Our youngest supporters ever

Last year, 41,251 babies were born to couples in Singapore. Most of these babies will go on to attend nursery and kindergarten; a well-trodden trajectory expected in Singapore. Sure, they drive us crazy sometimes, but we give them our best.

In far-flung rural villages not yet fully on google maps, parents are much the same as parents in Singapore. They give their children the best of what they have, in hopes they grow up strong, happy and healthy. But that may not be enough for of the approximately 290,000 newborns in rural Cambodia. For every 1000 babies born, 29 do not make it over age 5 in Cambodia.* The comparative figure in Singapore is 2.4 in Singapore. Statistically, Cambodian babies are 12 times more vulnerable.

For sure, there are many ingredients needed to bring up strong healthy children, some of them a mystery. But there are a few things that we do know, and one of them, is that children need clean water and safe environments.

Mr Kai Sarim and his family, Beung Khirk village, Prey Veng province.


Under the 2015 Sustainable Development Goal framework, one of the standards the global community is aiming for is universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all. This means that children will be able to drink clean water at schools at least.

Easy as it is to say water is a basic right, delivering reliable clean water to rural families is a real challenge. Rural communities face a gap in income, access to information and technical expertise, and government support which is stretched thin. At the base of it, they also have their hands tied by the myriad of geographical challenges.

Today, waterborne diseases still contribute to child mortality significantly in rural communities across Asia. It isn’t that we do not have the technical prowess to solve the clean water challenge. However, for the science to come to play, it also takes the human systems and financial support across boundaries to rally support.

Ashaekwin village, Bogale Township, Myanmar. Saw Kyaw (Lien AID Myanmar staff) discusses progress on the village water infrastructure project with community leaders.

This year, Lien AID has been cheered on by the good spirit and efforts of our youngest ever supporters. Meet James, and the Rainbow 3 (Kindergarten 1) kids from St James’ Church Kindergarten’s (SJCK) Gilstead campus.

Left: James Gifford celebrated his 9th birthday, and raised funds to contribute to clean water projects for rural poor communities. Right: Kindergarten 1 children at St James’ Kindergarten learning about Water through their Start Small Dream Big module.

To celebrate his 9th birthday, James and his family sent information about clean water issues to his friends, and asked for his birthday presents to be given in the form of donations to support clean water projects. To the 9 year old, it is horrifying that easy access to clean water and good sanitation is still a luxury to many communities.

Similarly, the 5 year olds at St James’ Church Kindergarten, together with their teacher Eudora, have donated funds they raised from their Start Small Dream Big module to Lien AID. In 6 months, the kindergarteners learnt about water, water treatment, and water conservation, amongst other things.

What do kids say about having no clean water? “Ewwww, I can’t brush my teeth.”

I am not sure how much they will remember of the technicalities, as after all, they are but five (check out their lovely illustrations below). However, I am sure they will remember the value of water and know to cherish this plain and simple luxury we enjoy in Singapore.  Kudos to Teacher Eudora Tan at SJCK!

Copyright @SJCK

Together the all the children raised $1,347 towards the clean water needs of families and children who are being supported by Lien AID’s clean water projects in Cambodia. Thank you for sharing some of what you have to make days better for other children. Happy Children’s Day kids!

Special thanks to James, the Gifford family, St James’ Church Kindergarten, Eudora and all the kids at Rainbow 3. 100% of the funds were channeled to project implementation for the Community Water Enterprise in Cambodia. Please contact ruiyan.yong@lienaid.org if you have any queries.


*Source: UN Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation (Sep 2015)