok East constituency.

They also presented some daily necessities, such as instant noodles, to the households.

The five families were identified through house visits by Madam Rahayu Mahzam, who is MP for the ward in the Jurong Group Representation Constituency (GRC).

The paint job was timed ahead of the Hari Raya Puasa festivities this Sunday.

Mr Jerome Chee, constituency manager for Bukit Batok East ward, said the People’s Association did not fund the project. Instead, the paint materials were pooled through various stakeholders, such as Everpaint Enterprises and Egrade Contractor.

The total value of the sponsored resources is about $1,500.

Mdm Rahayu, who is grassroots adviser to Jurong GRC GROs, applauded the ground-up initiative from the youth, saying it is “very meaningful” and “very much like Gotong Royong “.

“Gotong Royong” is a Malay expression to describe a community that mobilises itself to help each other.

“There is no one solution to a community problem – it is about everybody chipping in and giving their support in whatever small ways they can,” she said.

Student council president Quek Xin Hui, 14, who was painting at a unit in Block 240, said: “This is a great platform for us to understand that there are underprivileged people around us, and we should use such community work to help them.”

Mr Zainudin, who lives with his sister in the three-room flat, later told The Straits Times that he was “very happy” at the free makeover.

seanlim@sph.com.sg

More Info: www.straitstimes.com

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