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  • Habitat for Humanity Singapore

Life through the eyes of our homeowners

“For life is made up of the moments that make it worthwhile, and the people who fill it with love.”

It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle of the work in Project HomeWorks, and we sometimes forget to see our homeowners for who they really are beyond the conditions of their homes. So, we decided to celebrate the unique life stories of the homeowners we have the privilege to work with! Here are four heartwarming stories for some cosy reading.

1. Mr Tan

We asked 82-years-old Mr Tan, whom we worked with to declutter his home last month, what had been some of the most precious memories in his life. To which he shared about how he participated in a singing competition in front of 1,200 people when he was younger and won the first prize!

He proceeded to belt some traditional mandarin tunes and we were in awe of his voice - especially those melody runs. The glint in his eyes as we applauded gave us a glimpse of his pride for his vocal talents and achievements. Mr Tan’s star potential was undeniable!

As we restored the home which he had been staying at for the last 30 years together, Mr Tan’s excitement was palpable. He shared that after the home has been restored, he is determined to get stronger, find work, and sing like he once did before.

At the end of the day, that’s what makes Project HomeWorks so meaningful: Restoring Homes AND Restoring Hope.

2. Mr Aw

A few weeks ago, we worked with our amazing #fitspo homeowner, 73-years-old Mr Aw, to restore his bedbug infested home.

As we stood at the corridor conversing in between works, he suddenly pointed towards the direction of Sentosa.

“I used to run there from here in under 2 hours!”

Five years ago, when Mr Aw’s legs were stronger, he was able to run the 16km to & from Sentosa in under 2 hours. He was also able to do push ups with one hand at least 20 times - talk about being the ultimate fitness goal!

His secret? He used to be a bodybuilder who won first place in a variety of competitions.

We asked Mr Aw to describe his life in one word, to which he replied:

“Life is simple! All you need to do is to live well and hang with your friends.”

The bedbug infestation in Mr Aw’s home started a few months ago and it constantly disrupted his sleep as he felt the bugs crawling all over him. When his house was finally fumigated by Habitat Singapore, he shared that he “had the best sleep he had in the longest time”.

3. Mr Kiong

82-year-old Mr Kiong was the loveliest to work with. When we first started scraping the badly peeling paint from his walls, he took his own scraper and tried to scrape the paint alongside us!

That little joy moment was a glimpse of how Mr Kiong approached life: with independence and the tenacity to create a life he is satisfied with.

We asked the spirited Mr Kiong about the values which mattered most to him at this point in his life. His wise words were:

1. Taking care of his health. This means sleeping and waking up early! And not forgetting the importance of eating well. Mr Kiong shared that he enjoys eating a variety of food and exploring the food markets near his home.

2. Hanging out with friends who are good influences. Mr Kiong shared the importance of having #wholesome friends who encourage you to do the right things. In this little moment of nugget wisdom, his eyes twinkled as he remarked, “I have a lot of friends, you know?” What a privilege to be speaking to Mr. Popular!

Having deep conversations with our partner homeowners is always a joy and blessing. As we work alongside them, we also learn from their deep insights and encouraging perspectives on life!

4. Mr Ho

To start off: A very happy birthday to Mr Ho! The Project HomeWorks session was coincidentally held on the day before his birthday, so we had a ball of a time celebrating.

There was also cause for joy because we were able to curb the bedbug infestation in his home! An ever-independent man, Mr Ho did not want the issue to worry his family further and was relieved to have a pest-free home again.

We asked Mr Ho about his hopes in life, and he shared that he wished for his sickness to be cleared, and for the various therapies he was undergoing to work. Mr Ho was someone who valued his freedom living alone, so the strength of a healthy body was something incredibly important to him.

It is our hope that a safe and fresh living space can be the sanctuary where he finds respite for recovery.


This series was done in collaboration with the @happyurns team, an initiative organised by the Singapore University of Technology & Design and commissioned by the Lien Foundation and the Ang Chin Moh Foundation.

The Life In A Year book is a journal with unique prompts celebrating the unique life experiences of each person. For these homeowner stories, we used interesting prompts from the book as a springboard to learn more about their life.


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