Kids raise $150k for charity

20,000 pre-school kids spend 500,000 hours on projects over 6 months

One is never too young to do good.

Chloe Ng, six, and her Kinderland school mates baked cookies and designed cookie jars earlier this year, not for their own enjoyment but to raise money to conserve pangolins.

"My daddy has driven near forests before and I tell him to slow down so he won't hit pangolins," said Chloe. She and her friends raised about $13,000 towards efforts to conserve the scaly endangered species at the Singapore Zoo.

The Kinderland kids are among some 20,000 children from more than 300 pre-schools involved in the Start Small Dream Big initiative to encourage children to give back to society. In total, the children contributed over 500,000 hours to community projects, raising more than $150,000 for charity in the past six months.

The time spent was a five-fold increase from the first run of the initiative by the Early Childhood Development Agency last year, when over 8,000 children took part. The amount raised was also higher than last year's $100,000.

The funds raised this year went to beneficiaries of the President's Challenge, and other community groups including the St John's Home for Elderly Persons and Children's Cancer Foundation.

Their projects were showcased at the Start Small Dream Big finale at the Singapore Sports Hub yesterday, in conjunction with Children's Day. The event, attended by more than 10,000 people, included a carnival to raise funds for the President's Challenge.

Said President Tony Tan Keng Yam: "The project has given our children small but invaluable opportunities to make positive changes to the world around them, and taught them to dream big."

Part of the President's Challenge, an annual series of fund- raising and volunteer activities to help beneficiaries selected by the President's Office, the initiative aims to instil in children the spirit of giving, and positive values such as kindness and compassion.

The children's projects ranged from raising funds for charity to interacting with seniors.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 08, 2016, with the headline 'Kids raise $150k for charity'. Print Edition | Subscribe