For 8th birthday, boy raises money for ST fund for kids

For his birthday this year, David Jap started a crowdfunding campaign and asked party guests to donate to The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund for needy children.
For his birthday this year, David Jap started a crowdfunding campaign and asked party guests to donate to The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund for needy children.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

Instead of the 40 to 50 presents he gets each year, David Jap received only a few for his recent eighth birthday. But he was more than happy about it.

The River Valley Primary School pupil, with the help of his mother Helen Tjam, 37, started a campaign on crowdfunding website Giving.sg on June 17, to raise funds for The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund (STSPMF).

He tapped his birthday party guests for help.

The campaign has since raised about $1,700, more than twice its goal of $800, and the money will go directly to STSPMF.

Madam Tjam, a financial consultant, told The Straits Times: "David would receive so many gifts each year - books, Lego sets, stationery, nerf guns, soft toys and more."

Instead of telling his birthday party guests what David's preference of gifts were, links to the crowdfunding page were sent to his friends' parents. At least 20 made donations.

Madam Tjam said she came across a video about an STSPMF beneficiary named Ronn who would drink water during recess as he could not afford meals. She showed it to David, who asked why Ronn was in such a situation.

David said: "I didn't know there were children who could not buy food. I was touched. Now I feel happy and thankful that I can help them."

Madam Tjam said: "I hope to instil a sense of giving in my boy. There are people in need. We need to be generous and gracious, to help the community and give back to society." She added that for the past two years, he has donated most of his birthday gifts to a Batam orphanage.

"So I asked him if instead of receiving birthday presents this year, his birthday present would be raising money for STSPMF, and he readily agreed."

David still had his birthday party, which took place at Bounce Singapore, an indoor trampoline park, on June 30. "I still received a few presents," he said cheerily.

The STSPMF provides pocket money to children from needy families to help with school-related expenses. Since 2000, it has helped more than 160,000 beneficiaries and disbursed over $61 million.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 16, 2018, with the headline 'For 8th birthday, boy raises money for ST fund for kids'. Print Edition | Subscribe