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ChildAid raises S$1.95m for underprivileged children

Technologically-advanced digital concert features multiple music genres and performers from across the world

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Above: Singers Nathan Hartono and Abby Simone in their duet.

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Above: President Halimah Yacob, in her opening address, called for support for vulnerable groups in these challenging times.

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Above: Singer Jasmine Sokko, whose performance was given an intergalactic backdrop.

Singapore

IN homes across the world, over 1,150 performing artists got together to celebrate the power of music to comfort and unite people in these challenging times.

Organised by The Business Times and The Straits Times, ChildAid 2020 was Singapore's first digital concert shown in a fully immersive 360º video format and Ambisonics surround sound.

Viewers watching on smartphones or tablets, and with earphones, were better able to enjoy the technology, while those watching with VR goggles found themselves drifting on clouds and in outer space.

Amid the recession, kind corporations and individuals came forth to donate generously to the concert that raises money for The Business Times Budding Artists Fund (BTBAF) and The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund (STSPMF).

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After the concert was broadcast on the digital platforms of the two newspapers on Wednesday, the tally stood at S$1.95 million, with three banks and a luxury watchmaker emerging as top sponsors.

United Overseas Bank donated S$1 million, while UBS donated S$500,000. Richard Mille contributed S$250,000 and Citi Singapore gave S$150,000. Smaller donations from other organisations and individuals made up the rest of the sum.

The two charities BTBAF and STSPMF have assisted more than 170,000 children for over 16 years.

BTBAF provides children from low-income families with arts training, in the belief that engaging in the arts unlocks other skills and qualities, while STSPMF provides them with money for school meals and transport.

Highlights of the ChildAid 2020 include a mellow pop duet by Nathan Hartono and Abby Simone, a intergalactic music video by Jasmine Sokko, and a 1,000-strong ensemble from 25 countries performing Beethoven's Ode To Joy conducted by Kahchun Wong.

The concert will continue to be hosted on BT and ST's digital platforms until Oct 14.

ChildAid is typically staged as a live concert in November. But widespread reports of the charities' beneficiaries' parents losing jobs or having salaries cut in the pandemic made a case for bringing the concert forward to raise money for the affected families.

Madam Patricia Ng, for instance, has four children aged seven to 16 who are beneficiaries of the BTBAF. She lost her job at a maid agency when it could no longer operate, given Covid-19-related travel restrictions and social-distancing measures.

She says: "My children's arts training has helped them improve their academic performance and made them more expressive and confident. I'm thankful for BTBAF for supporting them still."

President Halimah Yacob, who delivered the concert's opening address, said: "During this challenging period, it is even more important that we provide continued support for the vulnerable groups in society."


HOW TO DONATE

The concert raises funds for two charities, The Business Times Budding Artists Fund and The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund, which assist children from low-income homes.

We welcome donations through:

(1) Via Giving.sg. Go to str.sg/donatetochildaid

(2) Via Singtel Dash. Go to str.sg/childaid2020 for details

(3) By PayNow (UEN Number: 201408699H, enter CA20_NRIC_Contact number in the reference field)

(4) By cheque, made payable to "ChildAid", indicating name, NRIC number and address at the back of the cheque. The cheque can be mailed to The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund, 1000 Toa Payoh North, Singapore 318994.

We thank you for your support.

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