In lieu of birthday gifts, Elijah Ng got his friends to donate prescription eyewear for myopic children in Medan.
Contributed By Theresa Tan
The slim young man turned 15 this evening, but he carried himself like someone twice his age. Elijah Ted Ng, possibly the youngest social entrepreneur in Singapore with his business Art With A HeART, outdid himself at his birthday party at K-Box Cineleisure. Instead of presents, he invited friends and family to attend his party for a good cause: Project Vision 2011.
“Like the Bible teaches: ‘Without vision, people perish’. These kids are entitled to have vision and a future. Since October 2010, we have been looking for open doors in various countries. My initial target was China, but after speaking to Kenneth Sim, who volunteers with CityCare, we found out Medan is very receptive to our initiative.”
At the party (the venue was sponsored by K-Box), guests were greeted by a friendly team of “volunteer salespeople”. On sale, with all proceeds going to Project Vision, were spectacle frames for S$50. For every pair of glasses bought, one pair of prescription glasses would be donated to a needy child.
Guests could also buy Ng’s paintings, which ranged from S$100 to S$500. The paintings saw brisk sales.
Kelvin Low snapped up a painting of a person praying against a rainbow-colored sky. “It’s called Colorful Prayer. I find it so meaningful, because when we pray for others, when we talk to God, our prayers have colors.”
Couple Terence Tay and Elaine Xu picked one with two people holding hands in prayer. “That’s us,” they grinned.
Julie Poh, Project Chairman of the Young Outstanding Singaporean Award had met Ng the week before at his cart store at PaTH at Vivocity. “I sat and painted, and I watched Elijah talking to his friend who was also painting. He was counseling his friend about something. I think he is a rare young man—through his business he is also helping others to heal. It’s amazing.”
Poh bought a painting that featured the word “Hope” on a bed of clouds. “I’d been eyeing it the whole night, I knew I had to get it or I’ll be thinking about it all week.”
Ng’s godmother is the passionate promoter of social enterprise, Elim Chew. “I am always very encouraged by my godma,” said Ng. “Her love for people has taught me to always remember others.”
“He came up with Project Vision entirely on his own,” said the President of 77th Street, with no small amount of pride. During an auction that evening, Chew bought the most expensive piece of the evening: a painting of a heart flying above dark clouds.
Project Vision is Ng’s fifth fundraiser, and possibly his most ambitious—he hopes to help children in China and Africa within five years. The student says his passion for helping the community was sparked by his first effort, a visit to the children at Melrose Home Children’s Aid Society. “That visit greatly impacted me. The smiles and friendship from the kids were priceless—I was very blessed by them. I am thankful that God has blessed me with a loving family, a great church and awesome friends. I hope those kids will also grow up to have people to be grateful for.”
Art With A HeART is working with professional opticians in Medan on this project. “We hope to achieve two things: one, to fit myopic children with proper spectacles so they can read and write easily, and two, to bring economy into the country by supporting the local business.”
Ng’s parents buy into their son’s vision. “Helping these children to see is very important. We believe among these kids, there may be a future great man or woman, a wise president, an awesome minister, a world changer. All they need is an opportunity, someone to believe in them.”
By the end of the night, a total of 17 paintings were sold, and 33 pairs of glasses adopted by guests for the children—the total takings of that evening will provide 166 children with prescription glasses.
How You Can Support The Vision:
So far, Elijah Ng has raised S$5,000 of his S$15,000 target for Project Vision 2011. You can contribute to his efforts by viewing and buying his original paintings at www.artwithaheart.sg.