Journey Wall was rolled out by the Singapore National Co-operative Federation (SNCF) in 2015. Find out more from our interview with Esther from the Campus & Youth Team!
Wei Ling: Hi Esther, thank you for agreeing to this interview on Journey Wall! Could you let us know what is Journey Wall about?
Esther: Journey Wall aims to educate the public and spread awareness about co-operatives which are formed to help citizens with diverse needs. For members of the co-operative family, Journey Wall serves as a timely reminder of the co-operative’ meaningful existence in serving community needs. Our target audience is the public, hence Journey Wall has not only been to schools, but also to the sites of our affiliates (such as SASCO Anniversary Dinner) and into heartlands (such as Ang Mo Kio Hub on 2, 3 July).
This island wide rover exhibition consists of 4 panels on the history of Co-operatives in Singapore, a structure that spells C-O-O-P in bright conspicuous colours and an interactive “Do you know?” turning panel.
Wei Ling: Were you part of the team who pioneered this project?
Esther: I was one of the members who pioneered the outreach of this project to the secondary schools and JCs. However, the colleague who pioneered the Journey Wall was from the Marketing Team.
Wei Ling: Any challenges you faced along the way? How did you and your team overcome them?
Esther: Journey Wall Exhibition was originally supposed to be displayed at Co-opalicious (an event to celebrate SG50) on 29 March 2015 but the event coincided with the passing away of our founding Prime Minister, Mr. Lee Kuan Yew. Consequently, Co-opalicious was cancelled. In order to not let the customised panels go to waste, we decided to use it as a medium for outreach. Luckily quite a good number of schools was willing to display the exhibition and Journey Wall kickstarted in May 2015.
Other challenges include the lack of awareness and manpower. The first few schools who joined us on Journey Wall were those who have partnered the Campus & Youth team previously. Not many schools had heard about SNCF, hence we had to put in more effort to inform schools of the role SNCF plays before schools would endorse the exhibition. As we are a small team of 4, we could only allocate one day of engagement for each school. This limits the extent of our outreach as well.
Wei Ling: Seems like it was a tough journey… In the end, how many schools and organisations did you reach out to in the first year (2015)?
Esther: We managed to secure 21 schools in the financial year of 2015 (April 2015 – March 2016). There was a peak period when the Wall was displayed weekly from 12 May to 31 August 2015. July and August are typically popular months for exhibition in schools; we had to turn down requests from some schools due to the high demand. Our highest outreach of students was at Jurongville Secondary School. This was made possible by Mr. Philip Yeo, the Head Of Department (HOD) of Character & Citizenship Education (CCE), who supported the co-operative movement. He arranged 850 students to participate in the Journey Wall exhibition during one of his CCE classes. Prior to the exhibition, Mr. Yeo also gave SNCF an opportunity to share about co-operative with the students through an assembly talk.
Wei Ling: I’m sure you have made many memories of the Journey Wall. What was your most enjoyable moment?
Esther: I think it is when the students learn something from the exhibition and apply them to the interactive quizzes we have on-site, instead of just reading the information without applying it. I think the African proverb “it takes a village to raise a child” is very apt in describing the role played by both SNCF and the schools whom we partnered; we hope to raise awareness of co-operatives which have a heavy emphasis on social missions. At least now the students know that NTUC FairPrice is a co-operative which moderates the cost of living in Singapore, instead of merely viewing it as any other supermarket business on the market.
As a member of the Campus & Youth Team, Esther is in charge of outreach to secondary schools and junior colleges. She likes to jog, see sunsets and loves food! But more than that, she has the passion for youth work! An interesting fact about Esther is that she has 2 fewer teeth at the lower deck of her teeth, hence she will not suffer from any wisdom tooth issue.