In the month of April, schools in Singapore celebrated International Friendship day to commemorate and nurture in the students, the spirit of friendship and collaboration, and to enhance their understanding and relationship with their neighbouring countries and beyond.
However, one particular school went a step further by leveraging on this significant day to inculcate a sense of empathy in students for marginalised and abused children.
On April 17, Hagar Singapore was invited by Swiss Cottage Secondary School to conduct a talk during their assembly program for their Lower Secondary students. The purpose was simple – to create awareness in the students the plight of suffering children in developing countries where children of their age or younger are going through extreme abuse and exploitation. Children who are stripped of their freedom and dignity.
The presentation started with a reflective question posed to the students – “How are you feeling today”? Happy? Sad? Bored, frustrated or angry? As expected, the replies returned were mostly anything but happy.
The latest 2012 study done by the Happy Planet Index (HPI) showed that Singaporeans aren’t that happy people with Singapore being ranked at a low 90th place out of 151 countries. And this is in spite of our country being a developed nation with great access to resources, which begs the question – “What gives happiness? How then can we live a full and meaningful life?”
As the presentation went on, the initial loud and restless chatter in the hall gradually dissipated as the students watched and listened to heartbreaking real life stories of children who are trafficked, sold and abused. It was evident that a growing concern had slowly crept into many hearts and by the end of the assembly talk, they were ready for the challenge to make a difference in someone’s life.
In fact, earlier before the talk, Teacher Khilfina rallied the students to pool together donations to provide education through “Catch-up School Scholarships” to survivor victims of trafficking.
“Our students have a special heart for Cambodian children especially those from Level 3N and 3T. Every year, we bring groups of students on community service trips to Cambodia so that they can experience life beyond themselves, beyond Singapore,” said Teacher Khilfina.
Thank you, students of Swiss Cottage Secondary School! Your labor of love to needy children is a mark of true friendship! And happiness comes when you are able to help someone in need with however much or little you have.
If you are an educator, partner with Hagar Singapore by inviting us to do a school talk or discuss how you can contribute in other ways. Click here to contact us!