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We are architects of experiences that bring about social transformation. Alvin Yong is the Chief Experiential Architect who scopes, designs, plans and directs all our projects. He follows a 3-part process: (1) In-Flow (gaining an insight of the actual situation through observation and experience on the ground); (2) Through-Flow (allowing inspiration to dawn through silence); and (3) Out-Flow (manifestation of ideas through action).

Alvin Yong

"He is a visionary who can understand the situation at hand and work out a strategy not at superficial level but will solve the problem from grass root."
- Brij Chawla, Director of Tribal School Project, Jharkhand, India

"Alvin has a talent to bring out the best in you. He truly lives the knowledge and being in his presence empowers you."
- Monika Fauth, Founder of Hands Up For Kids, Lamu, Kenya

Alvin Yong Yia Chil

Alvin's experiences...

2011

Hands Up For Kids
Lamu, Kenya

Hands up For KidsIn Nov 2011, Alvin and his family went to Lamu to support the Hands Up For Kids project founded by Monika Fauth. Alvin helped Monika to fine-tune the vision and strategy of the project. He designed numerous islandwide school programmes and launched a few social enterprise initiatives aimed at empowering children and youth to become changemakers for a better world. He also sponsored 2 children from Children's Garden Home from Nairobi to come to Lamu to support Hands Up For Kids and led a dance performance with local kids at the Lamu Cultural Festival on 26 Nov 2011. The exchange was invaluable in promoting a cross-cultural exchange between the children of Nairobi and Lamu, and inspired the Lamu kids to dare to dream. For more details, visit Colours Of Life www.coloursoflife.info/seva2011/seva2011_handsupforkids.shtml

 

Children's Garden Home & School (CGHS)
Nairobi, Kenya

Children's Garden Home in Nairobi, KenyaIn Aug-Nov 2011, Alvin and his family lived with children rescued from the street in Children's Garden Home which is situated next to the Kawangware slum in Nairobi, Kenya. He created numerous social enterprising initiatives (chicken and dairy farms, greenhouse tomatoes, Posho mill service, bead wear, face mask carving, etc) to generate income sources for this non-profit organization. All the initiatives involve the children so as to exposure them from young to social entrepreneurship, planning and organizational skills. He parked all income generation self-help projects under a new social enterprise brand called Little Fingy's. He designed the CGHS and the Little Fingy's websites. Here, Alvin met many selfless individuals who were from street child background but are now leading highly inspiring and impactful projects in aid of destitute children. An insight dawns that the disadvantaged, if elevated, will be a tremendous force to do more good. That's the way forward! For more details, visit Colours Of Life www.coloursoflife.info/seva2011/seva2011_childrensgardenhome.shtml

 

Tribal School Project (TSP)
Jharkhand, India

Tribal School Project (Sri Sri Vidya Mandir)In Apr-May 2011, Alvin supported Tribal School Project, which builds schools in remote tribal villages and provides free education to tribal children in the poverty-stricken state of Jharkhand in India. Alvin launched an Art Competition on his 4th day there. He promoted the children's arts on Facebook and invited the world to view and vote for the tribal children's drawings. With awareness came donation of over S$12,000 to fund the setting up of libraries for every tribal school, equipping every child with a dictionary and fund-a-child-a-year adoption. Alvin also designed a digital contest to coach the kids experientially on digital photography, photo editing and PowerPoint presentation. He also launched a Befriender scheme for the world to befriend the tribal kids, and set up 2 solar powered IT classrooms. Alvin designed a new website and brochure to attract donation and volunteers, launched a new FaceBook Page, and wrote a movie script for the production of a TSP movie. For more details, visit Colours Of Life www.coloursoflife.info/seva2011/seva2011_tribalschool.shtml

 

Divine Karnataka Project (DKP)
Karnataka, India

Divine Karnataka ProjectIn Mar-Apr 2011, Alvin did seva (defined as selfless service) with Divine Karnataka Project, which is a social transformation project to uplift the slum and rural communities across the state of Karnataka in India. Alvin and his family visited many city slums, rural villages and farming communities, interviewed volunteers and beneficiaries, photographed the essence of the activities. He helped DKP to draw up a corporate fun raising strategy, create marketing collaterals and presentation slides, write out appeal letters, map out a Donor Relation Process, and advise them on how to enhance their website architecture. It was an eye-, mind- and heart-opening experience for the whole family, and an intensively productive one-month seva. For more details, please visit Colours Of Life www.coloursoflife.info/seva2011/seva2011_dkp.shtml

