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.
    Rebuilding through a crisis
    The pandemic has given banking institutions a higher purpose: bolstering businesses that support communities.
    He gave up a career in banking to do good and sell snacks
    Walter Oh gave up a career in banking to kick off a subscription service that supplies healthy snacks.
    Job portal for 'green-collar' workers
    "We realised that we could help the environment as well as allow people to gain meaningful employment in this up-and-coming industry."
    Single-use packaging gets a new lease of life
    With the surge in e-commerce brought on by the pandemic, Package Pals helps reduce waste by collecting single-use packaging and distributing them to retailers for reuse.
    Animals find fur-ever homes with online adoption drives
    From live streaming to online talk shows, the pandemic has forced animal welfare activists to get wildly creative.
    Recruiter helps job-seekers get one foot in the door
    Ms Ryshire Wu, 25, applied for more than 50 jobs and faced countless rejections before she was finally hired. She now wants to use her experience to help others.
    Helping small businesses stay competitive
    "The severe acute respiratory syndrome was bad, but Covid-19 is definitely worse. No one in the family business has gone through something like that."
    Guiding light in the travel industry
    Domestic tourism, virtual tours help guides sustain their livelihoods as borders remain closed.
    Father’s death spurred her to lend a listening ear
    "A lot of my grief was about not being able to help my father when he had end-stage lung cancer, but I hope that in some little way, I can help these people in their lives."
    Mental health advocates bridge support gaps online
    Psychological effects such as social isolation, anxiety, boredom and stress emerge as Covid-19 takes its toll on mental health.
    Delivering food to low-income families
    “I wanted to let them know that bad days don't last forever.”
    Upcycling to help the less privileged
    "It has been quite encouraging to see our little project help different groups of people and create a self-sustaining cycle."
    Shining a light for youth in the dark
    Organisations step up programmes to help youth at risk, students with financial difficulties, during the pandemic.
    Activity kits bring joy to kids in need
    They had to stop visiting the children due to Covid-19 restrictions, so volunteer group Be Kind SG came up with new ways to keep them engaged.
    Gift of language for foreign mums
    "It gives them a passport to something more in their lives. They can think a little further, beyond just being a wife and mother, beyond staying home and looking after their kids.”
    Giving women a leg up to run home food businesses
    "I believe it is only just and equitable to use our privilege to help others with less."
    Feeding vulnerable groups through meal claim and donation platform
    Taxi drivers, foreigners and students stranded in Singapore because of border closures are among those the platform is helping.
    Youth code app to assist seniors with groceries
    The goal is to help the elderly get groceries without having to compete for slots on delivery platforms or risk exposure to the coronavirus at supermarkets.
    Creatives pitch in to help small businesses
    How some are harnessing Singapore's foodie culture as a force for good.
    Caring for the community
    In trying times, a community comes together to uplift those in need.
      Create a new portrait with us Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa #PortraitsofPurpose
      Share a portrait with us Click on each photo to read more portraits of those who inspire us. Share your own photo story on a public Instagram account, hashtag #PortraitsofPurpose, tag @dbsbank.

      Share a portrait with us
      Click on each photo to read more portraits of those who inspire us. Share your own photo story on a public Instagram account, hashtag #PortraitsofPurpose, tag @dbsbank.
      • 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>

      • “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

        On social
        Your stories of hope, grit, kindness and more. Watch this space as more #PortraitsofPurpose emerge

        Food from the Heart; A helping hand to the less fortunate, since the circuit breaker started, a Japanese restaurant 'Naga Imo' along Club Street has been giving away meals for lunch and dinner daily to the needy living in the area. The distribution point was at the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple.

        #PortraitsofPurpose
        photographyholic

        “I begin here” 👋 I’m Sheri. I’m an OBGYN working in a Singapore maternity hospital. “We live in interesting times. Times of danger and uncertainty; but they are also the most creative of any time in the history of mankind.” - Robert F. Kennedy

        COVID 🦠, economic uncertainty, isolation, barriers to travel- have changed the way we work, live, play and interact. It’s perhaps the human spirit 💪that makes us dig deep to make the connection with others during difficult times. I decided to join the @instagram medical community to share my knowledge of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, to empower women who want to know more. Especially during a time when access to care is difficult for patients..

        I am nervous but excited to share my journey as a doctor and as a parent. Say Hi and share with me your stories too! 💖 the #verifyhealthcare movement started by @austinchiangmd to improve #transparency amongst medics on Instagram.

