A common aspiration among those in our Family Circles is home ownership. Currently, they live in a 1 or 2 roomed flat rented from the government at a highly subsided rate but they aspire to have a place they can call their own. 2 mothers. I shall call Jean and Joan have 4 and 3 children respectively. They have come to realize that without a job where their employers contribute to their Central Provident Fund (CPF) account monthly, they are unlikely to have enough savings to purchase a flat. CPF is a mandatory social security savings scheme funded by contributions from employers and employees but those who are self-employed have a choice to contribute voluntarily. For our members who earn their keep providing casual labour, they barely have enough to get by let alone save.
So, both Jean and Joan have taken on part-time jobs. Jean is a sales assistant with a furniture company and Joan a retail assistant at a swim-wear shop. While they both show up for work at the store, they soon noticed that a fair percentage of sales were done online. Part of their workday was spent processing these online orders and this got them wondering if they too could have an online store for some supplementary income.
This week, 5 members from our Family Circles attended 2 half-day workshops on how to set up a store on the online shopping platform Shopee. The workshops were conducted by Konigle, a company that leverages artificial intelligence and machine learning to identify the products on Shopee that sell well. Without operating capital, our members will offer these products on their online store, process the order, and get paid. Our classroom was teeming with excitement when they made their “first sale” as part of their training and even more so when the trainers offered an incentive to the whoever was the first to reach $1000 in sales. Konigle will journey with our members for the next 12 months, but our members are optimistic that it won’t take a year to make their first $1000.
It is of course early days and none of us would hazard a guess how this will eventually turn out, but we are certainly rooting for our members to succeed. In any case, from what we saw, the pride of learning a new skill has already lifted spirits.
For peace, community, and endeavour,
I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by conscious endeavour. – Henry David Thoreau