Message from our Leaders
As you may have known by now, we are embarking on the task of making additions and alterations to the Ang Mo Kio Home located at 503 Ang Mo Kio Street 13. It is located adjacent to CHIJ St Nicholas School. The completion of this project will fulfil our vision of the IJHCC Village of Hope.
We have put aside small amounts of savings over the years and put them into reserves. We took months of discussion, prayers and discernment before we could pluck up the courage and commit ourselves to the project.
The bugbear of course is the funding. We have a reserve of about 1.5 million dollars and very little fund raising experience. Remarkably, for 150 years or more we have thrived on donations and goodwill even as we grow in outreach and the provision of services and programmes.
The IJ Sisters are very encouraging. They stand by us firmly, placing their faith in us, believing that we remained called to the mission.
So we are now up and about seeing people, talking to regular donors and benefactors and writing to corporate bodies.
Throughout these activities and interactions, we were frequently asked: “Are your CHIJ Schools helping?” “Where are your CHIJ Alumni and what are the CHIJ old girls doing about this?”
We realise that if we are to convince more of the corporate bodies and other “un-related” people to come to our cause we have to show first our own “home” support.
We have begun to actively cultivate CHIJ contacts.
But we have to understand the position of the schools. Many of them are still raising money for their school building funds. As the schools are essentially secular, in other words, the school population is made up of children from diverse faiths and different religions, whatever money raised for charitable purposes would have to be decided by their respective fund-raising committees. Often, the money can go to provide school bursaries and scholarships, various projects and many other charities. Sometimes it might not seem right to donate always to IJHCC.
CHIJ Toa Payoh, both the primary and the secondary schools, at a recent fun fair and festival day raised more than $35,000 and donated it to IJHCC. They have been doing it for a few years now. The bond that tied the Orphanage and the School on the same premises on Victoria Street, still bind despite being separated by locations now.
CHIJ Katong Primary raised more than $20,000 for our building fund. They too are one of our regular benefactors.
Many old IJ girls we connected with made voluntary donations in small and big amounts through our website at SG Gives.
One group of CHIJ old girls belonging to the year of 1961 (the year they did their ‘O’ Levels) in celebrating their 50th anniversary are going to have their dinner celebrations in July. And they will do so with great joy because they will also come together to raise money for The IJ Village. The leader of the organizing committee told me that they were mostly retired ladies and therefore would not be able to promise millions. But they are able to gather about 60 from that vintage year! In mid-June they passed me a note that they had in hand some $20,000. By the time of the dinner, who knows?!
I had lunch recently with an old girl from CHIJ St Joseph’s. She had just returned to Singapore from USA. During lunch, she told me that she was actually looking for a job here because she had resigned from her senior corporate position. I told her about my IJ Village story. Without hesitation, she wanted to give $1000 to the project. Knowing her present situation, I could not possibly accept. She asked that it be put down as a pledge as she was confident that she would be head-hunted soon.
I am sure as the days go by, I will have more CHIJ alumni and old girl anecdotes to tell. I hope they will inspire more from the CHIJ fraternity to come forward. I wish more corporate bodies will believe that we are not just leaning on them. Many hands have thus far joined with us to build the IJ Village.
One old IJ girl friend called me and asked me what would happen if I could not raise enough to meet the budgeted sum. I told her I had not thought about it. “You would be sued,” she warned. Could they? Would you let them? I trust in Him and the IJ Sisters are always praying for me and for the IJHCC mission.
Ow Chee Kin