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02 December 2006

NTUC FairPrice helps needy families save money on children’s school textbooks

Getting ready for the new school year will be easier for needy families this year – thanks to the NTUC FairPrice’s Used Textbooks Project.

More than 5,000 needy students are expected to benefit from the used textbooks collection held at Downtown East and Yio Chu Kang Community Club today. The used textbooks collection is open to members of the public on 4 December.

“FairPrice started the Used Textbooks Project in the early 80’s with the primary objective to provide free second-hand textbooks for lower-income families.  The project also serves two other objectives. The re-use of old textbooks promotes environmental friendliness.  It also encourages the value of thrift among the young,” said Mr Tan Kian Chew, Group CEO, NTUC FairPrice.

Mr Tan added, “For the past 23 years, the FairPrice’s Used Textbooks Project has received very warm response from the public.  It has collected more than 1.35 million books and helped over 100,000 needy students.  Such an encouraging response has kept the project going.  There has also been positive feedback from parents who feel that this project has helped their children learn the value of thrift and do their bit to protect the environment.   It has continued to be relevant after more than two decades.

“Recently, FairPrice’s Used Textbooks Project was also hailed by the Global Compact movement as one of the best practices in Asia for promoting Global Compact principles of Human Rights and Environmental Responsibility.”

This year, more than 150 teenagers from Hwa Chong Institution, Dunman High School and Montfort Secondary School volunteered three weeks of their school holidays to sort donated books for distribution. Besides these students, FairPrice staff volunteers are also involved in this annual community project. Joseph Seah, 16, student volunteer from Hwa Chong Institution said, “This is the third time I am participating in FairPrice’s Used Textbooks Project. I am glad that I can spend my holidays in such a meaningful way and most importantly, do my part to help the needy among us.”

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About the Used Textbooks Project

NTUC FairPrice started the Used Textbooks Project in 1983, as part of its community service initiative. This evergreen project had a humble beginning, starting with a small scale of 33 FairPrice supermarkets collecting a few thousand books. Today, 75 FairPrice supermarkets island-wide serve as collection points for used textbooks donated by the public. These books are then sent to the distribution centers where student volunteers sort them according to academic levels and subjects.

Besides helping needy students, the Used Textbooks Project also helps to promote a greener Singapore through recycling and to encourage the value of thrift. Since 1983, the FairPrice Used Textbooks Project has helped more than 100,000 needy students save more than $6 million in textbook expenses.    

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