Updated: Nov 30, 2020

Since the circuit breaker measures came into effect throughout Singapore, most organisations have adapted to working from home - Soap Cycling Singapore (SCSG) is no exception. Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, SCSG continues to empower youth by providing meaningful engagement and recruiting interns to work on backend tasks and projects that arose due to the pandemic. 

Despite having to stay at home, the SCSG interns are working hard behind the scenes - embarking on meaningful tasks to develop SCSG’s operations. This summer, two research teams are looking to assess the need for soap amongst the migrant worker community, as well as study the perceptions of recycled bar soap in Singapore. Janice Ng (NTU 3rd year Environmental Earth Systems Science undergraduate) is involved in creating surveys and conducting interviews with representatives from various NGOs and migrant workers. Despite having to conduct most of the research process from home, she welcomes the opportunities for insight into issues within the migrant worker community and self-development through interacting with various NGO representatives. Yeow Xin Hui (NUS 2nd year History undergraduate) shares her experience on being part of the research team at Soap Cycling:

“Not everyone in Singapore has access to soap, yet huge amounts of clean soaps are thrown away by the hotels every month.  My internship at Soap Cycling involved researching about migrant workers' access to soap, so that recycled clean soap can be better distributed to them!”

Besides engaging in research, various interns are looking into ways to improve SCSG’s collection and distribution processes and outreach efforts. From innovating new ways of packaging recycled soaps to creating educational materials for primary school children, there is much productive work to be done in SCSG.

While everyone works remotely on their projects from home, none of the interns are truly working alone. Not only do interns meet to update on project developments during fortnightly meetings, they also discuss topics related to SCSG. One such topic was managing the perceptions of using recycled soap, a concern pertinent to COVID-19. However, SCSG is not all about work and no play! Meetings are often mixed with a dose of fun team bonding activities. Although the team has never met in person, the circumstances did not stop them from getting better acquainted. Having organised one intern meeting, Victoria Tanggono (NTU 3rd year Environmental Earth Systems Science and Public Policy & Global Affairs undergraduate) reflected that learning how to run an engaging virtual meeting is definitely a valuable skill given that remote working arrangements will become more prominent in the future. The interns even connected with interns from past years and other countries, showing SCSG’s dedication to support the growth of the interns’ personal and professional networks.

As part of SCSG’s holistic internship experience, online learning is made available to all interns. SCSG recognises the importance of upskilling and has chosen to empower their interns through webinars and courses. Interns are given the opportunity to attend webinars conducted by its advisors, PwC, Transformational Business Network Asia and Netsuite to learn from industry titans. SCSG hopes that through this initiative, their interns would become more resilient and come out of this COVID-19 situation as future-ready talents. Having attended a number of webinars and courses, Riley Liew (NTU 1st year Accountancy and Business undergraduate) felt that the experience of attending such programmes helped immensely. Being able to hear from such influential people from the various industries definitely brought about new perspectives and insights. Through these programmes, SCSG interns are better equipped to understand and appreciate the importance of their work in Singapore.

All in all, SCSG is glad to be able to fulfil one of its organisation goals of youth empowerment even in the midst of such uncertain and turbulent times.