Small Hands, Big Hearts

Taking the path less trodden by others, Chong Yawen celebrated her seventh birthday in late March by fundraising for the Singapore Red Cross' (SRC) Gaza Response. She raised $325 for the Gaza Humanitarian Response, exemplifying kindness and generosity beyond her years. Her efforts to canvass for donations is an inspiration for others to do the same, for a good cause. 

Chong Yawen celebrated her seventh birthday on 29 March 2024, by taking the path less trodden, engaging in a meaningful activity that touched the hearts of many. Instead of requesting for toys, stationeries and other gifts, she set up a donation box at her party, Yawen rallied her friends to contribute monetarily towards Singapore Red Cross' (SRC) Gaza Response. 

Doing good for humanity is not something new for Yawen. Following in her mother's footsteps, Yawen has actively participated in charity work, distributing groceries to lower-income families monthly together with her mother, Lin Xiaojun, 38. 

The Importance of Counting Our Blessings

Besides that, Xiaojun has been an active volunteer who has undertaken overseas service learning trips in countries such as Cambodia and Myanmar. 

Reflecting on her experiences, she emphasises the importance of embracing gratitude, and counting our blessings in life.

"It is easy to overlook the things and people we have in our lives. Having witnessed the living conditions in the countries I visited firsthand, I saw people in less fortunate situations deriving great appreciation from life's simple pleasures. Now, I understand the importance of cherishing and counting our blessings, even the slightest joys. It made me realise that no man is an island. We are all interconnected in the tapestry of life," Xiaojun said. 

Helping Communities Affected by the Conflict in Gaza

Learning of the destruction of homes and lives lost amid the conflict in Gaza between Israel and Palestinian factions, Xiaojun encouraged Yawen to lend a helping hand in aid of communities affected by the conflict. 

"I told Yawen that there are people who are suffering due to the war in Gaza. They have not enough food. Many lost their homes and families. I urged her to do something for her birthday. Instead of her friends giving her presents, they can donate to the people in Gaza," Xiaojun said. 

Being compassionate, Yawen's heart went out to the people affected by the conflict in Gaza. She found joy and meaning in lending a helping hand and making a difference on her birthday. 

"The people in Gaza live in challenging conditions. I do not want them to face those struggles alone. I am happy to help them on my birthday," Yawen said. 

Heartened by the Outpouring of Support

To ensure that everyone had the opportunity to donate, Yawen carried the donation box around the party as she canvassed for donations. At the end of her birthday party, she raised $325 for the Gaza Humanitarian Response, exemplifying kindness and generosity beyond her years. 

Thankfully, the entire process, from planning to the execution, had been seamless. Xiaojun conveyed Yawen's birthday plan to the parents of Yawen's friends. Yawen embraced the opportunity to help others, driven by her desire to help people affected by the crisis.

Everyone showed a willingness to participate and donate. Xiaojun found fulfilment in this meaningful initiative. 

"It was heartening to see the children dip into their savings to contribute to the noble cause. It affirmed my belief that one is never too young to make a difference in helping others," Xiaojun said. 

Contributing to Gaza was not Yawen's maiden attempt to help the people affected by crises. In 2023, Yawen contributed her red packets for Lunar New Year to Singapore Red Cross' Türkiye-Syria earthquake response.

Imbuing Positive Values in Children From Young

As a parent, Xiaojun envisions such experiences as important facets integral to Yawen's development. 

"I hope that Yawen will embrace the spirit of generosity, kindness and compassion, that she remains mindful of the needs of others even amid her special occasions. These core traits will foster a gracious community where kindness abound," Xiaojun said. 

Xiaojun holds the conviction that age is no barrier to making an impact. 

"I encourage everyone to cultivate fundraising habits from young, ensuring they carry them into adulthood. There are numerous ways to help the less fortunate apart from fundraising, including donating old clothes, household items, volunteering, and more," Xiaojun said. 

Yawen's initiative to fundraise for Gaza amid her birthday exemplifies one of the ways that children can contribute to our society, notwithstanding their youth. 

By Sulis Binte Muhamad Juffery, Intern, Marketing & Communications

Copyedited by Sondra Foo, Marketing & Communications

Keen to help vulnerable communities but not sure how you can contribute? Uplift the lives of persons with disabilities, vulnerable families, isolated elderly and young children in Singapore through our annual fundraiser, Grateful Hearts Day 2024! Stay tuned for more exciting updates!