        A little about me

        👩🏻‍🎓Imperial College School of Medicine at St. Mary’s Hospital, London

        👩🏻‍⚕️ House Officer: Watford General And Central Middlesex Hospital,London

        🤱🏻 O&G specialty Training UK: North West London Hospitals- St Mary’s Hospital, Royal Free Hospital, Queen Charlotte’s Hospital

        👩🏻‍🔬PhD in reproductive Medicine: Imperial College (London)

        🤱🏻O&G residency Singapore Singhealth

        👩🏻 O&G Associate Consultant

        #PortraitsofPurpose
        drsheriobgyn

        A tribute to the contributions of migrant workers who spend hours toiling in the hot sun to build our homes and keeping them clean. Many Singaporeans do appreciate and support them as they tide through Covid-19. Happy to see you back in action and staying safe.

        #PortraitsofPurpose
        tingerik

        This is my husband who is a stroke survivor using only his right hand to deliver food and provide for our family.

        #PortraitsofPurpose
        liza_she_is

        Building racial harmony in Singapore is not just a pledge, and must start from an early age. In a multi-ethnic and multi-religious country like Singapore, our openness to embracing diversity is important. This lifelong shared values must be taught from a young age as they begin to be curious to their surroundings and people’s behaviour.

        #PortraitsofPurpose
        crazyrabbit0929

        A rare picture of me in a bad posture bending to pick up trash. Can't believe it's been two months since this initiative and in just 1 month, as a community we have picked up 10,000kg of trash.

        Never would I have imagined how one insta story, could turn into a stronghold of 2,500 people on telegram. I am immesnsely grateful for everyone who has supported and really took the time to come down just to pick trash! :)

        Looking forward to just going down to meet community members on the beach, and doing whatever we can. Ultimately I hope these initiatives show that we do care, and we can work together to solve this challenge of plastic pollution

        #PortraitsofPurpose
        sammthian

        Happiness is chosen. Amour!

        There are thousands ways of killing your depression. Working out is one of them. To me, it's the most effective and practical way to make you feel better, look better and more confident. Helping people achieve their fitness goals is my happiness too. As long as you try your best, you are already on the way to pursue your dreaming aesthetic. Keep it up. Together we can make it!

        #PortraitsofPurpose
        justinng156

        Daily lives of Our Unsung Heroes.

        “We’re all on the same ocean but not the same boat”.

        To some of us, this pandemic might be a blessing in disguise. To some others, it might be a daily hustle to make ends meet. Some might have lost their jobs and have to turn to other means of getting by.

        Here is a picture of both Grabfood and Foodpanda riders awaiting for the orders to be ready in the midst of this pandemic. Mask? Check✅. Social distancing? Check✅. All this done to protect everyone they come into contact with.

        Dear delivery riders, Thank you for bringing food to us. Thank you for working day or night, rain or shine so that we could enjoy the food you bring us at the comfort of our homes.

        Thank you, Our Unsung Heroes.

        #PortraitsofPurpose
        theuntoldnarratives

        This is the story of a man and his wife who came to Singapore in 1969. Packirisamy, 77, and Lalithambal, 69, started a restaurant with the sole intention of making sure everyone leaves well fed. The meals were (and still are) offered at very affordable rates and soon enough, the restaurant became a place to frequent.

        Everything Packirisamy cooks in the kitchen has a hint of love. Nothing compromises the immutable standards of his dishes. For our migrant workers in Singapore, the food brings them a little closer to feeling at home.

        Lalithambal, lovingly addressed as “Amma” by customers, has been the woman behind Packirisamy’s success as his better half. She plugs any gap in the restaurant’s operations by helping out in the restaurant to the best of her capacity. One would most often spot her packing food for takeaway orders or behind the cash counter.

        They have crazy working hours but have not complained one bit all these years.

        Packirisamy rides back home on his trusty bicycle, which has aged with him, while Lalithambal dodders back home after a tiring day at the restaurant.

        Their work ethics and altruism are aspects I deeply admire. I hope to possess at least a sliver of their humility, wherever life takes me.

        They are my grandparents. This fact makes me the happiest not just because of all the things that they’ve done for my family and I, but also for everyone else through their food.

        Meet Packirisamy and Lalithambal, the founders of Gandhi Restaurant at Chander Road.

        #PortraitsofPurpose
        byamiloboy
        On Social
        Your stories of hope, grit, kindness and more. Watch this space as more #PortraitsofPurpose emerge.