Portraits of Purpose

Nothing shines brighter in the midst of adversity than light born of hope, courage, perseverance and generosity. These beacons guide us forward, as we put one foot in front of another, toward a better future. Here we share these portraits of purpose – of people whose light shine even brighter in the face of challenges.

  • Can a bank’s business helpline become a lifeline?

    The phones were silent at DBS BusinessCare in Hong Kong.

    Can a bank’s business helpline become a lifeline?

    The phones were silent at DBS BusinessCare in Hong Kong.

  • Can a bank plant the seeds of hope in Taiwan’s farmers?

    Time was running out for Guo Zheng Zhi.

    Can a bank plant the seeds of hope in Taiwan’s farmers?

    Time was running out for Guo Zheng Zhi.

  • Can a bank fight a virus by putting frontline workers in front?

    As the virus loomed over Singapore, many seniors were forced to shelter at home.

    Can a bank fight a virus by putting frontline workers in front?

    As the virus loomed over Singapore, many seniors were forced to shelter at home.

  • What happens when a bank serves up a bowl of human kindness?

    For the Goh family, fishballs are life.

    What happens when a bank serves up a bowl of human kindness?

    For the Goh family, fishballs are life.

  • Actually, it’s the virus that’s got a test for us.

    It’s testing our ability to work together, as human beings, as societies and as nations.

    Actually, it’s the virus that’s got a test for us.

    It’s testing our ability to work together, as human beings, as societies and as nations.

  • Can a bank save lives by beating a deadline?

    As more cases of the virus began to emerge across China, the pressure was on for Sichuan-based textile manufacturer Yibin Grace.

    Can a bank save lives by beating a deadline?

    As more cases of the virus began to emerge across China, the pressure was on for Sichuan-based textile manufacturer Yibin Grace.

    Read their stories
    Standing tall, reaching out to help others and coming together to emerge stronger. These are their stories.
    Seizing the opportunities amid challenges
    Ms Wong Minying is focused on digitalising her family business to better meet head-on the difficulties posed by the pandemic.
    "I learnt that Singaporeans are very kind"
    Rahim Bin Abu Bakar’s job as a limousine driver ferrying guests from the airport ceased due to Covid-19. But he now has new purpose.
    Out of job, but full of hope
    After working in a hotel for nearly a decade, Mdm Josephine Low, 75, lost her job when the Covid-19 pandemic hit. Still, she remains optimistic.
    Finding, and offering, hope during a crisis
    Business at Mr Goh Heng Hock’s noodles stall was badly hit by the pandemic, but this didn’t stop him from helping those in need.
    “No time to waste”
    Pandemic or not, Mr Wong Hing Kong has his gaze fixed firmly on the future.
    One less thing to worry about
    Many migrant workers come to Singapore to earn a living, so they can support their families back home. Here’s how DBS enabled them to continue doing so, while under quarantine.
    A welcomed light in the darkness
    A social enterprise’s solar-powered devices bring more than just illumination to families in rural India.
    In the nick of time
    During a pandemic, 5 days could make a difference between life or death. Here’s how medical equipment supplier HZHM Group and DBS rushed to save lives.
    The race to protect lives
    In the battle against a new unseen enemy, textile company Yibin Grace wasted no time in manufacturing the scarce essential good – masks.
    Warmth in the middle of a chilly winter’s night
    Motivated by nothing but a sense of purpose, Christine and her team of change agents challenged their traditional way of work to deliver much-needed help.
    A secret worth keeping
    A filial daughter behind bars sends care to her elderly parents with a little covert help.
    A “shopping” adventure to remember
    United by the single-minded focus to continue serving our customers, individuals across markets went the extra mile – literally – to procure masks for peers in Hong Kong.
    Help that came like “a bout of timely rain”
    When farmers in Taiwan were left with truckloads of produce that could not be sold, BuyNearby and Goodwill Foods intervened.
    Food for thought
    Social enterprises help farmers and food processing companies in Taiwan survive another day – while saving food and feeding the needy.
    Forging a new path forward
    Sent home to work during the pandemic, PT Trimegah Asset Management had to quickly implement new ways of working.
    Operation Relief for 30,000 villagers in dire straits
    When lockdown in India was implemented, these villagers found themselves cut off from their supply chain and stocks of food, and daily essentials dwindled. Their plight did not go unnoticed.
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    Share a portrait with us Click on each photo to read more portraits of those who inspire us. And if these stories remind you of someone you know, we’d love to find out more, and possibly feature them as well. Send us their photos and tell us their story. #PortraitsofPurpose
    Share a portrait with us
    Click on each photo to read more portraits of those who inspire us. And if these stories remind you of someone you know, we’d love to find out more, and possibly feature them as well. Send us their photos and tell us their story. #PortraitsofPurpose
    • “I am in the process of developing an app. We are also going to go on Facebook Live, so that we can interact more with our customers. This is what it means to do business. No matter the situation, we remain decisive, and we move accordingly.” - Mr Wong Hing Kong, director, Unidbox Hardware

