Project Happy Feet Slipper Race 2016 raised more than $26,000 for children in poverty.
“In 5, 4, 3, 2, 1! Let’s walk!” Project Happy Feet Slippers Race 2016 began at the sound of the horn.
Held on Dec 10, the race was organized for the first time by Soule, a social enterprise with a mission to help underprivileged children in China, and co-organised by SAFRA Punggol. The fundraising event aimed to raise funds and increase awareness for children in poverty.
Project Happy Feet was started in 2009 by two working professionals, Deborah Chew and Grace Chia, who witnessed the poor conditions of the schools in Cambodia during a trip and decided to help. Held in a new location this year—the Slipper Race has traditionally been held at East Coast Park— the race featured a 3.5 km non-competitive scenic walk at the Punggol Waterway behind the SAFRA Punggol building. A carnival was also held at the race village.
More than 800 participants in slippers showed up at SAFRA Punggol on the Saturday morning. Over $26,000 was raised through registration fees and carnival sales that day and Soule pledged 100 percent to Beyond Social Services and This Life Cambodia, two charities that focus on helping children get back to school. To date, the Slipper Race has raised $300,000 to support over 4,000 children from Singapore, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Nepal.
City News spoke to Soule’s co-founder, John Tay, on the meaningful race.
Why did Soule take over the running of the Slipper Race this year (2016)?
The PHF Slipper Race has been around for eight years and has gone through many interpretations. We at Soule felt that it was a good fit to organize and sponsor the event as we are a company that sells flip-flops. PHF’s mission also matches our passion for reducing barriers to education for children.
Why a 3.5 km walk?
Children in rural areas have to journey between 3 to 6 km to get to school daily. So our idea was to simulate that experience. A 3.5km walk is also a more manageable distance for all ages to come and join and make a difference.
The design element for this year’s PHF Slipper Race on the marketing collaterals are very special this year! What was the thought process behind it?
The design of PHF Slipper Race 2016 was done pro-bono by Nout Studio, owned by Ivan Woo, a member of City Harvest Church. He is also the designer of the SG50 logo that you saw throughout 2015.
This year’s theme centers around the concept of music and uses elements that are instantly recognizable. We thought about using the symbols of a music player—Play, Pause, Record and Stop—to represent what we wanted participants to experience through the race.
“Play” is to have a good time at PHF; “Pause” is to always pause to help others; “Record” is to record the moments with your loved ones; and lastly, “Stop” is to stop and enjoy the moment.
What are some of the challenges you faced in organizing the Slipper Race?
It was extremely challenging for our team as we are not events-trained. Not only that, the event was fully run by volunteers, mainly university students who were having their finals while preparing for the event.
But thank God, we overcame with the support of many friends and also companies who gave their time and resources to mentor our young team.
Can you share more with us what keeps you and your passion towards community going?
I’ve always known God as a Savior who isn’t afraid to get involved and is ever-ready to be a Light in the darkness. It’s more than just doing good works in society but is about having a relationship that understands God came for the lost and broken and we ought to bring the light of Christ into the places of the community.
Can you share a quote to encourage those who wants to make a change in the community as well?
Matshona Dhilwayo (author of The Little Book Of Inspiration) said, “Light cannot enter a dark room without illuminating it.”
You should never stop believing that every time you avail yourself to serve–be it in church or in the community—God’s light within you will make a difference where you shine it!