City News speaks to Stars of SHINE winner Justine Lee and nominee Elijah Ted Ng.
Contributed By Reuel Eugene Tay
On July 30, three outstanding youths received the Stars of SHINE Award for their significant contributions to the community at the SHINE 2011 Festival Closing Ceremony. Justine Lee Fu De, 20, the co-founder and director of Soule Apparels emerged as one of the three winners of the award given out by the National Youth Council and the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports. The other winners were Mohd Farhan bin Mohd Firdaus and Salihin bin Sinai.
Lee impressed the judging panel with his social enterprise Soule Apparels, a social enterprise he set up in collaboration with two church friends, John Tay, 21 and Lim Jing Ying, 20.
Lee told City News, “The other nominees were really good! To even be nominated for this award was a privilege to me and I am very thankful. I first started out with the intention to help people so that I can bring glory to God, so for me to win this award while doing so is really a humbling experience for me. And to be recognized by MCYS, and to be selected as a role model for youth—I know this could not have been possible without God.”
The young social entrepreneur declares that “God is at the very center of this business. In the first place, this wasn’t just any good idea, it was a God idea given to us—and He will surely make it work. And He has. In the past three, four years, I have seen God’s providence as doors after doors are opened to us even though we lacked experience. Even government agencies and business people want to help us.”
Now a national serviceman, Lee serves as a cell group leader in City Harvest Church, and graduated last week from the School Of Theology. He hopes to inspire other youths to make a difference. “One man can only do so much, but if one man can inspire hundreds, thousands, that’s a totally different level. That’s the soldier movement. For us, we want to start the Soule-dier movement; inspiring youths to fight for a social cause, fight against poverty. We cannot have a small mindset like ‘What can I do? I’m only one person,’ but we should get people involved, get people to take up ownership, just like taking up responsibilities in a cell group. Together we can make a difference.”
At 15, Elijah Ted Ng was the youngest nominee at Stars of SHINE. Through his social enterprise Art With A HeART, Ng started Project Vision to provide children and youths in Indonesia with spectacles, so that they can see better in class. Ng has helped more than 500 families and individuals.
“I am happy to be nominated because this is an indication that I am doing something right. It will also open more doors for me to do more humanitarian works,” says the student.
Ng draws his inspiration from some established figures, like John Hope Bryant, Kong Hee and Sun Ho. “Elim Chew is more than a godmother to me; she has demonstrated to me that to love is to give, even when we get hurt or disappointed.”
Ng’s aim is to start a foundation to aid marginalized families. “I hope to be able to finance children for education, to provide healthcare in areas where living standards are a challenge, to share love where no one understands the love of God.”