Children’s Wishing Well
Children’s Wishing Well was founded in 2002. We provide a broad range of services for children and youth in Singapore from disadvantaged backgrounds. They come from low-income families, and their parents may be ill, incarcerated, or absent from their lives. Our services support their current educational and daily living needs, and equip them with skills for their future, so as to build a strong foundation for them to contribute as useful members of society, and escape the poverty trap. All our services are provided free-of-charge to the beneficiaries. We work in close collaboration with Primary, Secondary, and Post-Secondary schools island-wide, other charity organisations, government agencies, and corporates, so as to ensure that our programmes remain relevant and meaningful to the children.
Intended use of funds through the YFC 2019 programme
Our Children Enrichment Programme provides comprehensive and holistic support to the children from low-income families and disadvantaged backgrounds. This programme addresses their physiological, psycho-social, and academic needs. This holistic programme is the first of its kind in Singapore and with proven results over the past 1.5 years since it was started.
Our estimate from MOE’s statistics show that there are about 80,000 children in Singapore under the Financial Assistance Scheme (FAS). We currently have 250 of these children in our programme. We hope to raise funds to reach out to support at least 500 children across Singapore.
Engaging and involving the YFC participants
The social service sector has traditionally adopted a “helping” narrative, providing assistance to people who are deemed “needy”. As a natural consequence, people try to prove themselves as helpless as possible, so as to qualify for assistance.
Children’s Wishing Well has been trying to turn this entrenched mindset around by introducing new programmes along an “empowering” narrative. We should see people not as “what’s wrong”, but “what’s strong”.
The programmes at CWW all aim to empower the children and their families. E.g. instead of the traditional approach of providing groceries packed and delivered to homes, CWW organises fortnightly supermarket shopping trips, where children from low-income families shop for what they really like and need, within a given budget. The children learn about nutrition, budgeting, and decision-making. These are skills which will have broader impact on their lives even after the groceries have run out.
Rather than the traditional approach of just throwing money at problems, CWW’s programmes were all designed together with the stakeholders, and often involve leveraging on existing problems to synergistically self-help each other. E.g. many FAS children were hungry after school with no food to eat; while some of their parents were unable to find jobs due to lack of skills or spare time. CWW facilitated an arrangement where the parents were paid by CWW to cook hot meals for the FAS children, thus innovatively solving two problems at the same time while empowering the beneficiaries.
We hope to invite the YFC participants to dialogue and brainstorm together with us to introduce more innovative programmes. YFC participants can also lead their own FRESH programme.