(Source: www.straitstimes.com)

SINGAPORE – Bank officer Deborah Lim has two maids in her home and it may be the reason why her son Sean Neo, four, hardly helped with the household chores.

These days, however, Sean washes his own shoes and dishes, and even asks his mother to give him more chores.

Sean’s transformation came about after his pre-school, PCF Sparkletots Preschool@ Tampines East Block 261, started a project called Chores 4 Charity in July (2017).

About 140 children from the pre-school were given the task of raising money by completing household chores at home, and for friends and relatives.

With the money, they bought provisions like instant beverages and canned food for about 150 families that live in the one-room rental flats near the pre-school.

On Saturday morning (Aug 12), more than 20 children from the pre-school distributed the items to the residents, with the help of Tampines GRC MP Cheng Li Hui.

In less than two months, the children raised more than $3,000.

Ms Lim, 32, is full of praise for the initiative.

She said: “Even though the project is over, Sean still continues to do chores at home.He also learnt about the concept of money as the money they raised was used to buy provisions for others.”

The project is part of the Early Childhood Development Agency’s Start Small Dream Big initiative, which started in 2015. Under the scheme, pre-school children will take part in community service projects, such as food donation drives or cleaning up beaches and parks.

Parents are also invited to work with their children and teachers on the projects, which aim to encourage children to contribute to the community and teach them values such as responsibility and compassion for others.

For the Chores 4 Charity project, staff from the pre-school helped the kids buy the provisions. The children also worked in groups and completed tasks such as giving out leaflets to inform residents that they will be visiting the area, and writing to the supermarket to ask for discounts on bulk purchase of items.

The preschool’s vice-principal Adeline Koh said this is the first time they are taking part in the initiative. The pre-school decided to help households in the neighbourhood because the children can learn that charity begins at home, she added.

Said Ms Koh: “The people in Tampines are their neighbours, and some of the children in the pre-school also live in rental flats. We told them that it is not the amount raised that is important, but the effort and desire to help.”

Security guard Hamir Hamzah, 41, who was among those who received provisions from the children, said it was a good initiative. He said: “They can learn how to help others from a young age and get to know other residents in the area.”

This year’s edition of the Start Small Dream Big initiative, which runs for six months each year, was launched in April. About 20,000 children from over 300 pre-schools took part in the initiative last year.

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