Uplifting students: From playing tchoukball to going on patrols

Thanks to the encouragement from her school and community, 17-year-old Hafiza developed a newfound confidence to take on life’s challenges.

Growing up, Hafiza Alyana Binte Muhammad Shoffian spent many hours alone at home in a rental flat while her mother worked at a fast-food chain to support the family. As the only child, without anyone to guide her, Hafiza often felt lost.

If I have nowhere to hang out, I’ll go home. But it gets lonely because there’s no one around.

Things got better for Hafiza when she entered Outram Secondary School. The school worked with an external partner to conduct fun after-school activities for students such as learning how to play tchoukball. These activities are part of the school’s efforts to build students’ socio-emotional competencies through sports and games and supported under the UPLIFT initiative.

When my classmates and I play together, we have fun and it’s a way for us to bond together! I also learn about teamwork, leadership, and how to reach out to people.

Hafiza was also an active member of her school’s Youth Community Outreach Patrol (COP). This programme is a collaboration between the school and SHINE Children and Youth Services to develop youth crime prevention leaders and reduce juvenile delinquency.

Hafiza had the opportunity to tag along with police officers on their patrols around the neighbourhood and help out at crime prevention campaign roadshows. She is grateful for these experiences as she forged many friendships with people who encouraged her to step out of her comfort zone.

At one of the overnight [Youth COP] camps, we had a dance challenge. Each group had to send a representative to participate. Initially my group didn’t really have the courage to go forward, but we told ourselves, ‘Let’s just go, let’s just have fun!’ I stepped up to the challenge, and we actually won!

Besides the support from friends and teachers in school, Hafiza also received help to defray some of her school expenses through the MOE Financial Assistance Scheme. A social worker also keeps in contact with her mother to help with any issues the family faces.

Through this many-helping-hands approach and her active involvement, Hafiza became more engaged in her learning and her attendance improved. She developed resilience, positive identity, self-worth, as well as connection and commitment to the school, family and community. Hafiza received the Edusave Scholarship Award for her academic progress in Secondary 4 and did well in the GCE N-Levels.

Today, 17-year-old Hafiza is pursuing a Nitec in Business Services at the Institute of Technical Education. She enjoys dancing to K-pop music in her free time and intends to audition for the school’s dance group


Photo & article by: Plus Collaboratives

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