28 May 2008 Messages of Love and Support to Children of the Sichuan Earthquake
More than 500 children and parents from SSA and Ba’alwi Mosque were present at the SSA Headquarters on the evening of May 28 to pen their love and well-wishes on message tags for the children of the earthquake-affected in Sichuan. A message tag will accompany each of the 1,500 play packs in this initial batch, 500 of which are funded by the Ba’alwi Mosque. A total of some 2,000 hand-written messages from the children were collected through the night’s efforts. The evening’s programme also included video snapshots of the twin disasters and Soka Junior Choir presenting songs of hope to all.
Homegrown pop singer, Stefanie Sun, was present to pen her own messages of hope on some of the tags and to help the children present with their little creations. It is hoped that these messages of love and support will encourage the Sichuan children as June 1, the much celebrated Children’s Day in China, approaches.
Stefanie, who won the ‘Most Popular Artiste – Singapore’ at the MTV Asia Music Awards for 4 years consecutively (2002-2005) and ‘Best Regional Artiste – Singapore’ at the Chinese Music Awards in 2006 and 2007, will personally distribute the initial batch of 1500 Play Packs to schoolchildren in Mianyang Prefecture (绵阳市) and Dujiangyan (都江堰) over the coming weekend. She has travelled with Mercy Relief before as its goodwill ambassador to tsunami-hit Meulaboh, Aceh in 2005.
This is part of the relief efforts that the SSA has supported Mercy Relief in its humanitarian work for Myanmar and China. SSA has mobilized volunteers and provided the use of the facilities during this acute phase of the twin disasters in Asia for the storage and packing of relief supplies bound for both countries. Having previously raised S$48,000 for the relief effort in Myanmar, SSA raised some $148,000 for the victims of the Sichuan earthquake.
One of the main challenges in crisis zones is to restore normalcy to the lives of children. This includes upholding a child’s right to play – a right recognized by Article 31 of the UN Convention on the Rights of a Child. Through this contribution, Mercy Relief hopes to offer comfort and rehabilitation to the children caught in this disaster.
Project Play Pack is an initiative of Mercy Relief’s launched in 2005 after the tsunami disaster. Each Play Pack comprises a reusable backpack with essentials for school such as stationery and recreational items – such as art materials – and simple toys and games. These Play Packs will not only help children go back to school, but also cater to their need to play.