IMPACT 0107: BEAUTY FROM PAIN
Laurene Chung, 22, is a student at the Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) in the Public Safety and Security program. She has a passion for contributing to society in any way, especially in the areas of inequality, peace, justice and building strong institutions.
She is active in volunteerism, donating and starting a social movement against bullying all with her start up, Allauring.
Tell us more about what you do at Allauring!
Allauring is a charitable platform with a social cause. Our tagline is “where meaningful stories are told with class”. We seek to empower individuals who have experienced social discrimination and bullying to come forth and share their stories.
These stories are then integrated into various hand-crafted jewellery designs. These designs are produced according to themes or have been inspired by compelling stories on overcoming bullying. Proceeds are then donated to charitable organisations I resonate with, such as those that support youths who have been bullied.
Hence, the brand serves as a reminder that we should not only think of ourselves but others too. We hope to remould people’s mindsets and create a better societal environment for all.
What inspired you to start Allauring?
In secondary school, I was bullied badly for two consecutive years. I was intimidated and teased, labelled something that I was not, and had my name tarnished by malicious rumours. I felt humiliated, helpless and alone.
Afraid to stand up for myself, I hid what I was going through from my family. It hurt. A lot. I watched my whole world come crashing down and my mind was filled with suicidal thoughts. But in the face of my predicament, it hit me that the only person that could save me was myself.
Having been a victim of cyber, social, and verbal bullying, I did not want to just let my past fade away, but instead, share my story and reach out to those who are going through or have gone through similar experiences, on top of doing something about this issue.
Singapore was ranked third highest globally in 2017 for the rate of bullying, and I want to make a change to this.
Combining my lived experiences with my passion for entrepreneurship, I founded Allauring as part of a final year project during my time at Singapore Polytechnic.
Were there any challenges you faced with the start up?
The greatest struggle I faced was financing issues. Having to pump in my own money into the business at the age of 19 was tough. Despite my family members offering financial help to facilitate the expansion of Allauring, I was determined to do this independently.
As such, I had to work for the money I needed. Whilst schooling full-time, I took on a job to cope with Allauring’s expenses. This was necessary as I had to test out various materials and designs before marketing it publicly.
Another difficult thing was sharing my personal stories of being bullied, which often left me in tears. However, fast forward to today, I am proud to say that I can confidently share what I have gone through.
What keeps you going when things get tough?
Knowing that many people are being bullied or have been bullied and yet remain quiet about this issue strongly motivates me to do something about it. Whether in big or small ways, if I can get my message across and spread the word, I know that I am doing something meaningful with my life. I hope that our local communities will work together hand-in-hand in educating students about the preconceived notions of being a bully and being a victim of bullying.
What other efforts are you involved in currently?
Besides Allauring, I am also active in addressing issues regarding inequality, peace, justice, and building strong institutions as an SUSS student. I am part of a larger team in student-led ground-up initiatives targeted at establishing a safe space for opinions to be exchanged and for people of all walks of life to have a say in such topics, which are not explicitly addressed here in our local landscape.
I would like to encourage anyone who resonates with these social causes to believe in yourself and get the ball rolling. Let’s strive towards a more inclusive, harmonious, and peace-loving nation together!