For the past year since Covid struck, birthday parties have been tough to organise. Even now, with Phase 2 Heightened Alert measures being re-introduced, that special day to spend time with friends and family is even more difficult to set up.

Think of a child’s birthday party and you often get the image of a spread of food, entertainment (perhaps a magician, a clown or a person playing the child’s favourite cartoon character). And of course the cake!

But there are some children who haven’t been able to celebrate their birthdays even before Covid put a stop to large group gatherings. The sad reality is that children from lower-income households don’t get to celebrate their birthdays.

One Wish Sg hopes to change that.

Birth of One Wish Sg

 

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“I think birthdays are very important to record your milestones, that you’re born and that you exist in the world.” Falice Ann, 26, founded One Wish Sg after she left her full-time job in early childhood education in May.

She now works as a part-time kindergarten teacher and started a brand, knittedreams.co, to develop her childhood hobby of designing clothes. However, she wanted to do more.

“I needed to do something about my life, something meaningful, something that can contribute to society,” Falice tells The Pride.

During her time as a teacher, she saw many children celebrating with their peers with parties or by bringing cakes to school. But she also realised that those who could not celebrate their birthdays might feel left out.

“I think children who don’t get to celebrate, when they see their friends celebrating their birthdays in schools, they feel ‘hey, why (don’t) I get to experience that?’”

 

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That was why Falice set up One Wish Sg.

One Wish Sg sponsors birthday cakes for children and youths under 20, with the child’s favourite character, balloons, toys and cards for them to receive the full birthday experience.

Falice started officially in June after posting her idea on a Facebook group Blessings Only For SG Low-Income Families and was overwhelmed by the response — she got 23 requests for that month alone.

Working and developing

 

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She then reached out to some home baker friends to help fulfil these requests.

“I thought I would raise funds and pay (the bakers) the costs for the ingredients, and then they can bake the cake,” shares Falice.

Despite being able to raise $850 in June, Falice soon realised her plan was not sustainable, especially with the uncertainty of irregular donations. It was also very taxing on her three baker friends as each of them had to bake eight cakes each.

In July, she decided to reach out to even more bakers to help spread the load — and got a wonderful surprise.

She explains: “I messaged a lot of bakeries, home bakeries, then I got 40 bakers, all of them willing to sponsor a cake for free!”

In July, she got 30 requests but now with more bakers to fulfil her quotas, not to mention 17 volunteers and 2 friends helping with administrative matters, it is more sustainable.

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The volume of requests and responses brought up a new challenge — she can’t find enough help to deliver the items!

“For the month of July, I have a lot of bakers, but I don’t have enough people to do the delivery for me,” she says.

The money that she raises now goes to buying toys, balloons and cards. But delivery charges are mounting too. Due to the lack of volunteers and some bakeries not having their own car or delivery services, there are times where Falice forks out her own money to pay for the deliveries.

Another challenge she faces is in her fundraising efforts. People have been helping her by directly sending her money because she doesn’t have a fundraising page.

She had a page on Gogetfunding but stopped it because of the fundraising fees. She is also unable to set up a page on Giving.sg as she is not a registered organisation and has not worked with others.

Most memorable moments

Home Bakers
Nelly Yap (left) and Karen Sleseries. Image source: Onewishsg

Sponsoring one or two cakes for free is not easy for home bakers but Nelly Yap, 32, owner of Bite Size Assembly and Karen Sleseries, 36, who runs Sparkly Treats find it to be a privilege to be able to give back.

“Growing up, I didn’t have a lot but I always remember others sharing what they have with me. It is through this that I’ve learned about sharing, kindness and the sense of community,” says Nelly.

She adds: “Now that I’m in a better position, I want to pass on the spirit of giving and sharing and hope that these children will know that even if they are not materially blessed, they are still loved.”

Just like Nelly, Karen signed up to make an impact on a child’s life. She believes that every child deserves to have their own birthday celebration.

As two of Falice’s home bakers, the two are often tasked with creating character cakes for the children.

 

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One of Nelly’s most memorable moments was during one of her deliveries, when she saw how a beneficiary excitedly kissed her Olaf birthday cake.

“The look on her face was one of sheer joy and childlikeness, and it left an indelible mark on my mind, that such things matter a lot to children and I would like all of them to have one such memory in their lives,” shares Nelly.

Similarly, Karen enjoys the pure happiness and smiling faces of the children.

“For us it may be a simple gesture but for them it’s everything,” she says.

Falice’s one wish

 

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Falice hopes to continue growing her initiative, working with more organisations and serving more families.

She’s always looking out for ways to do more, which is why she and some of her supporters furrychan and cakedwithlovesg is going to have an Instagram live stream with Tampines MP Baey Yam Keng to talk more about onewishsg at 9pm tomorrow (23 July).

She shares that “if we were to expand and serve more families, we will need more bakers, we will need more volunteers to deliver the cakes and probably more toy sponsors.”

If you would like to help Falice and onewishsg, contact them via DMs on Instagram, Facebook or email.

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Top Image: Falice Ann