In 2017, Jay Ng decided to give up his well-paying investment job to take up a scholarship to pursue a master’s degree in the UK. The last thing he had expected was to find himself on a hospital bed in the UK for two months to treat an infection. He also didn’t imagine that it would worsen, and he would end up having to undergo four surgeries and another eight months recovering in Singapore.
This traumatic experience was a turning point for Jay to reflect on his life.
He eventually recovered and started a fintech business in 2018. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, he saw his friends lose their jobs. That, together with his new world view of seeking positive impact for society and his faith’s calling to help, culminated in his decision to quit his business to set up a social enterprise named ‘WeShine’. Through job matching using A.I., WeShine seeks to improve the livelihoods of people.
During this period, he was also roped into the Alliance for Action for Lower Wage Workers, and Makan&Shine was a project that came out from that.
Makan&Shine is a befriending programme that reaches out to lower-wage workers over meals and casual conversations. The hosts are volunteers who work in various industries, and over these meals, they learn about the lives and needs of their new-found friends and provide basic career advice and support. For instance, encouraging someone to apply for a job, or showing them how to re-apply for a work-related license
On top of running the programme, Jay looks after the interviewing and training of the hosts. He is currently working with volunteers to develop training material that would be helpful for the hosts.
The driving force behind this initiative is Jay’s hope that every individual can have a good job – as this equips them with the freedom to make better choices for housing, food, education, and healthcare, which lays a foundation for change across generations.