Avelife Chief On The Mark

Posted on  18/05/2011  |  Media Centre

Written by Borneo Bulletin
Wednesday, 18 May 2011 06:25

Bandar Seri Begawan – Mr. Mark Cheng is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Avelife, one of the largest socio-environment nonprofit organisations in Asia, that aims to environmentally educate the community and instigate green micro-finance in Asia. He will highlight youth advocacy for the environment at the National Environment Conference 2011 on June 8 at the Rizqun International Hotel.
Mark was recently awarded by the Junior Chamber International (JCI) with a prestigious honour award `JCI the Outstanding Young Persons of Singapore Award’ for his outstanding leadership on the environment. The past winners include Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who won the Singapore award in 1975, Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports (1985) and Member of Parliament, See Too Hoi Siang (2001).

Q: Tell us about what you do. What kinds of projects are you working on?

A: Wow! I’m holding a couple of hats ranging from business, non-profit, grassroots to politics, but they are all related to the environment. I’m focusing on five main projects this year – Avelife CREATE (Centre of Recycled Environmental Art and Training for the Eldery), Avelife KLAAP! (Kids Learning Arts And Performance), Avelife 50,000 Thimbles, Avelife Asia and Green Prints.

Q: What inspired you to establish Avelife Foundation? Tell us about the vision of your foundation.

A: I realised that Environmental Education needs to be lacking among the communities in Singapore and Asia. While everyone may know the 3Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) but they may not have the know-how of going green. For example, what to recycle? What could be reused? While working to improve Environmental Education, I discovered that environment is socially-related. For example, poor resource management contributes directly to poverty. Since then, I have strived to meet both needs and it has been viral to 3Ps (people, public, private) simply because it meets needs while protecting the environment. People I work with have been so inspired that they have even made this their personal clarion call. It is with these two in mind, that I founded Avelife.

Q: What have the success stories been so far?

A: We started only in Nov 2009, with a group of seven youths and young professionals. We have since grew to have about 7000 volunteers from all walks of life and regionally have inspired more than 200,000 youths to campaign the Avelife cause, of which numerous have gone- on to start their impactful socio-environment non-profits. We recently became one of the largest socio-environment movement in Asia.

Q: Your bio mentioned that you have done a lot of volunteering and humanitarian work around the region. What kinds of work did you do there? What drove you to be involved and what inspired you to take on such call?

A: I do a wide range of humanitarian work in Asia, ranging from medical, teaching English to building houses. However, after I realised the lack of socio-environment projects, I began involving myself in them. Some examples of humanitarian socioenvironment proj ects include teaching recycled crafts to dementia-risk elderly, setting up allocated land for mangrove plantation or natural conservation.

Q: Tell us your stance on youth as a young person yourself.

A: Age is just a number, you can indeed be the change you want to see in the world!

Q: What do you aim to achieve in the next five years?

A: Locally, where we are facing an aging population, I hope to expand CREATE into the five districts of Singapore heartlands. Regionally, I hope that Avelife can set-up chapters all over Asia, Brunei included. On my business- Green Prints, I hope to IPO it.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

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