Paying it forward

As a student, Zulayqha Zulkifli received education support. Now she pays it forward by helping disadvantaged families.

When Zulayqha Zulkifli was in Secondary 4, she and her three siblings were homeless and slept at void decks for a period of time.

Her parents went through a messy divorce and had sold their marital flat. Things took a turn for the worse when her father lost his job as a technician. Even though he found another job as a cleaner, money remained tight.

Besides taking on part-time jobs, my siblings and I would gather cardboard boxes and scrap metal to supplement our father’s pay.

Thankfully, her family was granted interim housing by HDB, and they secured a rental flat through the Public Rental Scheme.

The housing subsidies helped, because with a roof over our heads, we had the stability to focus on our studies.

Growing up through such adversity only made Zulayqha and her siblings even more determined to turn their circumstances around.

With hard work and perseverance, Zulayqha received several scholarships when she was at ITE and later, in Nanyang Polytechnic. She went on to pursue a social work degree at the Singapore University of Social Sciences, and is currently working as a social work associate.

Now that Zulayqha and her family are in a better place, she wants to help others who are in need. Together with her siblings, Zulayqha started Project Hills – a ground-up initiative that helps residents from rental housing estates. They distribute groceries and clean the homes of those with mobility issues.

Reflecting on her growing years, Zulayqha knows the importance of lending a helping hand. She’s heartened to see stronger support available for children from lower-income families. For example, KidSTART, which supports lower-income families to care for their infants and toddlers in their developmental years. There are also UPLIFT initiatives, which help students from disadvantaged families achieve their full potential in school.

And Zulayqha is not alone in her mission to help the vulnerable in society.

Project Hills has a steady pool of 140 volunteers from all walks of life, all united in our belief to be a driving force to pay it forward!

Rising Above Together - Ng Mun Hoe
Starting anew at 50