This year, a total of 1.2 million SG funpacks were given out to every Singaporean and Permanent Resident household. A small portion of that – 20,000 are quite special. They were packed by a group of disadvantaged Singaporeans who would have added a little note. And residents who get this special fun pack can send a reply back to the organisation – almost like the pen pal system of old.
This is part of an initiative called “A Funpack from Me to You” Project which allows Singaporeans to connect with each other, strangers or not.
Explaining the rationale behind this engagement activity, Colonel (COL) Frederick Choo, 35, Chairman of the Engagement, Celebrations and Mobile Column Committee said: “This small segment serves to just draw out the elements of connecting with Singaporeans and inculcate the spirit of paying it forward that we do something for a fellow Singaporean not because we know you, not because you are my family but because you are a fellow Singaporean.”
Approximately 580 packers from different voluntary welfare organisations such as the Association for Persons with Special Needs (APSN), Down Syndrome Association (DSA), Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore (MINDS), Singapore Association for Mental Health and Bizlink came forward to participate in this meaningful exercise. Students from Temasek Junior College and volunteers from the Singapore Soka Association also helped out.
How it works is fairly simple. A volunteer from one of these organisations would include a little note in the pack which would detail their name and a short message. These packs are then distributed and if you happen to open one with a note, you can reply to this person, thanking him for his effort or simply wishing him well.
The DSA for instance was involved and its spokesman said everyone involved was excited to be part of it. “All the persons with Down Syndrome who are involved in this project are raring to go and are very enthusiastic to be part of this project,” said Mr Andrew Soh, 44, Manager for Corporate Communications at Down Syndrome Association.
“Through this project, we hope that our persons with Down Syndrome can have more confidence that they too can contribute to the community at large and make a meaningful difference in conjunction with the celebrations of our nation’s 50th birthday. It certainly will be something that is not just a wonderful memory for all of them but also one that they can be proud of,” he added.
Lisha Yeo, 18, a second-year Media Production and Design student said she would love to get a special fun pack. “If I were to receive it, I would post and share about it on my social media platforms and this would enable other Singaporeans to comment and talk about it, allowing friendships to be better fostered,” said the teenager.