    • “I learnt that Singaporeans are very kind. … While I was delivering the food, I saw volunteers from many different organisations going around the block as well. It really surprised me. I've never seen this side to Singapore, and I'm proud to be one of them as well.” - Rahim Bin Abu Bakar, who helps deliver meals to those in need

    • “If anyone of us needs help, all we need to do is ask, and help will be there. Like how I am getting food delivered to my door now. I am grateful to DBS and The Food Bank Singapore for helping me through this time.” – Madam Josephine Low, beneficiary of The Singapore Food Bank’s “Feed the City – DBS Edition” programme

    • “When you’ve been hungry before, you will know how it feels. This is just a bit that I can do to help fellow Singaporeans,” Mr Goh Heng Hock, who runs Million Fishball Noodle at a Kim San Leng coffeeshop, helps provide meals for those in need as part of The Singapore Food Bank’s “Feed the City – DBS Edition” programme

    • “The food provided is very nice. It tastes homemade. We also get fruits, juice and sometimes milk. We are in a very critical situation (because of Covid-19). We can’t work, so we cannot expect to get a full salary. The sponsored meals are very helpful – we don’t have to worry and can remit more of our salary to support family back home.” – Mr Kumarasamy Velumani, 34, a migrant worker who gets his meals from ItsRainingRainCoats’ Project Belanja – DBS Edition programme

    • "During the circuit breaker period, many seniors were looking for someone to talk to. Most of these seniors are living alone or with their partners in rental flats. The LB Virtual Befriending@SAC – Singapore’s largest-ever virtual befriending volunteer initiative by DBS and Lions Befrienders – is a good platform to help them out of social isolation and prevent their health or mental state from deteriorating." – Mr Andy Shee, senior centre manager, Lion’s Befrienders

    • With Covid-19 exacerbating food insecurity, DBS and The Food Bank Singapore are launching a virtual food banking app to enhance support for individuals and families affected by the crisis.

    • “DBS loan support enables us to look to the future with confidence. To focus on where we will go versus where we have been. To reinvest in our people and look to grow. To evolve and adapt to new norms - investing in new growth areas namely therapeutic horticulture, e-education and e-commerce “ – Mr Samuell Ang (left), chief executive officer, Edible Garden City

    • Meet Satish Senthil Kumar (left) our Assistant Workplace Manager, and Thiru Ramamorthy (right), Cleaning Team Lead from Chye Thiam Maintenance. They are among our deeply-valued essential frontline staff who keep our office environment clean and safe during this Covid-19 outbreak. Satish ensures that essential facilities are running smoothly on a daily basis. Thiru usually supervises the cleaning operations, but now volunteers to take on more cleaning work so older workers are at less risk of being exposed to the virus!

    • "Everything I do is with passion. Without passion, I don’t think I will serve the community today. My passion is with the elderly. When I do community care, I can talk to the elderly. I really feel fulfilled and contented and every day I go home with a smile on my face." Ms Lily Teh, Homage Care Specialist who helps with Covid-19 swab tests.

    • “As a social enterprise, not many lenders make the effort to understand what we do, our business model, and the impact we have on the community. At the onset of the virus outbreak, the first thing on our minds was to preserve jobs and make sure that our employees’ livelihoods would not be affected in a big way. ... The loan from DBS was very timely in helping us ensure we had the cash flow needed to continue our operations, retain and even upskill all our staff.” – Mr Walter Oh, co-Founder of Boxgreen

    • “As a Safe Management Officer at DBS, my duty of care is for the safety and health of the employees, which is of utmost importance to DBS and our community. Less exposure, more safety ... and while I keep the workplace safe, I also ensure I protect myself so that I can keep my home safe for my family. I hope others will share the same view and do their part to keep themselves and others safe.” – Mr Michael Lim/p>

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