Pupils lend a helping hand to ChildAid

They make toy bears for a second year to raise money for ST and BT charity funds

Pupils of Yu Neng Primary School with the bears they made yesterday. In all, 1,400 pupils, staff and parent volunteers made some 1,600 bears for charity.
Pupils of Yu Neng Primary School with the bears they made yesterday. In all, 1,400 pupils, staff and parent volunteers made some 1,600 bears for charity. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

Yu Neng Primary School pupils broke out the scissors, needles and glue for a morning yesterday, to transform recycled cloth, polyfibre stuffing and buttons into toy bears - all for charity.

At its Bedok North premises, everyone got involved, from pupils across all levels to staff, parent volunteers and even grandparents.

The chairman of the school's parent support group, Madam Heng Sue San, 43, a stay-at-home mum who has two sons studying in Yu Neng, said: "The kids learn simple life skills of sewing. It involves parents. The parents also enjoy being involved in the project with their children."

The first run of the project last year received such great support from pupils' families that, early this year, a grandmother asked the school if the project would return, the school's principal, Mrs Clara Lim-Tan, shared before the mass bear-making session commenced.

In all, 1,400 pupils, staff and parent volunteers participated this year, making some 1,600 bears.

These would be distributed at the Singapore Rhapsodies concert on Aug 27 and at the year-end annual ChildAid concert - to be staged on Nov 18 and 19 at Resorts World Sentosa - to concert-goers who make donations.

Proceeds from ChildAid go to The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund (SPMF), which gives beneficiaries a monthly allowance for school-related expenses, and The Business Times Budding Artists Fund (BTBAF), which helps young people afford lessons in the arts.

UOB boosted the efforts of this year's charity concert yesterday, donating $300,000 through ChildAid to BTBAF. Earlier this year, the bank donated $500,000 to SPMF.

At Yu Neng Primary School, Mr Eric Tham, head of group commercial banking at UOB, presented the cheque to Mr Alvin Tay and Ms Serene Goh, who co-chair the organising committee of ChildAid.

Mr Tay is editor of The Business Times and chairman of the BTBAF; Ms Goh heads The Straits Times Schools department, which produces weekly publications for primary and secondary schools.

Addressing the pupils, Ms Goh spoke of the value of kindness, adding that even while there were mobile applications that encourage people to raise funds for charity or send notes of encouragement to others, "I don't think technology can ever take the place of the human heart and creativity".

She said of the bear project: "You make them (the bears) with your hands, with your heart, and you send them out. And there's a ripple effect that goes much farther than you think."

• For more information on this year's ChildAid: www.facebook.com/childaid

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 06, 2016, with the headline 'Pupils lend a helping hand to ChildAid'. Subscribe