1. Step-Up
  • Mrs Bala, 73
    The iron lady who overcame life’s adversities

    Married at the age of 13 with nine children and a husband who left for another family, Mrs Bala was determined not to crumble under the adversities that were thrown to her. Read more (click to expand).

    When Mrs Bala’s husband racked up debts and the family was forced to move out of their three-room flat, they moved to a rental flat. After her husband left her, Mrs Bala struggled financially as the responsibility of bringing up nine children fell on her shoulders. She eventually set up a small home business selling snacks to friends, coffee shops and bakeries as she needed to spend more time with her children. Today, Mrs Bala is still relying on her food business to earn her keep.

    A proud mother of nine children, Mrs Bala’s children have grown up to become accomplished individuals in their own fields. Mrs Bala is currently living on her own but her children and grandchildren visit her occasionally.

    Suffering from high blood pressure, diabetes and clogged arteries, Mrs Bala has a lot of worries in life but listens to music to take her mind off her worries. Her advice to the younger individuals: Be kind, worry less.

  • Mdm Mariyam Bee Bte Kanny, 78
    78 years old and still a diva

    Married with five children, Mdm Mariyam is a beautiful 78 year old who actively volunteers at the Kembangan Chai Chee SAC. As the first runner-up in the 2012 SAC Mother’s Day Beauty Contest & Celebration, Mariyam enjoys intimate make-up moments with her daughters.

    Currently living with her husband in a rental flat, Mariyam has been an active volunteer at the Kembangan Chai Chee SAC for the past decade. Mariyam also enjoys her time at the SAC for the range of activities including outdoor outings and internal contests.

    An Indian Muslim born to a Cantonese mother and Indian father, Mariyam enjoys spending time at the SAC with her inter-racial friends, with whom she converses with in dialects including Hokkien, Teochew and Mandarin.

  • Mr Ong Hock Soon, 70
    Constantly living on the edge

    As a divorcee, Mr Ong worries about his daily finances and not having enough to pay for his rental home. He has not been in contact with his wife and children since his divorce in 1999.

    An active volunteer at the Kembangan Chai Chee Senior Activity Centre (SAC) for the past five years, Mr Ong’s volunteering duties on a day to day basis include giving out breakfast and lunch to the older seniors and keeping them entertained. At 4 pm everyday, he leaves the SAC for his hawker assistant job that lasts till 11pm.

    Mr Ong is happy to volunteer at the SAC as it’s a platform for him to give back to the organization that has rendered him help when he was out of job in 2010/2011. At the SAC, he also looks forward to the activities which include karaoke sessions, hanging out with his friends with board games and occasional outings around Singapore.

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Contact Us

Who can I contact for more information?

For enquiries about organizing a roadshow for your organization, school or interest group, please contact Ms Raine Ong from South East CDC. For other enquiries, please contact Ms Jerilee Aw from 3M Singapore.

Who were the beneficiaries?

View the 3M Step-Up Challenge 2018 video below!

Results from 2013 – 2018 campaigns

Who can I contact for more information?

  • For enquiries about organizing a roadshow for your organization, school or interest group, please contact Ms Raine Ong from South East CDC. For other enquiries, please contact Ms Jerilee Aw from 3M Singapore.

30 April - 31 July 2019
Let's step up for those in need!

About the Challenge

  • For the seventh year running, the 3M Step-Up Challenge is a joint effort of 3M Singapore and the South East Community Development Council (South East CDC). It encourages residents, students and corporates to keep fit through a variety of different physical activities – stairclimbing, Zumba, trampoline jumping, Yoga, Kickboxing, rockclimbing – while lending a hand to the needy at the same time.


    This year, we aimed to accumulate 9,000 hours of physical activity from 30 April to 31 July, and we did it! More than 47,000 hours of exercise were contributed by 32,000 participants via 77 roadshows held across Singapore. 3M sponsored $126,000 worth of 3M safety and household products to improve lives of 3,000 elderly and families in need.

  • How does the Challenge work?

    From 30 April to 31 July 2019, many public and private Step-Up roadshows were held across the island. Participants could contribute by organizing or taking part in Step-up events involving different forms of exercise, such as Zumba, yoga, HIIT / circuit training, kickboxing and other group exercises.


