Helping bring Sunshine to special needs children with a new IRCC initiative

Helping bring Sunshine to special needs children with a new IRCC initiative

The Inter-Racial and Religious Confidence Circles (IRCCs) are local-level inter-faith platforms formed to promote racial and religious harmony.

In conjunction with World Down Syndrome Day on Saturday, 21 March, the IRCCs launched a new initiative - Sunshine Cares, to engage children from less-privileged backgrounds as well as those with special needs.

For their first event on Saturday 21st March 2015 more than 100 special needs children were treated to a day at the Singapore Zoo.

Volunteers from at least 10 religious organisations – including The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Church of St Francis of Assisi, Xi Shan Gong Temple, Al Khair Mosque and Murugan Hill Temple were present to engage participants through interactive games.

Sis Pongkodi Rajikannu, our Church Public Affairs representative in the IRCC, led a team of ten volunteers from our Church.

After a short briefing a little after 9am, all the volunteers were assigned into groups and were quickly despatched into our respective stations where we remained engaged in our duties.

Some children arrived in their wheelchairs and most of them were accompanied by families.

The assignments include ushering the children through the gates to various checkpoints and touring them around the zoo.

Some volunteers helped the children to play in the Games gallery, while some assisted the children in making their own crafts in the Art and Crafts arena.  There was also a Water Tattoo Machine which excited the kids a lot. The kids were proudly displaying the images on their arms.

The zoo animals had a special treat that day too as they watched the excited children.

A stage was set up to entertain all the guests. Without any hesitation, the children quickly went up the stage to sing and dance. A magician threw his tricks around and marvelled them.  Perhaps the best performance was when a group of “African” dancers dazzled them with their loud beating drums and screams, shooting arrows around which drove a few children a thousand miles back! Our eardrums ceased to work for a moment or two.

Candy Floss, ice cream and snacks kept the children’s energy up. Before long, we stood in line to grab our lunch boxes and bid our good byes.

It was a rewarding opportunity to serve in this capacity.

Report by Pongkodi Rajikannu