Ground-Up Initiative

Ground-Up Initiative (GUI) is founded to nurture resilient, grounded stewards of our society by empowering them to discover their sense of purpose.


This is a vision of GUI’s founder Mr Tay Lai Hock, who is deeply inspired by this Chinese idiom.

Lai Hock believes that ownership and responsibility towards society comes with understanding our inherent symbiotic connection to our environment. The more we are nurtured spiritually and psychologically by it, the more we will understand how important it is conserve this inspiring life-giving force.


Talent, is nurtured by the environment we live in.

One of the first conditions of happiness is that the link between Man and Nature shall not be broken.
– Leo Tolstoy


Kampung Kampus - The School of Life

GUI has created Kampung Kampus, a nature-inspired educational campus, which is being consciously ⁠⁠⁠architectured on an ambitious 26,000 sqm space at Khatib, in a land-scarce Singapore.

It is not just a physical space – witnessing people’s lives changed, their meaning redefined, leaders fostered, communities brought together, and much more, through a range of diverse initiatives.

It is a space containing amazing stories of people's evolution:

GUI has made me a better son, husband, citizen to the country and a person living on this earth.”
– Cai Bingyu, 32, Architect


GUI is designed in accordance to the 5Gs and the 6Rs.

  • gracious
  • green
  • giving
  • grounded
  • grateful
  • rethink
  • refuse
  • reduce
  • reuse
  • repair
  • recycle


A range of diverse social enterprises are carefully designed to cultivate a multitude of strengths for a wide spectrum of individuals and groups, forming a robust, nurturing eco-system of GUI within the Kampung Kampus:

  • Wow Kampung

    a social enterprise for experiential environmental education and character development for students and teachers.

  • Touchwood

    encourages practical craft skills such as carpentry.

  • Farmily

    which encourages a healthy lifestyle and extra income for the elderly through urban farming.

  • GUI Labs for Development (GUILD)

    a social enterprise for experiential environmental education and character development for students and teachers.

  • Ground-Up Troopers (GUTS)

    a programme to nurture grounded leaders based on “Thinker~Warrior~Farmer” philosophy to initiate more social and environmental changes in Singapore. This batch of GUTS training has commenced in Jan 2016.

Being only 17 years old, courage is a must have to step out of my comfort zone. I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone countless of times in my 3 years of volunteering with Ground-Up Initiative. It is never an easy task to step out of my comfort zone but with every step I took, I gained something from it.”
– Jadie Tang, 17, Student


Architecting the future

We share our vision of building a Singapore where we start planting seeds by nurturing our future generation:

In future, connections between Singapore and Southeast Asia will become increasingly important. We will need people who can be open-minded and adaptive, and empathetic to act as links between countries. GUI offers the potential for these connections to grow while emphasising the human spirit and empathy under all these connections.”
– Ng Huiying, 24, Volunteer

We have come a long way, but this is just the beginning.

Be part of the kampung revolution.

Support GUI in realising its vision to expand its creative space for our people to experience, grow and contribute to the world they want to live in.