Annual Report 2020

Due to the sad Covid-19 situation, it was decided to hold our Annual General Meeting (AGM) on March 24th as a teleconference in order to protect our community and our volunteers. This was the first time we had held our AGM this way, and was interesting for all attending! We had asked any members to email us with any questions to be discussed at the AGM prior to the meeting. Our president, Claire Graham, presented the Annual Report 2019 for fourteen office bearers and volunteers. She was very happy to share that First Hand had been able to raise nearly SG$85,000 to support our two beneficiaries, Damnok Toek and Mother’s Heart. This is with huge thanks to the hard work of our volunteers and the generosity of our sponsors and supporters. Sadly Annette Harling has had to step down as Vice-President due to relocating back to Europe – she will be hugely missed. However, we are delighted that Sandra Pineda has been elected as the new Vice President – congratulations to Sandra! Our fundraising strategy for coming year was discussed and many great ideas were tabled. We will need to adapt this year with the global challenges arising from COVID-19. Whilst we are aware of the impact this will have on our options for fundraising, we all remain committed to raise as much as possible for Damnok Toek and Mother’s Heart. Both charities in Cambodia have been hugely impacted by COVID, and therefore need our support more than ever. Please follow this link to read the Annual Report in full....
Fundraiser Party ‘Singapore Chic’ raises $57,000!

Fundraiser Party ‘Singapore Chic’ raises $57,000!

What do you get when you take twenty women from ten countries and add one great cause?  You have what it takes to create a very successful fundraiser event to benefit some of the most vulnerable children and youth of Cambodia.   On Saturday 09 November over 170 people attended ‘Singapore Chic’ fundraiser at one of the remaining  500 “black and white” bungalows in Singapore. The “black and whites” as these houses are known, were built to house members of the military and their families during the colonial period of the early 1900s.  With its stunning gardens it formed the perfect venue for a night of feasting, music, and celebration, to raise money for First Hand. First Hand is the funding organisation, dedicated to raising and distributing money to benefit its two partners – Mother’s Heart and Damnok Toek.  Mother’s Heart’s focus is providing programs and support for young girls and women facing crisis pregnancies, often alone.  Damnok Toek provides a range of amazing programs for marginalised children and youth, many with special needs. Preparations for the fundraiser event started in March, with regular meetings held in the run up. From August, this team of resourceful women approached a number of businesses in and around Singapore and were able to secure donations of goods and services which were then auctioned off on the night.   Some of the more unique donations included a 12th century antique statue from Shang Antiques in Dempsey Hill, a stay at Teluna Island Resort and many more. Even tennis player Roger Federer signed a couple of tennis balls, which between them raised over $1200! A...
First Hand AGM 2020

First Hand AGM 2020

First Hand Singapore AGM 2020 is being held on Tuesday 24th March 2020, 7.30pm at Blu Kouzina restaurant, Courtyard, Block 10 Dempsey Road, Singapore 247700. You are invited to attend our AGM where we will review the last year, elect new office bearers and discuss plans for the coming year. You are welcome to order your own dinner and drinks. We will present the yearly achievement by the First Hand Volunteers including a summary of our annual fundraiser ‘Singapore Chic’ where we raised over $68,645. Moreover,  we will be talking about the trips and visits to both of the organisations we support in Cambodia. In addition, we will be reviewing the achievements of our Cambodian partners on the ground, and understanding how they are investing the donations we have raised. Please reply by email to info@firsthandvolunteers.com by March...

Service Trip to Mother’s Heart, Jan 2020

By Sandra Pineda Before going to visit Mother’s Heart, all our volunteers in Singapore helped us to collect donations of maternity clothes, bottles for babies, breast pumps, baby clothes, and nappies. We are extremely grateful to all our friends and supporters that donated these items. We managed to put together more than 100 kgs of donations.       After receiving the Certificate of Clearance emitted by the Singaporean police, Evelyn Abbot, Karin Hesse and I were ready to go to our journey. On the day that we arrived in Phnom Penh, Sam Sophun, our very kind guide, was already waiting for us and of course the donations. On the first day, we visited the killing fields and the S-21 prison from time of the Khmer Rouge, when more than 3 million people died of execution, forced labours, starvation and diseases. As sad and emotional as it is, we had to visit these places to understand the story, the sadness, and the fight Cambodians are living. Many of the country’s educated people died in this way, leaving a country without professionals or educated leaders. Now, knowledge is considered a tool to succeed. The second day, we brought the donations to Mother’s Heart head quarters. We did a tour around the building. The introduction room is where the women experiencing a crisis pregnancy will have their first visit. They give the options and in case the women would like to continue with the pregnancy, Mother’s Heart will facilitate the services of midwives and counsellors depending on every situation. For Mother’s Heart it is important to empower women in the decision-making....
Service Trip to Damnok Toek, April 2019

Service Trip to Damnok Toek, April 2019

In April, four First Hand volunteers travelled to Poipet in Cambodia to visit the Damnok Toek on a self funded trip. Much of the money First Hand raises goes directly to this NGO which runs amazing projects supporting vulnerable families and children in Poipet for over 25 years. We are delighted to see ‘first hand’ that the funds that we raise are so well spent and to understand how we can provide further support. It is amazing that we can track each dollar raised in Singapore to where it is spent in Cambodia, and how much of a difference it makes to the lives there. The purpose of our trip was to learn more about their child-protection projects, to understand their needs and to show our engagement and commitment to raise funds to assist them. The volunteers also took over 150kgs of supplies including educational toys, sports clothing, books and school supplies. A special thank you to all our friends in Singapore who donated school supplies and clothes. These were gratefully received by the families and children. Please take a look at the Damnok Toek 2019 Trip Report kindly written by Annette Harling to find out more about the trip, and what the volunteers experienced when visiting this amazing charity in Poipet. Damnok Toek offers The Transitional Care Facility Project and Group Home Project as well as The Reception Centre Project. The main goal is to reunite and reintegrate the often traumatized children with their families. Our intense trip was a life changing experience with massive impressions – although it can seem hopeless, it is so rewarding to learn that, what is...