FASS Student Leadership Award

FSLA Feature: Francesca Phoebe Wah

When Ms Francesca Phoebe Wah (Class of 2014) founded Bringing Love to Every Single Soul (BLESS) in 2014, her conviction was a simple one: every community is its own strongest resource. As such, to create sustainable changes in Singapore, the Non-Profit Organisation dedicates itself to community capacity building, or empowering communities to help themselves, which consequently enables members to co-create solutions to address problems; increases the sustainability of volunteerism; and establishes the social networks that underlie a caring society.

BLESS currently runs three programmes for the underprivileged, with each addressing a different social need. Francesca’s achievements best exemplify the Faculty’s commitment to cultivating all-rounded students, and she was awarded with a FASS Student Leadership Award in Academic Year 2014/2015. Find out more about Francesca’s motivations behind BLESS below, and apply for the FSLA now!

 

Could you tell us about your work on BLESS and your motivations for initiating it?

Bringing Love to Every Single Soul, BLESS, is a registered Non-Profit Organisation, incorporated on 21 June 2014. With an overarching framework of “A Community for Community”, BLESS recognises the bountiful potential of social capital and actively targets the community as a focal point of intervention.  BLESS currently has three key programmes under our belt, with each one focusing on a different social need.

Small Soul Blessings

An online platform that congregates and presents needs from different social service agencies, Small Soul Blessings coordinates community giving efforts to meet the physical and emotional needs of beneficiaries.

Much like online shopping, one can simply ‘click’ and purchase items on the online gifting portal on behalf of our beneficiaries. BLESS sources for supplies in bulk for cost savings, and distributes the gifts to the children to fulfil their wishes.

Shining Star Reads

A community-based reading programme held at the void decks of rental blocks to bring learning opportunities closer to homes, Shining Star reaches out to 4 to 9 year-olds.

Reading sessions are held on a weekly basis for children from lower-income families. For each reading session, there are five components: (a) reading for understanding, (b) reading for fluency, (c) word learning, (d) completion of learning sheets and (e) mobile library.

Values-in-Practice

Values-In-Practice (VIP), is a structured student engagement programme to intentionally inculcate values in pupils, encouraging them to put values into practice. It features 10 activity booklets and 8 storybooks, which are developmentally appropriate for each primary level.

 

What was the impact of your project?

Small Soul Blessings

In our recent cycle of Small Soul Blessings, we have expanded our beneficiaries to include the elderly. Of which, we blessed the seniors from Kampung Kapoor Family Service Centre with quad sticks and walking frames. As of today, a total of $34,106.75 has been collected through our online portal and we have blessed 5,030 children. We have also done cost savings of $41, 351.73 through bulk purchase.

Shining Star Reads

Shining Star Reads started with just four volunteers, a mat and borrowed books at Clementi Ave 2. And today, with the support from South West Community Development Council, we have grown from a humble 4 volunteers to 9 reading groups.

Values-in-Practice

With support from South West Community Development Council, we piloted VIP in three schools and the response has been positive. With more teachers coming on board, we have a refreshed VIP framework to inculcate values in our children.

 

What challenges did you face while working on it and what motivated you to keep going?

Managing between work, masters and community work was one of the greatest challenges. With many things on my plate competing for attention, I have to prioritise and manage my time well. What keeps me going is the passion in doing what I am doing (teaching, gaining new learning and serving the community) and the beneficiaries whom we are serving.

 

Are there any recent developments or updates to your project?

Small Soul Blessings

Launching of new blessing cycle.

Shining Star Reads

An applied research was carried out and children were found to show significant improvements in the reading abilities.

Values-in-Practice

Hoping to reach out to more schools

 


Are there any other projects you have worked/are working on?

Launch of a new project, Be A Giver, under BLESS.

Be a Giver” is a social movement that is focused on community building via the promotion of volunteerism. Communities are involved first on the surface level through their joint participation in the activities. On a deeper level, volunteerism, the cause we aim to raise awareness for, inherently engages and connects people together.

When everyone comes together to contribute his or her time, resources and money, everyone receives much in return, be it the opportunity gained to impart skills and knowledge, or the opportunity to learn new skills and knowledge; all of which would be for a good cause.

Members of public contribute financial resources through their participation in the activities of “Be a Giver” social movement. 100% of funds raised would go towards supporting BLESS programmes to benefit the less privileged in the community. In addition to giving financially, they get to pick up new skills through participating in course for a cause; know about the community needs through participating in food for a cause and bond with others in the community through participating in run for a cause. In giving $25 to BLESS, they receive a new skill or bond with others in return. In giving to BLESS, participating companies receive publicity.

 

What has the FSLA done for you/your project? OR What are your fondest memories of NUS?

FSLA affirmed my works in the community and gave me stronger support from the NUS community. My fondest memory of NUS are cramming in YOH room to discuss ideas for BLESS or NVAC.

 

What have you been up to since you graduated?

I am still serving actively in the community, on top of being a full-time primary school teacher. I will be graduating from NUS Masters of Social Work this July! I have also been invited for several speaking engagements.

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Dean's Office, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences National University of Singapore

  • Add: The Shaw Foundation Building, Block AS7, Level 5
  • 5 Arts Link, Singapore 117570
  • Tel: +65 6516 6133
  • Email: fashelp@nus.edu.sg
  • Fax: +65 6777 0751
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