    For every 30 min of activity clocked by each participant, 3M Singapore would donate one product to the beneficiaries.


    Other than the roadshows, from 1 – 31 July, 3M contributed 5% of our sales proceeds from NTUC FairPrice outlets towards the campaign.


Who were the beneficiaries?

The beneficiaries were the needy elderly and families residing within the South East District of Singapore. Learn more about some of them.

  • Mr Ramli Bin H B, 86

    Defending Singapore before the SAF

  • Mdm Ng O L, 85

    Home Alone, but not Lonely in Life

  • Madam Chan A H, 65

    Rejecting the Mould – Forging Her Own Way in Life

  • Mdm Boey Yuet Meng, 84

    Never Too Old – Learning English at 84

  • Mdm Suraya Begum Bte Abdul Hamid, 60

    Iron Will – Makcik Sacrifices for Cancer-Stricken Husband

  • Mdm Chua Lai Hoo, 88

    Reliving History – Surviving the Japanese Occupation with Cooking Skills

What did beneficiaries receive?

  • Each family received a 3M household and safety product pack worth $42, comprising 6 practical items to make life easier, better and more complete. The items were Scotch-Brite® Heavy Duty Scrub Sponges, General Purpose Cloths and Non-scratch Sponge, Nexcare™ Waterproof Bandages, 3M™ Safety-Walk™ Anti-Slip Floor Stickers, and Command™ Medium Hooks.

How to Join Us

  • Organize a Roadshow

  • Join Public Roadshows

  • Shop for 3M Products

Look out for more information in 2020!

Previous Challenges

  • 3M Step-Up Challenge 2013-2019 Results

  • 3M Step-up Challenge 2019 Video

Get in touch with us

For enquiries about organizing a roadshow for your organization, school or interest group, please contact Ms Steph Dong from South East CDC.
For other enquiries, please contact Ms Jerilee Aw from 3M Singapore.


Mr Ramli Bin H B, 86
Mr. Ramli was only nine when he heard Japanese planes fly overhead. Despite his youth, he remembers clearly life under Japanese Occupation. Still, he insists that the reason he signed up for the Singapore Volunteer Corps (SVC), was because of their dashing uniforms.

His commanders were mostly British officers, who drilled him repeatedly in military drills and how to use his bolt-action rifle so thoroughly that he can still perform the actions today. Six years later, in preparation for independence, the SVC was absorbed into the Singapore Military Forces (the precursor to the SAF) and Mr Ramli became part of 1st Battalion, Singapore Infantry Regiment, Singapore’s first professional army.
Madam Ng O L, 85
Since her husband passed away six years ago, Madam Ng has lived alone in her rental one-room flat. She does everything herself from cleaning, to buying and cooking her own meals. Although most of her family has emigrated, her remaining family visits her once a week.

Still, Madam Ng spends most of her time alone. It was an ex-HAC manager that encouraged her to join the small GEHA community at the nearby centre. There, she can keep herself active physically and socially, celebrating birthdays and talking with friends until her family visits her again.
Mdm Chan A H, 65
Madam Chan’s childhood would differ quite a bit from most. As the only daughter in a large household, she was expected to take care of the household from an early age, cleaning the house and cooking for her parents and seven brothers.

While her brothers went to school, she learned her letters by standing outside their classroom window to listen in. At age 17, her father arranged her marriage to a neighbour she did not want to be with, so she left Pahang, Malaysia for Singapore.

Her parents were furious. Even so, she sent whatever funds she could back home with her modest pay from making thread at a factory. You see, family is important to Madam Chan, and doubly so with her own two boys. Maintaining a relationship with them was hard after they were placed under the custody of her ex-husband post-divorce, but they have learned the importance of family from their mother well. Nowadays, they visit her often, bringing children of their own.
Mdm Boey Yuet Meng, 84
Since the death of her husband years ago from smoking related illnesses, Madam Boey has tried to lead a busy lifestyle. Starting her day at 8am, she wakes up for her daily dose of morning exercises in efforts to lead an active lifestyle.

