What would you be doing when you're 22 years old? Some of us might be hitting the clubs and jamming until late night. Some of us might be studying and mugging every past year papers. Mark Cheng is different. At 22, he is an avid environmentalist who is an executive director and a co-founder of the Voluntary Welfare Organisation, Avelife Foundation.
The Environmentalist-Mark Cheng
Why environmentalist? During his college years, Mark travelled to villages in developing countries such as China, Indonesia, Philippines and East Timor as part of the humanitarian projects (a.k.a. OCIP). There, he felt he has a mission-change the living conditions of disadvantaged people who had extremely low life expectancy rates because of pollution and dilapidated homes. Even in a developed country such as Singapore, elder persons can be seen living in outrageous conditions such as filthy walls and bugs infested mattresses. "More has to be done to assist these people," he remarked.
The villages of East Timor
Mark has a busy schedule every day. In the morning, Mark spoke to a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Officers from the corporates to secure a sponsorship in an upcoming initiative for the community in Queenstown. The project would be similar to ‘a dollar for a green mile’ concept. These collected funds would then be used to do more environmental projects.
In the afternoon, Mark usually visits schools and other non-profits to give pro-bono talks on encouraging youths to serve the community and to promote environmental awareness. He explained that visiting neighborhood schools and setting up booths to educate youths on environmental issues can create a platform for green innovation. He firmly believes in empowering the next generation, as such most of his personal contributions have been centric towards educating the socially disadvantaged children.
Speaking to Students
Active learning as Mark believes, is the crucial factor in securing a sustainable green Singapore. In addition, he is also able to identify potential volunteers from these schools for future initiatives. One of the projects involving students and professionals alike, is the recent cleaning and painting project for socially disadvantaged elderly in Queenstown on 20th June 2010. Through this meaningful activity, passionate individuals coming from a diverse background of talents and skill sets can create avenues for the betterment of lives of the socially disadvantaged.
Beautifying Homes @ Queenstown in June 2010
In the next few months, Mark intends to educate Green values to socially disadvantaged children through Speech & Drama. This course will be conducted by TV personalities to improve communication and confidence among young children too.
‘We will also continue to seek green solutions for Singapore’s environmental issues while not forgetting to help the disadvantaged. Preserving the environment would no doubt benefit our future generations to come.’
We wish Mark all the best to his future endeavours!