FRIENDS For Good: 5 Questions with Literacy Initiative for Equity (LIFE)

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This whole of October we at halalfoodhunt.com are putting good causes up in the forefront! $5 from every sale of every FRIENDS Cards goes to five causes. This time, we get to know Literacy Initiative for Equity (LIFE) better. They are a young organisation with a passionate cause- to support vulnerable kids through a dynamic education. We’d love to help them out a bit because we believe in this cause too!

Some of us may have been raised by tiger mums, whose kiasuness made us go to piano classes, swimming classes, tuition and many more. Some of us may have the privilege of owning a computer since young. Believe it or not, if you have experienced all this, say thanks to God because you have been given blessings that many have not. Because of this privilege that we take for granted, there is an underserved population that Hana wants to uplift. Having been around for one and a half years, let’s see what LIFE is all about.

Why did you start your organisation?

I started researching on the relationship between educational achievements, self perception and poverty because of several experiences. One of the most significant ones was the time I spent at the Reformative Training Centre (RTC) as a teacher for youth delinquents. It left a huge impact on me. The youths at RTC are really intelligent, however, they really do not believe so. Probing further, family and financial issues were a norm amongst them. I continued researching more in this and made it a topic for my research project when I was doing my masters. In 2012, I decided to further delve into this issue on a much deeper level. I went to New Zealand to further this.

I noticed the correlation between urban poverty and educational gaps, and that educational gaps between the different social classes are made worse by policies and systems such as meritocracy and standardized testing.

In 2015, I came back to Singapore to collect more data. With all this data, I thought that action is better than words, so I decided to put the data to good use. I started a social initiative, initially just focusing on giving books out to preschool children. However, as my team grew, we decided to do more, and in March 2015, the research gave birth to what we now know as Literacy Initiative For Equity or LIFE SG. I believe that every child deserves to be given whatever they need to ensure an equal and fair opportunity at achieving success regardless of their background and circumstances.

We have been blessed to have many people volunteering during the initial start up and more coming forward to help maintain.

Currently our core team consists of:

Hana Saemon, Founding President, an Educator and PhD candidate
Zafirah Haron, Co-founder, Vice-President &Secretary, who works as a trainer Rasyidah Abu, Co-founder, Treasurer, who works as a designer Aydan Aiman Lee, Assistant Treasurer, a student and owner of a pet grooming and boarding business Syaza Irfani, Assistant Secretary, an early childhood educator

What would you use the funds for?

The funds will go towards the children’s weekly lessons and excursions. As the lessons are free for all beneficiaries, we need to ensure we have sufficient funds for materials, facilities’ fees and so on.

It's great that many of us had the benefits of being sent to extra classes by our parents but not many in our community have that privilege. Literacy Initiative for Equity (LIFE) aims to support vulnerable kids through a dynamic education. Here, the LIFE volunteers organised an event where the kids had the chance to make and design their own national day maracas with different kinds and sizes of beans! They learned a variety of sounds too! . $1 from any purchase of FRIENDS card this October will go to @life_sg. Get your card now by clicking the link in our bio. $5 from every card this month goes to 5 causes. . #LIFE #literacyinitiativeforequity #salimmattar #helpchildreninneed #socialcause #FRIENDSforgood #FRIENDSwithHalalFoodHunt

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What does friendship mean to you?

Friends are the family we were not born with. They are important because they keep us sane. However, it is important not to choose the wrong one. I would like to take this opportunity to give a shout out to my best friend who has been the most supportive person I have ever known, who has never failed to be there for me when everything around me is crumbling – Azyan Suhaili Azhar. Love you babe!

What does food mean to you?

Food is a great way to get everyone to bond. The social action that comes with it is important, whether it is with family, friends, colleagues or networking. Otherwise, in my opinion, it’s just fuel for our body. But right now, I’m really hooked on Stuff’d. Haha.

What is the one thing your organisation would need more support in?

Do follow us on Instagram @life_sg, and get to know about our cause. Drop by to volunteer. Right now we really need laptops to get our kids to become more familiar with computers! Do pass us your used laptops!

What else does @life_sg do? They provide opportunities for underprivileged children who may have been denied access to privileges, such as enrichment activities, due to their circumstances. Here they are showing off their art skills! This topic was about drugs. The budding little artists created their own anti-drugs posters! If you are interested to find out more about what they do, follow them and volunteer with them! They also need monetary help to keep the programmes running. Help us to help them! $5 from every purchase of FRIENDS cards goes to these causes, and @life_sg is one of them! Get your card now from halalfoodhunt.com/friends or click the link on our bio. #LIFE #literacyinitiativeforequity #salimmattar #helpchildreninneed #socialcause #FRIENDSforgood #FRIENDSwithHalalFoodHunt #

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If you like what LIFE does, support them by getting a FRIENDS Rewards Card here! $5 from each card goes to five causes, including them in the month of October! The FRIENDS Rewards Card enables you to get discounts at more than 40 halal places in Singapore and online too.

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