 

2010

Clay Harmony
- a CSR Project with Intellectual Disabled Children from the APSN Katong School, Singapore

Clay HarmonyAlvin helped Health Sciences Authority (Singapore) to design and run a high impact Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) project in which 40 staff worked with 40 intellectually challenged children from APSN Katong School to co-create a clay tile artpiece (1m x 1m), over 3 sessions. The artpiece was eventually mounted proudly on the school wall at the entrance, and inaugurated by HSA's CEO in Feb 2010. The relation developed thus far has paved the way for HSA to explore other areas of support for APSN Katong School. This is what Alvin desires always, to facilitate the flowering of friendship between the corporate and non-profit, thus allowing sustainability to take root. He works himself out of the job.

 

TigerlandRiceFarm
Chiang Rai, Thailand

Tigerland Rice FarmIn 2007, Alvin and his family landed in Chiang Rai accidentally (see full story) and got to know a kind Thai rice farming family. They returned there in 2008 during the rice planting and harvesting seasons to experience the life of rice farmers. From there, Alvin created an eco-vacation programme with the Thai family and launched TigerlandRiceFarm.com in 2010. This eco-programme with cultural exchange element is promoted by the People's Association. Through this venture, Alvin hopes to promote better eco-awareness, appreciation of the farmers' lifestyle and culture and eco-consciousness amongst urban families in Singapore and around the world. It'll also create a new source of income for the Thai farming family.

 

2009

Clay IN-SIGHT Project
- an arts initiative for the Visually Impaired, Singapore

Clay IN-SIGHTBorn out of an experiment to help the Visually Impaired learn pottery, Alvin attracted a group of volunteers of mixed nationality and developed Clay IN-SIGHT into a weekly volunteer-led and -run workshop. Alvin also organized clay exhibitions in Vivocity and Millenia Walk to promote the Visually Impaired Potters' (VIP) artwork, with an intention to develop Clay IN-SIGHT into a social business for the VIPs to work towards self-reliance. However, SAVH was not ready for such an enterprising development and it took over the project under its own wing in Nov 2010. This project, however, gave Alvin deeper insights into the true roles of a charity, alignment with organization's decision-makers, and the challenges in developing effective self-reliance programmes. Full story of Clay IN-SIGHT is at Clay-Street.com.

 

2004

essentiallyMERIDIAN
Singapore, Malaysia

essentiallyMERIDIANAfter acquiring the knowledge and skills from a team of professors from Taiwan in meridian acupressure therapy, Alvin founded essentiallyMERIDIAN with some friends and designed a series of Meridian 101 workshop to promote meridian acupressure therapy with herbal oil application. essentiallyMERIDIAN was invited as a partner by People's Association to offer courses in Community Clubs nationwide. With his prior experience in SNCS, Alvin designed advanced courses to train and produce trainers so as to create a condition for self-sustainable growth in the self-healing movement and essentiallyMERIDIAN business.

 

2003

Clay-Street.com
Singapore

Clay-Street.comAlvin started indulging in the art of pottery in 2001 and launched a hobby website to help local pottery enthusiasts showcase their arts to the world. Started as merely a virtual art gallery for a few local potters, Clay-Street started to attract enquiries from the public. Alvin designs innovative clay programmes to be run by his teacher, Mr Chew Seow Phuang. Alvin also experimented with clay team bonding programmes which turned out to be highly popular. In 2010, Alvin invited Mr Chew and Ms Theingi Soe to be partners to this clay venture, and they opened a pottery studio in Commonwealth Drive, Singapore. Thus, Clay-Street evolved from a mere online presence into a company - Clay-Street.com Pte Ltd.

