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Give our future generation the Gift of Kampung Spirit.

We need you. Help sustain our beloved Kampung Kampus here in Singapore.

#KeepKampungAlive campaign has ended

We thank the community for your support


An update as of 1 May 2020

2008 was the year GUI started – on a small plot of land in Lim Chu Kang – before coming to our current location, and it was also the year the community did its first ever ‘fundraising’ activity through the sale of candy, Xin, wrapped in biodegradable packaging for Simei Care Centre. From that day on, we embraced a new dream, and allowed GUI to progress over a decade of growth.

In 2015, in an attempt to make Phase 1 possible, we initiated a #MakeABrick: From Dust to Dream campaign, so that we can raise the Kampung Kampus from the ground up when our benefactors from the old Bottle Tree Park had to exit the land after many rounds of extension and GUI received an opportunity to continue in our current space for 3+3 more years as on 1 September 2014.

GUI started this #KeepKampungAlive community sponsorship campaign on 8 November 2018, and if you are reading this, you have been a wonderful part of it. Not only was it initiated in an attempt to sustain the dream, it also gave GUI added strength to believe that regardless of the harsh conditions we have been placed in over the years, we truly saw that the GUI community is not alone.

We would like to announce that as of 30 Apr 2020, we have closed #KeepKampungAlive. A total of $227,681.27 has been collected – about 38% of target – including the donations during our late founder, Tay Lai Hock’s memorial in August 2018, kindhearted ground-up activations such as TCM Talks by Chun Huat, Kampung Pilates by Kelly, Forest Bathing by Kian Seng & Sixian, Dungeons & Dragons by Lee Qing & Nic, Pesta Kampung by Sprouting Seeds etc, offline contributions, as well as this online #KeepKampungAlive campaign which is powered by Stripe. We will like to give thanks to a special group of volunteers, Sharon who kickstarted the Mini X’mas Tree Contributions project, Huiling & Evon who led Kampung Sketching walks, as well as Jie Hui, Winnie, Dorothy and Mun Chung, who started a match-funding campaign, #PeopleofGUI, Andrea and Greta all the way from Dubai who kindly helped make the payment integration here possible, Evon for being our faithful GUI web elf in starting up this #KeepKampungAlive page (just one of the many), and so many more kindred spirits that are too many to count. 

It truly takes a village to power GUI.

Though #KeepKampungAlive did not hit its overall target of $600,000, the love, embrace, encouragement, as well as the core team’s relentless efforts, persistence and sacrifice cannot be defined by a mere number. All of us seek purpose in our lives to do something, and the GUI story has been a testament of many individuals’ motivational forces, combined. While we have not hit the target, this will not make us disappointed nor upset; on the contrary, GUI will strive to work harder.

GUI has used the collected sum to pay off a portion of the debts and will be keeping the remaining amount as reserves for future developments to keep GUI going. In addition, during this COVID-19 situation, GUI is surviving on the revenue gained from all programme engagements in 2019.

Should you have any inquiry regarding #KeepKampungAlive, please feel free to contact Mei Chang at 96586148 or

If you’re keen to continue supporting GUI and hear more updates/details, please opt in here so we will keep you updated when we launch new campaigns.

We will like to express our deepest gratitude once again for being part of this community sponsorship campaign, and we hope you will continue to give GUI the support in the upcoming days, in anticipation. Thank you!


With Gratitude,
Ground-Up Initiative

P.S. Along with all the other efforts on the ground, we are still working hard collectively to chart the GUI future. Just in case you haven’t seen 2019’s updates, they are over at!




Balik Kampungs


Waste wood


Organic Vegetables

Priceless Connections


GUI may cease to exist if we are unable to sustain our finances. We seek your help and support at this crucial point in time.

Once again, GUI faces an uncertain future as our land lease ends in less than 6 months. We need YOUR support to make sure that this Kampung can continue to exist.

Ground-Up Initiative has existed for 11 years in Singapore, and for a good reason. We want to connect urban dwellers to nature through direct participation on the land, especially in an affluent nation like Singapore where it is easy to take for granted the wealth that we have.

Our founder and Kampung Chief, Tay Lai Hock saw the potential of having a bigger piece of land in bringing together people from all walks of life and social enterprises to build a sustainable model of a ground-up community. With this vision, the GUI community fought hard to negotiate for a bigger piece of land from the authorities when Bottle Tree Park’s land lease ended. On 1st September 2014, we were finally granted 2.6ha of land to actualise this vision. 

Unfortunately, before he could finish turning GUI around to fulfill this vision, Lai Hock passed away unexpectedly in August 2018. A new leadership team has formed and despite complex obstacles ahead of us, we wish to carry out the work he envisioned, not only to fulfill his legacy, but our collective desire to see a more sustainable future for Singapore.

This is an opportunity of a lifetime for anyone who believes in giving our next generation a sustainable future. We want to put in our best effort to show that a model like Kampung Kampus can work in an urban context to build stronger connections and a more resilient people to weather the challenges of the 21st century.

Our TOL (Temporary Occupation License) expires next year on 17 April 2020, and we also found out recently that our rental fee may be set to increase.


The land that GUI sits on expanded from the beginning 100sqm in 2009 to 26,000sqm currently. This lease is based on a period of 3+3 years, with effect from 31 August 2014, until 17 April 2020.

Right now, we have less than 6 months left to prove our model, along with paying back the infrastructure costs that GUI has accumulated in order to execute our vision for the Kampung. We intend to do everything in our capacity to thrive during this period and we will be seeking an extension to the lease.


Cost breakdown

Total (current costs) S$1,471,661
(Written off)
Infrastructure cost S$426,661
Operational costs (18 months projection) S$720,000
Reserves for land reinstatement S$500,000

We do not intend to be dependent solely on community sponsorship for financial sustainability. This is how we intend to recoup our costs and keep GUI running:

Education Partners & Consultation14%

Venue Rental6%


Programmes & Products45%

Community Sponsorship (You!)20%

Over the past ten years from 2008 to 2018, Ground-Up Initiative (GUI) has transformed lives in diverse ways because of its open, inclusive and multi-disciplinary approach. People of a wide spectrum come together to participate in various activities – in the process shaping careers, fostering leadership, confidence and courage, teaching skills much needed for a climate change driven future, nurturing a sense of rootedness to Singapore, among many other transformative stories:


8 years or so ago, a team of amazing people invested a lot more than one month’s worth of their time, energy, creativity and persistence to build a space that has shaped my life and career in Singapore. They invested in a future that I am benefiting from today, and I’d like a future for myself and the people I care for here, where a space and place like GUI exists in Singapore. Kia Jiehui, Sustainability Advisor


Touchwood is a hidden gem in Singapore’s concrete jungle. Any parent who understands the importance of passing on values to their children such as a can-do attitude, problem-solving, tinkering, creative thinking and innovating will appreciate the unique opportunities that a place like Touchwood offers.” Pang Chiaw Yong, Educator & Mother


“I am a Singaporean. I am benefiting from this nation and her opportunities. I want to ensure we continue to survive and thrive. We need a future ready mindset, an attitude to excel as a nation in this complex world. GUI provides this possibility to nurture and inspire an alternative. At the same time, to impart the values of rootedness and resilience. To inspire the attitude of adaptability and enterprise. To harness the power of community and diversity. To create growth and harmony with each other, community, and with Nature.” – Tai Xu Hong, head of WOW Kampung

More Stories

Wanna share your stories? Use #KeepKampungAlive on your preferred social media! 

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