Students raise funds for the Handicaps Welfare Association in their own unique ways.
Contributed By Lim Jie Min
|CN PHOTO: Gay Sen Min|
Love transcends geographical boundaries, precedes self and embraces others—especially in the case of six foreign students from Balestier Hill Secondary School, who came together to raise funds for the Handicaps Welfare Association.
Led by Yeo Eun Ji, a 17-year-old student from South Korea, the group comprised students from Indonesia as well as South Africa. Though they are only teenagers, these youngsters put aside their differing cultural backgrounds and banded together for a good cause. Through practical actions, they demonstrated love and care for the disabled in another country’s community.
It started from a regular school Community Involvement Programme, where the students were attached to HWA for community work. Having completed what was required of them, the students were so inspired by their mission with HWA that they did not just stop there. Instead, they continued the community spirit and went on to register with Youth for Causes 2010. They submitted a proposal on a fund raising activity and were one of the 100 teams that were shortlisted from more than 200 teams.
After an interview, their team was one of the teams chosen to carry out their proposed activity under an initial funding of S$1,600 from HWA. Using the funds, the innovative youngsters bought two Polaroid cameras and film, materials to make hand-made cards, as well as rented a tiger costume for a mascot. The costume, revealed the students, was partially sponsored by Joan Walker Costume Company, allowing them to save over S$100. With no Singaporean in the group, the students were afraid that passers-by may not be able to understand their accents; so the thoughtful youngsters made boards explaining their intention and purpose.
Armed with their purchases, the students staked out various venues, including Plaza Singapura mall, the Merlion Park and East Coast Park every Saturday for their fund raising activity, which lasted four months, from May 28 to Sep. 12.
Taking turns to wear the mascot costume every week, the students braved the sweltering heat and went around inviting passers-by to take Polaroid pictures. Passers-by could choose to take the pictures with or without the mascot. For just S$5, they would get a Polaroid picture with a handmade card. For an additional cost, people could choose to write their well-wishes to the handicapped on a t-shirt.
City News accompanied the students on a Saturday afternoon at Plaza Singapura.
Passers-by were perspiring under the hot sun as Indah Cristian, one of the group members, proceeded to put on the tiger costume. The 16-year-old Indonesian remained cheerful despite the unbearable heat inside the outfit. She said chirpily, “The response is better with the mascot. Without it, we can hardly attract any attention.”
True enough, children were soon attracted to the tiger. Many of the parents responded to having a Polaroid picture taken of their children with the mascot, with much persuasion from the children, naturally. There was even a small boy who ran towards the tiger and refused to let go of its paw despite much coaxing.
In less than a quarter of an hour, nine Polaroid shots were taken and sold.
HWA Needs Your Creative Ideas
The Handicaps Welfare Association was founded to promote self-help and provide mutual support for the disabled in Singapore. To date, HWA has grown to reach out to over 1,700 members. Besides awarding bursaries, scholarships, subsidies and grants to enhance educational opportunities, HWA is constantly on the lookout for ways to create awareness of the special needs of the disabled and to raise funds to aid in their independence and quality of life.
If you have a creative idea on how to help HWA raise funds, log on to www.hwa.org.sg and pitch your fund-raising game plan.