Thoughts from the Founder
The Prime Minister in his National Day speech this year highlighted the significance of early childhood education in shaping the future of the nation. This is something that struck a chord with me. I believe that education should be available to all children regardless of their backgrounds. Only then, will we truly be able to make a difference.
To do our part, we set up at independent charity – EtonHouse Community Fund 2 years ago. On 11 November, we organised our very first Charity Walk & Fun Fair at Fort Canning. More than 1200 participants from EtonHouse, E-Bridge, Middleton, Hampton and Islander, and many other friends, supporters and families spanning several generations gathered at one of Singapore’s most historic landmarks for a good cause. We were honoured to have Mrs Josephine Teo, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office and Second Minister for Manpower and Home Affairs flag off the walk.
Through our fund raising efforts, we raised more than $220,000 for children in less fortunate circumstances, and we presented pledges worth $100,000 to the Bishan North CCC Community Development and Welfare Fund and to the ECDA KidSTART programme.
It was a touching and humbling experience. It struck me that while our community is diverse, we share one passion – to create a better life for more children. We were united by a common mission to help less fortunate children; to help pave a pathway towards a brighter future.
It is easy to forget that there are many children in our midst who need basic support in their daily lives. Through the EtonHouse Community Fund, I witnessed lives of children being transformed. Take “Lisa”, a girl who was abused by her father and was going through trauma-focused behavioural therapy at an age when other children were enjoying themselves in school. Today, she is enrolled at E-Bridge and in the care of a wonderful group of teachers and friends; her mother now has time to work to support the family.
There are many unfortunate children out there who need our help, and I believe that with support, they can escape the cycle of poverty. My own husband, Hark Seng, grew up in a poor family. His father passed away from cancer when he was only three years old, and his mother—my mother-in-law—had to work as a seamstress to support the family. It was financial support from relatives and the government that kept them going. My husband eventually secured a university scholarship, something I am eternally thankful for, because it was in university where we met. Another testimony of a live transformed through education!
As the year comes to a close, I want to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to all our friends, staff, partners, parents and students. More than 22 years on, I am still incredibly motivated, driven and excited by the possibilities that you have opened my eyes to. You give our schools a sense of meaning. I hope you realise what a difference you are making in the lives of children and in our schools every day. I wish you and your family a wonderful holiday season and a joyous New Year.