Wu Jiezhen
Director, The Hidden Good
Corporate Sponsor I:
Viking Offshore & Marine Ltd
Corporate Sponsor II:
Rotating Offshore Systems Pte Ltd
Malay Youth Literacy Association
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Who are you? Tell us a bit more about yourself!

Hi! I’m Jiezhen. Or JZ, as some of my friends like to call me. I run a youth organisation called The Hidden Good, where I work with a bunch of really amazing people to uncover the good happening on our sunny little island!

I really like soup and sunshine – though not necessarily at the same time. One of my favorite things to do is to go exploring and take long walks to discover the hidden parts of Singapore.

What’s your story? Tell us about a life-changing incident.

In my first year of university my friends and I received a Community Service Travel Grant to go to Peru to teach English over Spring Break. We packed our bags and spent several thousand dollars on our trip, and couldn’t wait to go and “make a difference in the world.” I know, we were young and naive. We had no understanding of the local content, apart from being able to speak basic Spanish and what we had read on travel guides online. Was teaching English in a mountain school for 10 days really going to have a long-term impact on these kids when they had random groups of volunteers coming in and out of their lives all the time? Our intentions were noble, but the implementation of our project was severely lacking. The money we spent on traveling to Peru could have been put to training local teachers or providing better healthcare – but we had failed to consult with the community on what they really needed.

That trip was a huge wake-up call for mel. I realized that change needs to happen from the ground-up. We can’t decide what’s best for others without engaging with the community – or we’ll just be perpetuating cycles of unequal power and privilege. I continue to carry this lesson with me, as I work to effect change in the work that I do with The Hidden Good.

Why 50for50 and why now?

I love the message that 50for50 sends that change just needs to start with one person, and the effect will multiply – not just in terms of financial support, but more so in terms of the collective action that is created when a group of people come together to do something great.

One of the mantras I try to live by is, “If not now, then when?” I think we spend too much time thinking of all the things we want to do and not enough time doing them. Life is short, and I’d like to spend it having a positive impact on the people around me.

What gets you up in the morning?

The sunshine shining through my windows! Wanting to make a difference and knowing that today is a new day and that the possibilities out there are endless.

Why this cause out of so many causes?

I believe that literacy is key in opening doors to opportunity, no matter what industry or career path one might embark on. It enables us to communicate better, articulate our thoughts more clearly, and to connect with others on a deeper level. I also believe in the importance of reaching out the the underserved populations in Singapore – working with them in solidarity to create more opportunities for our youth and our future generations.

Any experiences with charity or non-profit work before?

I started volunteering when I was still in primary school – first at a kindergarten, then at children’s camps during the school holidays, then at a shelter for at-risk teenage girls in Singapore. I then went on to work for a few nonprofits in Cambodia, Indonesia, and the United States.

What kind of change are you looking to bring about as a changemaker?

I’m hoping to raise awareness for 4PM (pronounced ‘Empat PM’) and the great work that they do, but also to get people to take action to see the change that they want to see in the world.

Even after the 50for50 campaign has ended, I would like to continue working with 4PM on behalf of The Hidden Good – to further engage and develop youth to achieve their fullest potential by having a positive impact on the community around them.

What is your big idea on how to raise funds for 50for50?

I’m still working on this, but it’ll definitely be something fun! (: