Third HOPE Fair
THE THIRD AND FINAL HOPE – Helping Our People – Fair, initiated and sponsored by Trinity Annual Conference (TRAC), was held at Paya Lebar Methodist Church on Oct 17. After months of preparation with partnering churches – Ang Mo Kio MC, Toa Payoh MC and Trinity MC – we opened our doors to some 1,500 people from the community.
Many who came were non-believers and it was the first time that they had stepped into a church.
It was heartwarming to see people of different religions sitting in the sanctuary in God’s house to receive His grace and love.
Various forms of assistance were given to help them overcome the economic crisis they faced.
The Senior Minister, Mr Goh Chok Tong, was the Guest-of-Honour. Other special guests included Mr Seah Kian Peng and Mr Lim Biow Chuan, MPs for Marine Parade GRC, MPs Ms Denise Phua and Ms Joyce Teo, and other community leaders.
In his opening speech, SM Goh said that HOPE Fair was a refreshing and welcome initiative from the Christian community and that he was happy to see the Methodist Church helping all Singaporeans, regardless of race or religion.
Besides getting information on existing resources to tap on, practical and immediate help for those who are facing diﬃculties, and skills training courses, those who came also got to meet potential employers from the food and beverage industry, as well as the retail, health care, security, and manufacturing sectors.
We thank God for the opportunity to be able to offer this Hope Fair and help the people in practical and tangible ways.
Sixty-seven per cent of the visitors were above 40 years old and about half of them were unemployed. Eighteen per cent of the visitors were Malay and Indian members of the community.
About 800 people attended the various sessions and talks, and 120 others got help from the Financial and Counselling Clinic, Legal Clinic, and Resume and Career Coaching Clinic.
The workshops covered a wide range of topics, including “Tips to Manage Cashflow”, “Job Hunting Strategies and Winning Resumes”, “How To Start A Business with Little or No Capital”, “Practical Career Decisions in every season of life”, “How To Stay Motivated”, “How to use Life Insurance for Financial Protection, Savings and Investment”, and “Making Effective Financial Decisions”. There were also two workshops conducted in Mandarin for the Mandarin-speaking visitors.
A total of 27 exhibitors took part in the Fair, including 16 employers and employment agencies such as Adecco, AETOS Security, Far East Organisation, Jobstreet.com, McDonald’s Restaurants, NTUC Fairprice Co-operative, and REC Singapore.
Many employers commented that the response was encouraging and a number of them said they had suitable candidates for follow-up interviews.
Ms Charmaine Teo, a Toa Payoh resident who saw the banner put up by Toa Payoh Methodist Church, said that at first she thought the Fair was meant for Christians only. But when she realised that it was meant for all, she came and benefited from the two workshops that she attended.
She said: “The speakers are very motivational. Besides sharing with us practical tips, they also encouraged us to believe in ourselves. I’m glad I came!”
The day’s event came to a close with a special sharing session with two women entrepreneurs, Ms Jacelyn Tay and Ms Nanz Chong-Komo. Both had their fair share of ups and downs in their careers and they shared how God’s grace and love pulled them through those tough times.
The HOPE Fair was a testimony of God’s love for the people, and we pray that the seeds sown in the hearts of those who came will take root and grow.
Eugene Kwek is the Outreach Executive of Paya Lebar Methodist Church.