As a more tech-savvy member of her generation, you will occasionally find her watching knitting videos on her smartphone, learning to make flowers and clothes to give to friends and family. When she is not taking care of her 9-year-old granddaughter, she will be at the Comcare Elderly Centre to spend her afternoon – mingling with her friends, singing karaoke and catching up with her younger sister. As an avid learner, Mdm Boey takes English Language at Block 31 in the evening.

Come night time, she is alone in her rental flat and that’s when she begins to feel lonely. She begins to harbour thoughts related to self-worth when she recalls how she is less accomplished than her siblings. She also worries about her dwindling finances of $250 a month, which are used to pay off her expenses including bills. Despite the lonely evenings, Madam Boey always look forward to a new day, and the opportunities it brings.
Mdm Suaraya Begum Bte Abdul Hamid, 60
When Madam Suraya left an abusive first marriage, she was determined to raise her four sons by herself. With her grit and perseverance, she took on whatever jobs she could get her hands on. From being an office cleaner to a health attendant at a hospital, Mdm Suraya often take up two to three jobs at the same time period.

Then Mdm Suraya met the love of her life. He was not just a lovely husband to her but also a responsible father who took care of the family. After her marriage to her second husband, Mdm Suraya stayed home to spend more time with her sons.

Her sons have since grown up into fine individuals and Mdm Suraya is now a full-time caregiver to her husband who is diagnosed with stage-4 lung cancer. He has to make multiple trips to the hospital for check-ups, medicine, and chemotherapy but Madam Suraya will be there beside him every step of the way, taking care of him like he did for her so many years ago.
Mdm Chua Lai Hoo, 88
Mdm Chua Lai Hoo came to Singapore from China with her parents when she was 11. A month after arriving here, they experienced the WW2 attack. Mdm Chua vividly recalls the memories of that fateful period – the explosions, fighting and hiding in the underground tunnels.

She started earning a living at 12. She removed husks from coconuts to sell it as fire starter for 1 cent. Later, she picked up Japanese by listening to the soldiers and found a job as a cook for a high-ranking Japanese official. She was paid decently for the job and it kept her safe from the soldiers’ sexual harassment.

Mdm Chua’s life improved tremendously after the Japanese Occupation. She married at nineteen and had five children with her husband. She is now a grandmother to nine grandchildren (with one more on the way) and she enjoys sharing stories of the past with the young ones.
Ms. Chua Bee Lee, 63
Ms. Chua Bee Lee is possibly more active now than she was before she retired two years ago. On most days, she teaches line dancing at one of the neighbourhood void decks around Serangoon, helping residents to remember the steps and following along with them. Otherwise, Ms. Chua can probably be found reaching out to her community through one of the many volunteering programs she is a part of.

At 63 years old, the mother of two volunteers with her daughters; from the FairPrice Walk for Rice, to St. Luke’s Hospital and most recently, the 3M Step-Up Challenge. She says that she empathises with the people she helps because she knows what it feels like to be left alone.

Her volunteering work also prompts her to reflect more about her own retirement life and the ageing population in Singapore. She recognizes the power of fostering social connections with the use of technology, hence she tries to teach the seniors on the usage of digital tools, in hope for them to step out of the house more often and re-engage with their communities.
Mrs. Eileen Koh-Ling, 68
Mrs. Eileen Koh-Ling is an adventurous spirt in a 68-year-old body. Case in point, the only reason she didn’t bungee jump on her holiday to New Zealand was because of her family’s protest. That still hasn’t put off the determined grandmother of three from the experience, who hopes to still do it soon.

It was with that same spirit that she spontaneously took a public line dancing class in 1997 which has since evolved into a 22-year long passion for the sport. She spreads her love for the sport by teaching a class at the South East Community Development Centre twice a week and, more recently, at the Filos Community Centre where she has mature-aged students. What started off as a short-term project at Filos to teach them line dancing turned into an ongoing project, and a way for her to give back to her community by being not just a teacher, but also a listening ear.

So naturally, she signed up when she heard of the 3M Step-Up Challenge – admittedly, not knowing what it was all about at the beginning. But when she heard that she could redeem products for the needy by keeping active, she was all in.

Knowing that she may one day be at the receiving end of a helping hand, she does what she can to help others, whether it’s through line-dancing, lending a listening ear, or climbing some stairs, Mrs. Eileen Koh-Ling is stepping up.
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