To those whose future looks uncertain, the hope of fresh beginnings and the promise of fruitful rewards through hard work can be a powerful thing. That is the belief behind the Seeds of Hope Edible Garden, donated by the StarHub Sparks Fund to Singapore Boys Hostel (SBHL) and supported by the Garden City Fund (GCF), National Parks Board’s (NParks) charity arm. (SBHL is an approved institution by the Ministry of Social and Family Development for boys placed under probation by the Court).
StarHub’s donation of $50,000 will allow for a lush landscaped garden to be planted within the SBHL under NParks’ Community in Bloom programme. The garden, 19 metres by 17 metres in size, will grow fruits,vegetables, as well as herbs and spices.
All SBHL boys, of whom there are usually about 40, will care for the Edible Garden. The vegetables, fruits, spices and herbs 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.
The groundbreaking ceremony, held at the Hostel’s McNair Road premises, was officiated by StarHub’s CEO Mr Neil Montefiore and his wife Rosie Montefiore, SBHL Board member Ms Corinne Davies, and Secretary of the GCF Management Committee and NParks’ Deputy CEO Dr Leong Chee Chiew.
“StarHub believes in reaching out to the youth as they are the future of Singapore,” said Mr Montefiore. “We want to give especially to those who are in less privileged circumstances the same opportunities their peers enjoy, so that they can realise their ambitions and transform their lives. Maintaining the Seeds of Hope Edible Garden will instil in the SBH boys a sense of discipline, love and patience. And at the end of the day, they can literally eat the hard-earned sweet fruits of their labour.”
“The donation StarHub has made will go a long way in helping to set up a community garden within the hostel. We believe that working in the garden will enable the boys to enjoy the benefits of nature and greenery as they cultivate the plantings in the garden.” said Dr Leong.
“Boys in here are not criminals or juvenile delinquents,” emphasised Ms Davies, expressing gratitude to StarHub. “They are merely youth who have made a mistake and now need to be guided in taking responsibility for their lives. We would like to thank StarHub for their thoughtful and generous gift to the boys here.”
The Seeds of Hope Edible Garden will be set up over the next few weeks and is slated to be opened on 28 March 2013.