Sharity's making a comeback in schools

Celebrating Sharity Day at the River Safari with the mascot yesterday were (from left) Wildlife Reserves Singapore CEO Mike Barclay, Acting Minister for Education (Schools) Ng Chee Meng, Community Chest chairman Phillip Tan, vice-chairman Chew Kwee S
Celebrating Sharity Day at the River Safari with the mascot yesterday were (from left) Wildlife Reserves Singapore CEO Mike Barclay, Acting Minister for Education (Schools) Ng Chee Meng, Community Chest chairman Phillip Tan, vice-chairman Chew Kwee San and primary school pupils.ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG

The cuddly pink ComChest mascot reminds pupils to do good as part of school lessons

Sharity, the pink elephant in blue dungarees, is back in schools.

After falling out of the limelight in the past decade or so, the cuddly creature with a big heart is back to teach children to care and share.

The Community Chest mascot - a combination of the words "share" and "charity" - was first introduced in 1984. Many Singaporeans who grew up in the 1980s and 1990s remember fondly how Sharity had encouraged them in their school years to donate funds.

Sharity stopped being as active in public outreach from 2008. However, since last year, with support from the Ministry of Education, the mascot has gone to schools to remind Primary 3 pupils to do good, as part of character and citizenship education (CCE) lessons.

More than 72,000 pupils took part in a pilot in which they recorded good actions at home, in school and the community. Under a yearly scheme, Primary 3 pupils who complete six deeds from June to July receive a Sharity collar pin.

Sharity has been brought back in a bid to reach out to the young, after the success of the Care & Share Movement started in 2013 by ComChest to encourage donations and volunteering. It ended in March this year.

An animation series starring Sharity and his friends - the first of its kind - and a website on the mascot will be launched in December.

On Children's Day on Friday, Primary 1 pupils will be given a fun pack with stickers to record acts such as chatting with grandparents and sharing toys with siblings.

Parents can also write notes to affirm their children's actions, or donate to more than 80 charities under the Community Chest - the fund-raising arm of the National Council of Social Service - via an envelope in the pack.

Yesterday, more than 750 pupils gathered at the River Safari to celebrate Sharity Day, jointly organised by Community Chest and Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

 

Mr Ng Chee Meng, Acting Minister for Education (Schools), the guest of honour, said such initiatives will encourage the young to care for people around them.

Ms Sugunaiswari Gopynathan, a CCE teacher in Sengkang Green Primary School, said as society advances and amid busy schedules, "we don't always see people in need".

"Kids need to be taught how to help others."

Kenji Lim, nine, of Da Qiao Primary School, has helped his mother to wash dishes. "I don't really like doing it, but it's good to help my mum."

His Primary 3 schoolmate Nadhirah Nur Shaira Izhar, also nine, liked Sharity's story - he was kind to his friends even though they mocked him for being pink and different.

She learnt to be kind to others too, giving up a seat on the bus for a senior. "The auntie looked very tired. It felt awesome to help someone in need and put a smile on her face."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 01, 2016, with the headline 'Sharity's making a comeback in schools'. Print Edition | Subscribe