First Hand Great Gatsby Party raises over $45,000!

First Hand Great Gatsby Party raises over $45,000!

On October 27th 2018,  200 supporters of First Hand attended our 10th Anniversary Great Gatsby Party, graciously hosted by the Danish Seamen’s Church of Singapore at the Golden Bell Mansion on Mount Faber. The setting was absolutely spectacular and completely in keeping with the Roaring 20s theme of Great Gatsby. Guests arrived dressed to the nines and were welcomed by a champagne tower, cocktails and live jazz music from Intan Duo and Jay Gatsby’s Jazz Band, who played throughout the night.   Group photos by Karen Lucas were available on the grand staircase and a roving magician, Yu Ji, from Meta Illusions wowed and amazed guests with a mystifying array of tricks. A sumptuous buffet, including a whole lamb on the spit, was served by Blu Kouzina while fine Italian wines from Bacco accompanied the dinner. During the dinner guests were entertained by our hilarious emcee, Scott Mitchell from The Merry Lion Comedy Club, who engaged the crowd in playing table games and bidding on items in the Live Auction. Generous sponsors gave away a huge array of items for First Hand to raise funds, ranging from – antiques, artworks and holidays to dining vouchers, jewellery  and lifestyle gifts. All the funds raised in the silent and live auctions, and the event proceeds will go directly to our beneficiaries in Cambodia – Damnok Toek and Mother’s Heart. The party continued into the wee hours with more music, dancing and the crowd playing their part as though at one of Jay Gatsby’s infamous parties! First Hand is so thankful to all of our guests, sponsors and partners for your incredible support and...
First Hand Service Trip to Damnok Toek, Poipet – June 2018

First Hand Service Trip to Damnok Toek, Poipet – June 2018

On June 11th 2018, a team of four from First Hand departed for a 3-day service trip to visit our main partner Damnok Toek (DT) in Poipet, Cambodia. The purpose of the trip was to check in on DT’s local child-protection projects and see where help and funding are needed. Together, Annette, Gitte, Sandi and Tori brought along 120kg of school/sport/medical donations that we had collected from our supporters in Singapore (thank you!) Poipet is a few hours’ drive from Siem Reap and is located right on the border with Thailand. It is not a nice place to visit and is notorious for its many casinos and as a hotspot for illegal cross-border migration and many forms of exploitation. Overall DT are running six different programmes around Poipet to help vulnerable children and their families avoid exploitation at all the stages when they are at most risk. This starts with prevention at their drop in centre in the slum which offers a safe place for children to play and learn at all times of the day while their parents are absent or street children take a break from their own working day .       Many Cambodians come to Poipet with the misinformed idea that they can easily get a job, or they use Poipet as a base for working illegally across the border in Thailand – where they can earn up to triple a normal Cambodian wage. Sadly many of these workers are often exploited and end up being rounded up by the Thai authorities and dumped at the border crossing. Many of those deported are children, some have even been...
White Christmas Ball raises $21,969 in aid of Damnok Toek and Mother’s Heart Cambodia!

White Christmas Ball raises $21,969 in aid of Damnok Toek and Mother’s Heart Cambodia!

We are so happy to share that the First Hand White Christmas Ball has raised a grand total of $21,969.43! This amount has been sent to our two direct service partners in Cambodia – Damnok Toek and Mother’s Heart.  The Ball was held at the Swiss Club Singapore on the evening of Saturday 2nd December 2018. The night began al fresco with drinks on the iconic Chess Lawn and music by Intan Duo. Soon after, a three course dinner was served in the beautiful Arbenz Restaurant which overlooks the Club’s lush grounds. Throughout the dinner, 100 guests were entertained by Welles Tan Party Portraits and Christmas songs were performed by the amazingly talented Ukuladies.  Later the emcee got the crowd going with a spectacular Live Auction featuring a signed NZ All Blacks rugby jersey, dinner at Les Amis, a hamper by TheAC and a holiday to Batu Batu. Afterwards, guests danced the night away in the Rifle Lounge with disco music courtesy of DJ Raj Khera. In all, it was a spectacular event which lived up to the season-of-giving spirit. Thank you so much to all of our wonderful guests, generous sponsors and amazing team who made it such a night to remember! There are lots more photos of the event on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/FirstHandVolunteers UPDATE: the Ball is featured in the February issue of Expat Living 🙂...
Dr Rith of Damnok Toek wins international Child 10 Award 2017

