Hope blossomed today at Singapore Boys’ Hostel (SBHL), thanks to a Seeds of Hope Edible Garden donated by StarHub and supported by the Garden City Fund (GCF), National Parks Board’s (NParks) charity arm.
Under NParks’ Community in Bloom programme, StarHub donated $50,000 to help set up a lush landscaped garden, measuring 19m by 17m, within SBHL. All the SBHL boys will care for the Edible Garden, growing fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices, such as limes, chillies, starfruit, mangoes and guavas.
This year marks the fifth decade since Singapore started its greening journey; this initiative is one of many which commemorate 50 Years of Greening Singapore, a year-long showcase of community efforts that keep Singapore green and vibrant.
SBHL is gazetted as an Approved Institution under the Probation of Offenders Act for boys placed under probation by the Court. SBHL aims to provide a conducive environment to facilitate the process of rehabilitation for these youths and guide them towards becoming people who are successful in life.
The produce grown from the garden will then be consumed by the boys, brought home for their families or donated to the neighbouring Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital, an act which StarHub hopes will instil a sense of community spirit in the boys.
“Hope is a powerful inspirational force,” shared Mr Tan Tong Hai, Chief Executive Officer, StarHub. “The hope of a fresh start and the promise of fruitful rewards through perseverance and diligence can be a strong and life-changing motivation. That is the belief behind the Seeds of Hope Edible Garden, and why the StarHub Sparks Fund donated the garden to SBHL.”
Mr Tan was speaking at the Seeds of Hope Edible Garden’s opening ceremony held at the Hostel’s McNair Road premises this afternoon. The opening ceremony was officiated by Mr Tan, Mrs Pamelia Lee, Chairperson of Trybe Limited, which is the appointed Managing Agent of SBHL, and Mr Ng Cheow Kheng, Director of Horticulture and Community Gardening, NParks.
GCF, established by the National Parks Board in 2002, works with corporations, organisations and individuals to better engage members of the public through conservation efforts, research, outreach and education.
“StarHub believes in reaching out to the youth as they are the future of Singapore,” revealed Mr Tan. “We want to especially help those with fewer chances, to give them the same opportunities that their peers enjoy, so that they are better able to take charge of their lives and realise their ambitions.
“By maintaining the Seeds of Hope Edible Garden, we hope that the boys of SBHL will also grow a sense of discipline, love and patience. And even sweeter is that, at the end of the day, they can literally eat the hard-earned fruits of their labours, share them with their loved ones or do their part to give back to the community.”
“StarHub’s donation for the cultivation of a community garden within the hostel will enable the boys to enjoy the many benefits of nature and greenery through gardening,” said Mr Ng. “And as they nurture the plantings in the garden, they will come to better appreciate the value of sustaining our natural environment and being a part of our City in a Garden.”
“The boys in SBHL are merely youth who erred along the way and now just need some guidance and direction in taking responsibility for their lives, stated Mrs Lee. On behalf of the staff and boys at SBHL, we thank StarHub for their thoughtful and generous gift of such a beautiful garden.”