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UOB donates S$500,000 to ChildAid and BT Budding Artists Fund

Bank believes in helping children in need rise to their potential; has been one of the fund's biggest supporters

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Janice Leong (centre, in blue), UOB head of corporate wealth management, group commercial banking, with a cheque for S$500,000 to ChildAid 2019, in support of The Business Times Budding Artists Fund. With her is Jennie Chua (with painting), chairman, The RICE Company Ltd.

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Teenage actors from 10 Square Youth performing a sketch about the pressures they face at home and in school.

Singapore

SINCE 2005, The Business Times Budding Artists Fund (BTBAF) has helped over 18,000 financially-disadvantaged children pursue the arts.

The Business Times strongly believes that the arts play a significant role in teaching children to cultivate self-confidence, express themselves effectively and collaborate with their peers.

Many of these children and youths, aged between six and 19, have been singled out by their school teachers for their artistic talents.

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However, the children are unable to pursue their interests beyond the occasional class activity or club meeting due to their family's financial situation.

BTBAF, managed by The RICE Company Ltd (a not-for-profit organisation with IPC status), reaches out to these children and invites them to arts training programmes at The Little Arts Academy (for children) and 10 Square Youth (for teenagers).

Over the years, many of the children have found joy and fulfilment, as well as a community of like-minded peers at these centres.

On Friday night, BTBAF celebrated its 14th year anniversary at 10 Square @ Orchard Central with a variety show that comprised several musical numbers and two sketches performed by the fund's recipients.

The songs were motivational pop hits, while the sketches centred on the various pressures the children face at home and in school.

Guest of honour for the evening was Janice Leong, UOB head of corporate wealth management, group commercial banking.

Since BTBAF was launched in 2005, UOB has been one of its biggest supporters, making generous donations to the annual ChildAid concert organised by The Business Times and The Straits Times.

At the end of the evening, Ms Leong presented a S$500,000 donation from UOB to ChildAid.

"At UOB, we believe that art, children and education are three areas that play an important role in contributing to the growth and vibrancy of a community," she said.

"Art opens the minds of the young to new ideas and experiences which in turn, encourages them to explore their creative abilities. We are delighted that through our support of BTBAF, more young people, especially those from underprivileged backgrounds, will be able to pursue their passion for art and to rise to their potential."

Also gracing the concert were The RICE Company chairman Jennie Chua and CEO Colin Goh. To mark its 14th year, BTBAF announced the introduction of a new programme called "The Apprenticeship", in which older BTBAF beneficiaries will be given professional training and opportunities to work.

This year's ChildAid concert will be staged on Nov 20 and 21 at the Esplanade Theatre, with musician Dick Lee returning as its creative director.

The concert, now in its 15th year, will be headlined by some of ChildAid's most talented alumni who are now adults and have careers in music. Tickets will go on sale at a later date.