Dr Rith of Damnok Toek wins international Child 10 Award 2017

Congratulations to our dear friend Dr. Sam Sovvanarith (Dr. Rith to us!), Executive Director of Damnok Toek, on winning the Child 10 Award 2017. This award is given by the Reach for Change organisation in Stockholm, Sweden and identifies and supports Change Leaders – “exceptional individuals who have a strong desire to promote children’s rights, an innovative idea to change the world for children, and the passion and the drive to create this change.” Dr Rith was one of 10 winners from all around the world,  all grassroot children’s rights activists who are determined to eradicate the inequality and human rights violations many children face today. Dr Rith and Damnok Toek have been given the award in recognition of their important work helping children at risk of trafficking. “Due to socio-economic instability in Thailand and Cambodia, nearly 25 unaccompanied children cross the border each day in search of a better life. Damnok Toek aim to prevent child trafficking and sexual exploitation, rehabilitate traumatized youths and guide them to social inclusion.” For a short video, made by the Child 10 organisation, about Dr Rith’s work see here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7e8MBYrWdk0 and for more about the Child 10 Award 2017 and Reach for Change see...
September 2017 First Hand Service Trip to Cambodia

September 2017 First Hand Service Trip to Cambodia

First Hand have recently returned from our latest service trip to Cambodia. Between 7-10 September 2017, 18 volunteers (adults and children) from Singapore travelled to Phnom Penh and Neak Loeung to deliver aid, meet our partners and help with projects at the centres. Top of our list of priorities was to deliver the 4 ‘tilt-in-space’ wheelchairs that had been specially ordered from Singapore to meet the specific requirements of 4 children with cerebral palsy, new to the Disability Centre at Damnok Toek Phnom Penh. While there, we further delivered a correctly sized walker for a teenage girl who also had mobility issues from cerebral palsy – she was overjoyed with her new device! Leading the visit to this centre was Singapore-based Rehab Consultant, Dr. Jenni Cowlishaw, who conducted medical assessments ahead of a future medical mission trip. First Hand committee members Annette and Carina helped assemble the wheelchairs with the local care staff and took measurements to check which extra bolstering should be customised from Singapore for the chairs. The visit generated great interest and excitement amongst the residents and it was heart warming to see that the donations were received so well. In addition to the wheelchairs we were able to bring with us more than 120kg of donations-in-kind that had been generously donated by our supporters in Singapore. These were handed over in Phnom Penh to our two partners Damnok Toek and Mother’s Heart Cambodia. These aid items consisted largely of sports equipment, school shoes, learning aids, healthcare supplies and baby clothes. We would especially like to thank the 3 teachers from Dulwich College Singapore who brought...
First Hand and Blu Kouzina Summer Wine Evening raises $10,378!

First Hand and Blu Kouzina Summer Wine Evening raises $10,378!

