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Getting Deep With NGOs Habitat For Humanity & LOVE, NILS

ONE Championship | May 25, 2021 |

Over the last ten episodes of “The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition,” the global candidates have participated in a myriad of business challenges under the watchful eye of ONE Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong, Co-Advisor Niharika Singh, and top-level CEOs from all over the world.

But in Episode 11, the focus in the business challenge will shift to NGOs. Two, in particular, will be featured: LOVE, NILS, a non-profit that helps families of cancer-diagnosed children, and Habitat for Humanity Singapore, which builds homes for vulnerable families.

Before Episode 11 premieres on AXN this Thursday, 27 May, at 8:50 p.m., we talk to LOVE, NILS Founder and Executive Director Lesli Berggren and Habitat for Humanity Singapore Senior Manager Sim Chunhui about their reactions with being featured on “The Apprentice,” what it takes to run an NGO, and what they look for in their ideal “Apprentice.”

One Championship: What excited you most about becoming part of “The Apprentice?”

Lesli Berggren: “The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition” has a global following. I knew partnering with them could lead to awareness for childhood cancer. We are a fairly new charity in Singapore. This exposure could move mountains for the children and us and the families we support.

I also liked the idea of partnering with an organization that champions the warrior spirit because our children are certainly warriors in their own right.

love, nils

LOVE, NILS’ art program for children who are undergoing cancer treatment.

Sim Chunhui: I was most excited to learn more about ONE Championship’s commitment to help under-privileged people and communities by deliberately focusing on socially responsible initiatives as a big part of their company’s work.

ONE: Many people think of businesses and NGOs as separate entities, but you can’t help people without having the means to do so, which the business side accounts for. With that said, how do you ensure the needs of the business and the needs of the organization are being equally met?

LB: A common struggle for non-profit organizations is getting people to understand that a non-profit is like a business in that we need people and systems to run successfully.

Success for us is defined differently, of course. It’s not market share or sales numbers. It’s families and children helped and improvements in quality of life.

Hiring staff and making sure we can run our programs efficiently allows us to serve children with cancer and their families more effectively in the long run.

As Executive Director, I raise funds to support our nine programs and to hire a solid team to make a significant positive impact in the lives of cancer families.

That depends on the generosity of funders and donors, our ability to raise awareness on the needs of these cancer families, and the benefits of LOVE, NILS’ programs.

SC: I think the best partnerships are made when various parties come in wanting to contribute their own unique strengths towards a shared vision while fulfilling each party’s different needs. At Habitat for Humanity Singapore, we love to find the win-win in every partnership.

Our corporate partners want to share their earnings with people who are in need, and oftentimes, they want to involve their employees in these endeavors to build stronger emotional bonds with each other and the company as well.

Habitat for Humanity works to serve vulnerable families through very practical means of building decent homes, and we believe that one of the strongest ways to demonstrate love in action is by involving volunteers meaningfully in the actual work as much as possible, bringing them face-to-face with the families we serve.

All these elements taken together make for beautiful win-all partnerships.

habitat for humanity

Habitat for Humanity not only builds homes – it builds lives.

ONE: What has been the biggest obstacle that your organization has faced, and how have you overcome it?

LB: The initial biggest obstacle for me was being taken seriously in my efforts to start a new charity. I didn’t have funds to throw at it. I had to reach out to friends for donations to fund our programs.

Staffing was another huge issue. I didn’t have funds to pay people. Fortunately, LOVE, NILS was initially built on the kindness of many volunteers who donated their time, efforts, and skills to support behind-the-scenes needs to run the charity.

I also had to build awareness for our cause. Often, people cannot imagine the psycho-social impact of a childhood cancer diagnosis. It is traumatic and isolating for the entire family. People know the medical care in Singapore is excellent but may not realize the emotional and psychological impact of cancer treatment on these children and their families.

They don’t understand the full implications of being isolated in a hospital for months at a time, or what a massive lifestyle change undergoing cancer treatment requires. LOVE, NILS’ programs help create support around those families, to help them through those challenges.

SC: Over the years, there have been many different challenges faced by Habitat for Humanity Singapore.

As a Christian organization, we overcome them by committing our efforts in every situation to God. We believe that this is God’s ministry, and He leads us out of every storm, or not, as He wills.

So far, by God’s grace we have overcome, and oftentimes grown through the challenges.

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LOVE, NILS pen pal program keeps children connected.

ONE: What qualities and values do you look for when recruiting new staff in the non-profit sector? What makes a quality “Apprentice” in your world?   

LB: Altruism, determination, grit, resilience, and spirit. A passion for helping others. LOVE, NILS is a startup non-profit, and our staff needs to be motivated and confident, [and full of] team players and good communicators.

SC: We look for staff who love and have a heart to serve the poor, who have integrity and can be trusted to put their best into every piece, and who have the drive and ability to keep moving things forward for the people whom we serve.

Tune in to AXN this Thursday, 27 May, at 8:50 p.m. to catch this special Episode 11 of “The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition.”