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There are numerous new initiatives that support the less fortunate in society.

We’ve featured many of them on The Pride: from providing cakes and gifts to celebrate birthdays for needy kids to creating Instagram pages to support our local hawkers.

The people behind these organisations are inspirational; then there are others who don’t start their own ground-up movements but still find ways to help. Here are three small initiatives set up by Singaporeans who decided to use their love for arts and crafts to support causes they believe in.

Giftacause (supporting MYMCA Singapore)

While looking for volunteers for a fundraiser for Metropolitan YMCA Singapore, Huang Weiling, 30, a volunteer management senior executive, decided to take things a step further.

“I was thinking perhaps I could contribute on my own as well.”

 

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Her job for the MYMCA campaign ‘Got Money Give Money, Got Strength Give Strength’, which ran from 4 July to 14 August, was to find volunteers to raise $75,000 to buy a month’s worth of groceries and toiletries for 2,500 families.

“While I was looking for these vendors, I realised that I have friends who are also interested in crafting, but do not have a platform or business to put up their products,” Weiling shares with The Pride.

So she set up Giftacause on Instagram to bring together crafters to sell their handmade products for charity. She sells items such as earrings, crochet animals, and makes her own coasters made of resin and jesmonite.

 

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Even though the campaign has ended, Weiling hopes to continue supporting MYMCA in raising funds for the less fortunate.

She hopes that Giftacause can become a test platform for new products to see if people are interested and she is looking for artists to continue showcasing their work on Giftacause.

“It’s giving opportunities to youths and also at the same time it’s lending a hand to the community as well, the less fortunate families that may be struggling because of Covid.”

Previously a youth worker, Weiling strongly believes in empowering youths. She hopes to gather budding young entrepreneurs and allow them a space to test pilot their items while helping others.

Interested crafters can start by putting ten items for sale, with 90% of the proceeds going to charity. The remaining 10% will cover delivery, marketing, materials and customer relationship management services. Weiling says she has sold more than half of the first batch of donated products so far.

If you are interested in buying the products or joining Giftacause as a contributor, message Weiling on Instagram or via email at [email protected]

Byadawithlove (supporting Metta Cats & Dogs Sanctuary, Save Our Street Dogs)

 

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It all started with a sketch of her dog.

Chrissandra Chong, who’s in her mid-40s, started off her business with a sketch of her dog, which led to requests for pet portrait commissions. This in turn led her to start her own store, Pawtraits.byada, where she is raising funds for the Metta Cats & Dogs Sanctuary.

But that’s not the only way she raises funds for animal welfare charities.

Sadly, in the latter half of last year, Chrissandra’s dog, Elmo, died.

“When he passed away, I started to want to do things, to hold memories for him,” she shares with The Pride.

Elmo was a rescue, says Chrissandra, adopted at 10 years old with both mobility and sight issues. She knew right from the start that she would not have much time left with him, so she started to collect his shedded fur after grooming sessions

She says: “I started spinning his fur into yarn, which is not done in Singapore.”

In some other countries, “chiengora” or dog-fur yarn (the name itself comes from a combination of “chien”, which is French for dog and “angora” from the fur of the Angora rabbit”) has been used to help owners commemorate their pets after they pass.

 

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Chrissandra says that spinning dog fur is similar to creating wool, which allows her to create items such as charms, scarfs and keepsake pouches.

However, she wanted to help dogs like hers by creating a fundraising initiative for Save Our Street Dogs, where she had previously sponsored one of their dogs for a year.

“One of the ideas was to help people who want to adopt a dog but couldn’t because of their circumstances, so we thought why not give them their fur,” she explains.

 

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That was how she created resin charms with small bundles of dog fur from one of five dogs — Roxy, Xiao Hei, Wonder, Beau and Remy — up for adoption.

70% of the proceeds from the charms go to cover the expenses of the shelters. She plans to continue this initiative until the end of this year.

Lauvecrafts (supporting Blessings In A Bag)

Rachel Lau, 22, was on her university break when she decided to pick up a new skill. The first-year Chemical Engineering student started crafting clay as a hobby before starting her small business, Lauvecrafts, in late May.

Growing up, she had always adored miniature food items for their size and detail. However, as they were not easy to find, they were often expensive.

“As I grew older, I wanted more people to have access to pretty, cute and affordable accessories, which is the main reason for starting my own store on Instagram,” Rachel tells The Pride.

Rachel sells jewellery such as mask chains, rings and earrings with designs based on flowers, traditional items and even origami stars.

Before going to university, Rachel worked in the healthcare industry.

“It was an eye-opener as I came into contact with people of different backgrounds and struggles,” she says.

As she continued her studies, Rachel’s desire to help those who needed support grew and decided to utilise her business to give back to society.

She decided to support Blessings In A Bag, which raises funds to help children in vulnerable areas in Singapore.

As a new small business, it was difficult for Lauvecrafts to gain traction.

“As my audience is still very small, I am aware of my limitations in terms of the amount of support I may or may not receive for the fundraising,” Rachel explains.

But despite these challenges, she is very proud and happy with her experience.

She shares: “This has allowed me to connect and interact with more people, and it is wonderful how many customers have also sought to join the fundraising event with me.“

From July to August, she not only managed to raise more than $200, but also encouraged others to donate directly to Blessings In A Bag.

Although she has ended her fundraising campaign, you can still support Lauvecrafts by viewing and purchasing various clay creations on her Instagram. You can also help by following her to keep a lookout for her future fundraising efforts.

Spread the word

These are just three small businesses set up by good-hearted individuals to support charities they believe in.

There are other stores that support other worthy causes — they too need help to gain attention.

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If you come across any of these stores online, take the time to like their page or share it on your own social media platforms (You can also write in to The Pride to tell us about them). Even if you are not interested in buying their products, share their posts to allow others to have a chance to see them.

You could also support by directly donating to these organisations. Any little bit helps to create a more charitable, generous society!

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Top Image: Huang Weiling, Cassandra Chong, Rachel Lau