Hear from our Beneficiaries


Norlela Mohd Rohani


Norlela Mohd Rohani, aged 48, is one of our needy mid age residents who have been regularly working  in our handicraft workshop for the past two years. She was a member of a family support group at a nearby Centre and helps in educating other participants in family bonding. This improve communication and bonding with her family and provide her with an awareness of what is happening in the society.

With a family of five, it was a struggle to live on her husband’s monthly pay of $700 as an odd-job worker.  The  couple  of hundred dollars extra money she earns from her part-time work at the Chinatown Social Enterprise handicraft workshop has helped defray mounting household expenses.

She joined Chinatown Social Enterprise without any needle and sewing skills. She has picked up needle and sewing techniques from our workshop trainer and other beneficiaries as well as making various types of handicrafts.

How does she feel working here? “I learnt finer pointers from the external trainer and benefit from the given direct supervision. I am also able to seek guidance from more experienced sewers in the workshop. Now, I can make different types of handicrafts. I feel empowered that I can do something useful and currently working on improving on my sewing skills ” said Madam Norlela, “After I make the items, I go home and show them to my children and have been requested to share my skills with other participants in the nearby Centre.”


Tan Mia Kuia


Tan Mia Kuia, aged 73 is one of our needy elderly residents who have been working in our handicraft workshop for close to three years. “I stay alone and feel very lonely. On weekdays, I will go down to the area activity centre everyday until it closes to engage in their activities to reduce my boredom. After that I will go home and continue watching television until bedtime.  It’s the same routine every day.”

Before joining our organization, her source of income comes from her job as an office cleaner and with another social enterprise which had ceased. With age catching up and with aches in her joints, she was unable to continue working as an office cleaner. Mia Kuia struggled to make ends meet and to pay for her medical expenses.

With our progressive wage system, she has enjoyed an upward adjustment of wages. Mia Kuia is given the opportunity to embark on different tasks and responsibilities, from producing handicrafts in the workshop to showcasing her handicrafts making skills when there is an event.  In 2013, Chinatown Social Enterprise invested in more sewing machines and she is given new opportunity to sew different products. By expanding her skills and her responsibilities, Mia Kuia will get to enjoy an upward adjustment of wages after a period of time.

How does she feel about working here? “I feel the working environment is casual and good.  I am given the opportunity to take on more job responsibilities over time. My work performance is recognized by Chinatown Social Enterprise with its progressive wage system.  This provides me with a sense of fulfillment and purpose in my life. The additional benefits provided, e.g. Chinese New Year Hong Baos helps in my household expenses. Coming here to work three times a week allows me to be less lonely, and I am very happy to be able to work with my friends.”


Toh Kuen Tuck


The smile on 78 year old Mdm Toh Kuen Tuck’s face belies deteriorating health plagued with aging knee problem.

She lives alone and used to coop herself up in her one-room rental flat located at York Hill estate. The 78-year-old was jobless and could not afford to go out to shop or drink coffee with her friends. “I wanted to work so that I could buy food and pay the rent but no one wanted to hire me, even as a cleaner,” she lamented.

Two and a half years ago, Chinatown Social Enterprise accepted her as who she is, giving her the opportunity to apply her sewing skills to produce different products and flexibility to accommodate her medical visits.  In addition, she is also able to improve and fine-tuned her skills with guidance from handicraft’s trainers which the organization engages from time to time.

How does she feel working here? “I feel that the working environment is good. I am very happy to be able to work with my friends, and produce different items using the sewing machines provided in the workshop or hand stitch products. Chinatown Social Enterprise understands that I require medical visits and flexibility is given to me to do so.  I am accepted as whom I am despite my age and the enterprise provides guidance to make market relevant items and help keep my mind and body active.”