200 OCBC staff volunteer to befriend & journey with 100 low-income households in year-long programme

Over the next 12 months, 200 staff volunteers will contribute 10,000 hours to support these families.

Winnie Li | May 24, 2023, 04:31 PM

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The Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC) has launched a new social uplift programme which will assign 200 staff employees to support 100 lower-income families with children dwelling in rental flats.

Introduced in partnership with the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF), the programme, titled "Families100 Programme by OCBC," is the first Community Link (ComLink) long-term support initiative from the private sector, according to a press release issued by the bank on May 22.

How it works

Under the programme, staff volunteers will be grouped into pairs and assigned to specific families who are identified by MSF from its three newest ComLink communities — Queenstown, Clementi, and Jurong East.

Once the matching is completed, the volunteer pair and the family will kickstart the 12-month programme and work towards holistic improvements instead of financial solutions alone.

For example, for breadwinners seeking career progression, volunteers can offer guidance on the courses available as well as suitable grants they can apply for to upskill themselves and improve their employability.

For children and youths, volunteers can provide them access to sports and creative-centric avenues so that they can pursue their interests and be motivated to continue with their academic journey.

Long-term befrienders to help families better

Overall, the 200 volunteers will be spending an estimated 10,000 hours across the 12-month period with the families.

This extended timeframe will allow volunteers to help the families better because they will enjoy ample time to connect with the families on a deeper level and understand their predicament before recommending, as well as implementing, suitable solutions.

The long-term arrangement will also benefit the families by helping them build momentum gradually and enpower them to take concrete steps to continue their journey towards a better future on their own after the programme ends.

22 families already engaged

According to OCBC, its 200 staff volunteers comprise individuals from a diverse range of professional backgrounds, including software engineers, data analysts, lawyers, and relationship managers.

While most of them have prior volunteering experience, all of them had undergone the required training programme conducted by MSF to ensure their engagement with the 100 families would be a meaningful one.

During their monthly home visits, they will also be accompanied by a ComLink officer.

As of now, the volunteers have already started the process of engaging 22 families.

The remaining 78 families will be progressively matched with the rest of the volunteers over the next three months.

Top image courtesy of OCBC