During the first week of the Chinese New Year (3-7 February 2014), four Nanyang Technological University students from Singapore, who are behind the campaign to encourage giving amongst youths, “The Big Dollar Rescue”, headed to Balangkayan in Eastern Samar, The Philippines.
Balangkayan is a town with around 9,000 residents, whose lives were severely affected when Super Typhoon Haiyan destroyed 90 per cent of their homes.
The Big Dollar Rescue delivered 520 red packets of hope to the children of Balangkayan Central Elementary School, many of who had to watch their homes and possessions get washed away by the storm surge from Typhoon Haiyan.
Written on each plain red packet, were messages of hope from the student donors in Singapore, to the children in Balangkayan. Examples of these encouraging messages include, “There are people out there rooting for you” and “Just want you to know that somebody cares for you from Singapore”.
Rachel Gong, 22, said, “These are the first red packets the children have received in their lives, we wanted to make it as meaningful for them as possible.”
Each red packet contains 70 Philippine pesos, which converts to 2 Singapore dollars. Zhengliang Li, 24, said, “Many of us dread receiving that infamous $2 red packet. But what may seem like small amounts to us can bring a lot of joy to children recovering from disasters in developing countries, especially with the strength of our Singdollar today.” This happiness can be seen from their reactions after opening the red packets, which they captured on video.
Samantha Branson, 23, said, “We wanted to share the joy, hope and excitement that many Singaporean youths experience and sometimes take for granted every Chinese New Year, with children who have lost everything.” “As the 15-day long Chinese New Year celebration period is over and red packets can no longer be collected, the trip was a timely reminder that it is truly better to give, than to receive,” said Michael Chin, 24.
About The Big Dollar Rescue:
The Big Dollar Rescue is a campaign by 4 final-year students at NTU to show how with the strength of our Singdollar, we don’t have to give a lot, to give a lot to suffering children in times of emergency.