 

1999

A-Day-in-a-Wheelchair Project
Singapore

A-Day-in-a-WheelchairIt was a timely opportunity that Alvin seized to design and launch a national education initiative to enhance awareness of wheelchair INaccessibility in Singapore. This was his first nationwide large-scale project, and one that he single-mindedly turned into reality. He pooled together a team of friends, campaigned for funds, miraculously assembled 200 wheelchairs, promoted to the media and invited participants from Housing Board, Urban Development Authority, Land Transport Authority, Mass Rapid Transit, Singapore Institute of Architects, corporate chiefs and even an Ambassador. He got them to kinda live a day's activities in a wheelchair - take a bus, take lunch at food centre, visit the library, draw cash from ATM, etc - to experientially appreciate the challenges of wheelchair-bound people, and then identify ways to bring about improvement from their respective professions. This project honed and tested Alvin's ability to plan, lead and mobilize resources. See website for more info.

 

1996

Singapore National Climbing Standards (SNCS)
(Singapore Mountaineering Federation)

SNCSAlvin was elected as the Vice-President of the Singapore Mountaineering Federation (SMF) in 1996. Recognizing the need for a set of national standards to safeguard and develop the sport of rock climbing in Singapore, he formed a committee and initiated Project TOP OUT. In 1997, he launched the Singapore National Climbing Standards (SNCS) and the Climbing Instructor Certification System, which were endorsed by the Singapore Sports Council and supported by the Ministry of Education, the Singapore Armed Forces and the Outward Bound School. The SNCS has since been adopted by the SE Asia Climbing Federation as the climbing standards for the region. As the SNCS was in version 1.0 and subject to revision, Alvin decided it was not wise to launch it in print. Instead, he forced himself to learn html from scratch and got the SNCS to be published onto the web for public consumption. This is Alvin's start in web creation and communication.

 

1995

Stone Edge Experiential
Singapore

Stone Edge ExperientialAlvin founded Stone Edge to design and build rock climbing walls in Singapore. In 1994 when he was in the UK on postgraduate studies, he approached UK manufacturers of climbing walls and gear and secured agency rights from 6 principals. This was to be Alvin's first entrepreneurial start-up, together with Jin. They constructed about half a dozen climbing walls in Singapore. With his scouting and adventure background, he also designs and runs team building programs for organizations encompassing outdoor and nature appreciation elements, and later with pottery arts appreciation and currently with an orientation towards incorporating elements of social and eco-awareness. It is in Alvin's nature to teach and share, and he has the creativity and innovativeness to design experiences that are highly impactful. Coupled with his multi-talents, multi-interests and his risk appetite, Alvin's buffet of offerings is always refreshing, exciting and ever colourful.

 

1990 & 1994

Singapore Adventurers' Club (SAC)
Singapore

SACAlvin met his wife, Jin, at a Singapore Adventurers' Club trekking trip to the Endau Rompin in Malaysia. They are both adventurers and outdoor lovers, with keen interest in rock climbing, trekking, camping, swimming, jogging, biking, canoeing, skiing, campervaning and travelling. In SAC, Alvin volunteered his service to lead expeditions, manage the rock climbing group and run many public charity projects. The exposure allowed him plenty of opportunities to hone his organizational ability and leadership skills. He also served as the Publication & Publicity Chairman, and later led the creation of the 30th anniversary magazine. It was here that he learnt from scratch how to design, edit and create a magazine using PageMaker and edit photos using CorelDraw. In 1994, they got married and spent a year in the UK while Alvin read his MSc in Defence Technology from Cranfield University. That was the year they both travelled in West Africa (Gambia, Senegal and Mali) where he was intrigued by the interplay of poverty vs simplicity vs contentment in life.

 

1989

Alvin graduated from the University of London with BSc 1st class combined honours in Physics and Computer Science under an Singapore Armed Forces Oversea Merit Scholarship. This was the year when he travelled solo to Morocco in North Africa and Kenya in East Africa, where he developed a deep sense of interest and curiosity in tribal cultures, wildlife, safari and Mother Nature. Thanks forever, the SAF.

 

1984

Alvin was one of 30 students who participated in the National Junior College's 1st Himalayan Expedition to Nepal, conceived and led by Ms Elizabeth Poey. This was a life-defining expedition that exposed and nurtured Alvin's love for the mountains and the great outdoor. Thanks forever to my beloved teacher, Ms Elizabeth Poey.

 

 

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