Looking for a worthy cause to donate your time to, mama? Singapore charity First Hand gives 100% of its fundraising profits to children in Cambodia.
Please welcome Miriam Heatherich, President of First Hand, to share a bit more about this inspiring Singapore charity organisation. Dedicated to improving the lives of children in Cambodia with a primary focus on supporting children who are vulnerable to trafficking, First Hand identifies local charities on the ground that don’t receive adequate funding from larger organisations, offering the practical and concrete support they need. Many of their fundraising efforts are accomplished through fun and fabulous events held right here in Singapore!
My first contact with First Hand was 3 years ago. I joined the First Hand committee 18 months ago, motivated to make a difference, but not expecting the difference also to be made to me as a person. It has been inspiring to meet women who have selflessly donated their money and time to a variety of projects for more than 8 years.
Personally, I knew very little about Cambodia before I became involved with First Hand. While I knew a little about the Pol Pot regime and its impact, I was not aware that there was a lasting effect on the Cambodian people. There is an entire generation that has grown up without parents, without a family structure. Somewhere in the last four decades, children’s rights have been forgotten. As Cambodians struggle to find their way, many live with systemic corruption and apathy. In desperate poverty, some Cambodian families are tricked by traffickers into selling their children.
We work with NGOs that rescue and rehabilitate trafficked children – including children with disabilities – after being sold to beg in Thailand. I cannot imagine a more vulnerable group of people than children who are sold by their parents, and due to their disabilities are not even able to escape from their captors.
I believe children are the most valuable asset in the universe and that it is our duty to protect them.
First Hand encourages regular contact with our Cambodian partners riverkids and Damnok Toek, and has enjoyed long-term relationships with these NGO’s. We think it’s important for our supporters to know the First Hand team has ongoing contact with the carers and children.
Not only do 100% of the profits raised go directly to fund projects in Cambodia, but First Hand audits accounts and visits the centers to check the progress of these projects.
We literally take a first-hand approach, making sure the funds are appropriately spent, making sure our Cambodian partners have regular contact with First Hand committee members. Our members and sponsors always feel confident that by helping First Hand they are making maximum impact.
First Hand raises funds for their Cambodia partners through private donation and events. This year saw the fabulous ‘Runway Heroes’ fashion showcase luncheon raise almost $53,000. In October the spectacular Black & White Masquerade Ball hosted 300 guests at the Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza and raised more than $104,000. With dancers, jugglers, both a silent and live auction, a 3-course dinner and of course dancing, it was a wonderful event to celebrate our cause and raise money for these children in need.
The late, great JFK once said: “The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” I believe for good to succeed it must be of an equal or greater force than the evil it intends to overcome.
We call for anyone who wants join this force of goodness, to join our committee for 2016. There is a need for assistance with event organising, graphic design, sponsor liaison and general admin, it’s fun and rewarding. Please contact [email protected] and learn more about our organisation at our website.
Images #4 and #5 via Katie Martin-Sperry Photography