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Accueil Minds; Mouvement pour les personnes déficientes intellectuelles de Singapore Minds water, a social enterprise to provide meaningful engagement and employment opportunities to beneficiaries, Singapore
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Minds; Mouvement pour les personnes déficientes intellectuelles de Singapore
  • Singapore 149310 409074 Singapore Singapour
  • +65 6473 7512
  • Lee Roy Lee Chek Tew
  • social enterprise

Minds water, a social enterprise to provide meaningful engagement and employment opportunities to beneficiaries, Singapore

  • Labour : Daily Activities
  • Asia : Singapore
  • Fiche d'expérience

Par Lee Roy Lee Chek Tew le 27/11/2017

Water is a consumable product and there is a huge demand for bottled water. We needed something that is fast moving so that there is ample demand to keep our beneficiaries engaged.

Interview of Leroy Lee


  1. Context

MINDS is one of the biggest and oldest voluntary welfare organisation in Singapore. We provide services to cater to the needs of persons with intellectual disabilities. We run four special schools, seven day activity centres, three employment development centres and a multipurpose residential home.

Our customers are located all over Singapore. (Singapore is city state. We are really tiny and it takes only 45 minutes to drive across the entire length of the country when the roads are clear)

The beneficiaries in this project are all adults with intellectual disabilities. The job was designed to cater to those who are unable to handle difficult tasks. The bulk of the job involves pasting stickers onto the caps.



  1. Purpose and objectives


  • What issue(s) did you want to tackle by implementing this project?

    Most of our beneficiaries are unable to secure jobs in the open market for various reasons even though there are ample opportunities for employment. Many of them spend a large portion of their lives in our Employment Development Centres. The majority of our beneficiaries do not have fine motor skills and are not capable of handling jobs that are too complicated. We needed manual jobs that require only a few steps to complete and do not require high cognitive skills. Most labour intensive jobs have moved out of Singapore and the remaining ones have been automated. There are very few jobs left for our beneficiaries and we had to create jobs that are suitable for them.

  • Why did you choose water supply ?

    Water is a consumable product and there is a huge demand for bottled water. We needed something that is fast moving so that there is ample demand to keep our beneficiaries engaged. The customer base for bottled water is huge. We do not need to be reliant on a major customer for jobs.

  • Is there any final objective, any main goal you want to achieve?

    We envision an inclusive society where our clients can contribute positively. The fundamental reason behind the existence of our social enterprises is to build up the self-confidence level of our beneficiaries by encouraging their participation in society. The project has direct positive impact on our beneficiaries when they see the public consuming MINDS Water – they feel proud.


  1. Project monitoring


The activity was launched in January 2016

Which steps have been followed to implement this project?

  • Identify a feasible product with market potential.

  • Do market research.

  • Look at how we can add value to the product.

  • Study how our trainees can be involved in the production.

  • Source for suitable supplier.

  • Commence Sales and Marketing.

  • Commence Production

  • Manage logistics

Who are your clients? What are the tasks of disabled people?

Mainly government agencies and corporate customers.

The job of our beneficiaries is to paste coloured stickers on top of the caps. The stickers serve the purpose of differentiating individual bottles so that users don’t get them mixed up especially in meetings and conferences and let precious water go to waste. This simple task has allowed our beneficiaries to add value to otherwise identical bottled water. 


  1. Project resources


People and labour: How many valid people are needed to work minds water? What are their specialities?

2 Training Officers to help with the training/production and co-ordinate on delivery.

1 Clerk to manage sales orders

1 Executive to manage new customers

1 Driver for delivery 

Facilities: What kind of infrastructure and material do you need?

Storage space for water

Room and tables for production


Pallet jacks and trolleys

Funding: Who funded the budget? Have you benefited from any kind of support or financial subsidiaries?

Staff (able-bodied persons) and infrastructure cost is funded by the Ministry. Other than that the project is self-funding.


  1. Evaluation


Have you reached your goals?

We have reached a few milestones and we are on the way to achieving our goals. Our beneficiaries are able to recognise their work and they feel excited when they see their products in the market. MINDS Water also serves as a tool that provide valuable public education on the work that our beneficiaries do. However, this is only the beginning as we have a lot more ground to cover in order to impact more beneficiaries.


According to you and to the beneficiaries (i.e. persons with intellectual disabilities you supported through this project), what are the mains satisfactions which arise from the enterprise Minds water?

Having meaningful work engagement for our trainees and the positive impact it has generated. It is also very encouraging when we see the public holding onto our bottles and drinking from it.

In your opinion, what changes still need to be made/are desirable?

We need to grow the market in order to benefit more beneficiaries.

What difficulties have you been confronted with? What are the limits of the actions undertaken in this project?

The biggest challenge we have is managing the logistics component of the business. As an organisation that is not equipped with the right resources to manage a business, we are often struggling to manage sales delivery. Moreover, we do not have the critical mass to engage a third party logistics company and yet we have to ensure that we fulfil our deliveries in order for our customers to continue to have faith in our products.


What lessons have you learned?

There are many companies and organisations that are willing to support our cause. This project gives them a good reason to buy from us as they are purchasing something that they need at market price and at the same time, they are helping with job creation for persons with special needs.


In order to meet our objective of job creation, we need products that are fast moving and can cater to the needs of the masses in order to fulfil our primary objective of creating meaningful jobs for our trainees. There is no use having a product with very high profit margin but if we can only sell one product a year, it doesn’t meet our primary goal of creating sustainable jobs that impact our beneficiaries. 

Is your action repeatable? If the answer is yes, under which conditions?

Yes, the product has to be market oriented and at the same time, the job has to be simple enough for persons with moderate intellectual disabilities to handle. 







Langue d'origine : Anglais
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