Contributed by Valerie Wang
While most kids might find parting with their old toys and books a painful experience, nine-year-old Keefe Liew was more than happy to sell his off at the Junior Trade Fair organized by City Harvest Children’s Church (CCH) held at the Singapore Expo, Hall 8 on 31 October 2009.
The Junior Trade Fair aimed to encourage entrepreneurship in the young, as well as to inculcate a spirit of giving from a young age. Proceed from the sales went directly to City Harvest Church’s building fund.
“My parents and I felt that this was a good opportunity to give to the church and besides, I’ve never used any of these items which were just sitting at home,” says the Primary Three Ponggol Primary School student who brought water guns, pencil cases, bags, CDs, CD holders and magnets to be sold in the fair.
A total of more than 400 children aged seven to 12 participated in the fair held in accordance with the monthly elective programs organized by CCH. Past elective programs include music, art, grooming workshops and talks by doctors and entrepreneurs.
Lynn Tan, Zone Supervisor for CCH explains, “We aim to help the children adopt an attitude of giving. They could either make a craft to sell, or donate some of their own usable items that are in a good condition, for sale. It is a great opportunity for them to learn about entrepreneurship by raising funds to build God a house.”
Crafts and items were sold from booths manned by some of the children while others milled around carrying boxes of cookies and sweets, cajoling cooperative church-goers to buy them. These entrepreneurs-in-training must have been very convincing, as so far, they have raised approximately S$1,000 for the building fund in the first week of this two-week long event.
Said Silas Tan, a 39-year-old accountant, “I think they are doing a good job especially with the crafts. The home-made photo frames were really well done. This is truly a good introduction to entrepreneurship for the kids, and I’m glad to purchase something since it’s going to the building fund.”
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Janet Chew, whose daughter Bess was also selling her old toys, agreed with Tan saying: “This has been a great experience for my daughter and she’s been so occupied with planning what she wanted to sell so as to do her part in contributing to the fair.”
However, the insight into the business world was not all fun and games for some of the children who experienced the bitter taste of rejection for the first time.
Bryan Lim, a nine-year-old Wellington Primary School student says: “I have found out that it’s very difficult to be a businessman! I had to interest the customers in buying from me while wishing I had more time to talk to them as they were either rushing off to find a seat or rushing off to go home.”
“But I did help raise about S$10 for the church so I can’t wait to do this again!”