Thank you to all our guests, sponsors and especially to Blu Kouzina Greek restaurant at Dempsey Hill for an amazing night on June 13th 2017. The Summer Wine Evening has raised $10,378 for First Hand. All the proceeds have been shared with First Hand’s two partners – Damnok Toek and Mother’s Heart Cambodia. On the night, guests indulged in an array of Greek and Mediterranean dishes all prepared with organic extra virgin olive oil from Blu Kouzina’s family–owned Olive Grove Estate in Messinia, Greece. It was a typical balmy evening in Singapore and everyone could enjoy dining on the patio under the stars overlooking the peaceful greenery of Dempsey Hill. Vineyard owner and winemaker Dionysia Brintziki of Ktima Brintziki organic wines was in town and introduced four of their wines that were being tasted on the night. Martin McDarren also shared about the ancient Greek traditions of winemaking. After much food and wine, DJ Raj continued to entertain the crowd with music for grooving on the dance floor! The silent auction showcased amazing art, lifestyle, fashion and homewares products from our very generous sponsors: Astrid Dahl, Swiss Club Singapore, Expat Kitchen, Sandra Macheroux photography, White Ginger, Rouge, Jubilo Joias, Ellie Lasth, Edition Limitee, Screening Room, Affordable Style Files, Bode, Cote and Badt, Dansk and the Danish Seaman’s Church. Thank you everyone for a beautiful and memorable evening! More photos of the event are available at our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/FirstHandVolunteers/...

Volunteer trip – 16-19th March 2017

FIRST HAND regularly visits the centres and brings donations. In November 2016 11 bags were filled with Netball kits, including clothing for girls teams and adult coaches, bibs, balls and hats which were brought over to Phnom Penh by volunteers. That is 113kg of sports clothing! The plan for 2017 is to facilitate regular volunteer trips for supporters and interested people to help raise awareness and therefore fundraise money for the centres and give volunteers an insight of where their money goes. The first volunteer trip will be a ‘centre renovation trip’ where we will help paint the bedrooms and lend a hand where it is needed. The trip will be March 16-19th 2017 and will give FIRST HAND supporters the chance to interact with the residents and give back to community. For more information and to sign up please e-mail us at: info@firsthandvolunteers.com before the end of January...
“I Can’t Believe You Are Wearing That…”Party

“I Can’t Believe You Are Wearing That…”Party

FIRST HAND held a fundraising fancy dress party on October 1st 2016 in the Hollandse Club in Singapore. Guests dressed up to the theme “I can’t believe you are wearing that!” and enjoyed an Indian buffet, DJ music and Photo Booth. Alex Mindel, DT technical advisor, and his wife attended the event and enjoyed an evening with live and silent auction, best dressed costumes and door prizes. The evening was a great success and with help from FIRST HAND members and local sponsors we raised $SGD 18,770.30 for Damnok Toek! Photographs can be viewed...
First Hand’s Black and White Ball raises over $100k!

First Hand’s Black and White Ball raises over $100k!

Thank you everyone for your amazing support at First Hand’s Black and White Ball held at The Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza on October 24th 2015. We are delighted to report that thanks to our generous partygoers, partners, donors and volunteers, we have raised a total of SGD 102,364.77. This sum will be split between our two partnering organisations in Cambodia – Riverkids and Damnok Toek, and will go towards their childcare and anti-trafficking programmes in Phnom Penh, Neak Loeung and PoiPet. At the ball, nearly 300 guests enjoyed an evening of thrilling performance art, a live auction, a gourmet banquet and free flow drinks. The performers and interactive artists ranged from stilt walkers and jugglers, to face-painters and hair stylists.  Early in the evening the S.T.E.P. dance duo performed a beautiful and moving modern dance piece while later in the evening the dance floor was packed with revellers jumping along to the tracks of talented cover singer Kunjung. The ball was one of our biggest fundraising events to date and we are so thankful to everyone who came along and supported us along the way. Please do check out the many photos of the event on Facebook to see if you were caught on camera! https://www.facebook.com/FirstHandVolunteers/photos Thank you too to Expat Living and Sassy Mama for media coverage of the event: http://www.expatliving.sg/Living_In_Singapore/moving-to-Singapore/Charity-events-balls-and-formal-galas-in-Singapore-100K-raised-by-First-Hand-Volunteers-at-Black-and-White-Masquerade-Ball-109212.ece   Sassy Mama Supports: First Hand...