The Halal Travel Podcast | Zulhaqem Zulkifli: On Pursuing a Masters in Buddhism and Giving Back with Project Hills

By Halal Trip | 07, May, 2021

In this episode, we spoke with Zulhaqem Zulkifli as he tells us his touching stories of growing up, his unconventional education journey and Project Hills.

Upon graduating with a Bachelor's Degree in Philosophy at Nanyang Technological University Singapore, Zulhaqem earned the highly coveted Public Service Commission scholarship to further his Masters in Buddhist Studies at Oxford's St Peter's College. His choice of studies has raised eyebrows so we asked him what motivated him to choose the path less traveled. His journey was not an easy one, having experienced homelessness at one point which contributed to the creation of Project Hills - a ground-up initiative that provides assistance to residents of rental housing. We hope you love this episode and Zulhaqem as much as we do!


What to Listen For

  • Zulhaqem's humble background — On being from a difficult background, being homeless, and facing other struggles
  • What kept him going?
  • An unconventional academic journey
  • No Tuition, no problem — Family problems and their effect on his studies
  • ITE or Millenia Institute?
  • Ditching the "Singapore Dream"
  • Juggling A-Levels and O-Level maths
  • NTU Philosophy — Facing the haters
  • First exposure to Buddhist Philosophy — Interesting viewpoints and deep-diving into Islam 
  • "Without great doubt, there cannot be great faith"
  • Existential questions and being a role model to his siblings
  • Finding spiritual guidance — Going to Asatizahs 
  • Project Hills — The formation and the reasons for it
  • Being the voice of the poor — Coming from a position that truly understands the beneficiaries
  • Formalizing Project Hills — inviting the community into the family operations
  • Capitalizing the power of Social Media — Every dollar counts
  • COVID-19, Circuit Breaker — Helping people in the "Panic Buying" phase
  • Working with other social service organizations — Bridging the beneficiaries with the help they need
  • The operations of Project Hills — How Project Hills is helping its beneficiaries
  • Working towards democratization of knowledge
  • How you can help! — Good for working professionals
  • Celebrating Ramadan and Eid in Oxford, United Kingdom — Celebrating with the Muslim community there


Selected Links From the Episode

Project Hills
Instagram |  Facebook |


Halal Travel Podcast

The Halal Travel Podcast hosted by Hazirah, Nurul, and Raudha as they talk candidly about travel, food, life, and everything else in between and sometimes with awesome guests! Listen to moving and inspirational stories from our guests from all walks of life.

Check out The Halal Travel Podcast page here!

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