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29 October 2010

NTUC FairPrice ups effort to make education sustainable and accessible for students in need

- FairPrice rebrands heritage Used Textbooks Project to keep books coming

- Study grant of $700,000 for children of needy staff and FairPrice members

NTUC FairPrice (FairPrice) today gave its heritage 27-year-old "Used Textbooks Project (UTP)" a boost by rebranding it as "FairPrice Share-A-Textbook Project". This rebranding exercise reflects FairPrice's move to expand the project for deeper community engagement so that more can benefit from the project. The launch event held earlier today at FairPrice Xtra AMK Hub, was graced by NTUC Secretary-General and Minister for Prime Minister's Office, Mr Lim Swee Say. 

Mr Seah Kian Peng, CEO (Singapore), NTUC FairPrice, said, "Through our partnership with the community, we know that together, we can achieve much more. Our long-term vision is to get as many people on board in this project. Their involvement could take different ways such as donating textbooks, helping to sort and distribute the textbooks or simply spreading the message to their friends and family. It is for this reason that we are rebranding the FairPrice Used Textbooks Project as the FairPrice Share-A-Textbook Project."

The textbook project was first launched in 1983. Its objectives remain to help poor and needy students save on textbook expenses, promote recycling while reducing wastage, and encourage the value of thrift. Since the Project's launch, it has seen 1.8 million textbooks collected, helping over 137,000 needy students in Singapore. 

In 2008, FairPrice invited schools to join the project as Community Partners, where teachers and students will help to collect, sort, store and distribute the textbooks collected for this project.

This community partnership has enabled FairPrice to increase collection of textbooks by more than 100 percent in the last two years; from 100,000 textbooks in 2007 to over 200,000 textbooks in 2009. As a result, the project reached out to twice the number of needy students; from 8,000 students in 2007 to over 17,500 students last year. The project has grown since its launch in the 1980s, where an average number of about 30,000 books were collected each year and distributed to some 2,500 students only.

FairPrice Share-A-Textbook 2010

This year, FairPrice will partner four schools as Community Partners. They include Yio Chu Kang Secondary School, Changkat Changi Secondary School, Shuqun Secondary School, and Chua Chu Kang Secondary School. For the first time this year, Young PAP, Young NTUC and Hewlett-Packard Singapore will be joining FairPrice as Supporting Partners. Volunteers from these organisations will assist in publicity efforts, sorting and distributing the textbooks, as well as organising mass collections for textbooks from the community. 

A new element in this year's programme, is an effort to promote engagement between donors and recipients of the collected textbooks. To do so, FairPrice has made available "Pen-A-Note" stickers that can be found at FairPrice Xtra hypermarkets at Ang Mo Kio Hub, Hougang Point and Jurong Point. where donors can write a short message of encouragement for the recipients of the textbooks.  Beneficiaries will also be able to thank their donors via the "Walls of Thanks" at the premises of the four distribution centres. 

Similar to previous years, members of the public can donate their used textbooks at any of the 99 FairPrice stores located islandwide from now till 30 November. The books collected will be sorted out by more than 500 volunteers and FairPrice employees. 

"I would like to urge more of us, especially parents and fellow students, to step forward and lend a hand to share our textbooks with other students who will benefit from them," Mr Seah added.

Providing Access to Education through Study Grants

Beyond meeting the needs of students through textbook expenses, FairPrice will be extending study grants amounting to about S$700,000 to needy students this year. This is over 20 percent more than the amount handed out in 2009. Almost 800 beneficiaries ranging from primary school students to undergraduates will receive the study grants. These recipients are children of low income FairPrice members and FairPrice staff. 

FairPrice was recently recognised for its efforts through the Community Developer Award at the recent inaugural Singapore Compact for CSR Awards 2010. In 2006, Global Compact, a United Nations organisation which champions corporate social responsibility, also named the FairPrice Textbook Project as a Best Practice from Singapore for promoting environmental friendliness and human rights. 

Donated textbooks collected will be distributed on 5 December 2010 at the Community Partner schools.  Details of collection dates will be announced at all FairPrice stores. For more information on the project, the public can contact the project hotline at 6424 7505 or email at fptextbook@fairprice.com.sg

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