By Russell Heng

A line from an old song I know underlines TWC2’s experience when staff at Barclays, Singapore raised $25,670 for us in 2 hours of one afternoon. It goes, “Wider and wider our circle expands”.

Let’s start at the very beginning. In September a bank staff Deepak Siddappa wrote to say they are organizing a charity event and TWC2 will be the beneficiary. A pleasant surprise like this makes a fundraiser’s day. But it is not all about money. I also valued the great opportunity to address an interested audience at the bank about the TWC2 mission and the work we do for low-waged foreign workers in Singapore. Think raising public consciousness. Think attracting more volunteers.

barclays_diya_chequeOn the 17th of the following month was the extraordinarily colourful mini-funfair on bank premises. For two hours in the afternoon, bank staff trooped in and bought tickets to sample food, have their hands painted with henna, take part in a lucky draw and watched hip Bollywood dance items put up by their colleagues. The takings for that event known as Diya was $12,835. Multiply that by 2 because Barclays has a policy of matching dollar for dollar what its staff raised for charity. So TWC2 became richer by $25,670. This would pay half the annual wage bill of a third social worker TWC2 needs to hire in 2015. The circle of charity has doubled.


But that was not all. Impressed by the Bollywood dancing at Diya, I got in touch with its representative Lyza Adiwang to ask if they would perform pro bono at the TWC2 year-end charity lunch. Lisa said yes readily and came 7 December, she got together a troupe of eight, called themselves Funsteppers and put on a rousing show. Meanwhile Barclays staff bought tickets to TWC2’s charity lunch and donated them for foreign workers to use. The circle of charity has expanded again.

Then came the festive Christmas/New Year season. An email came from Michael Schilling, a Director at Barclays offering to help out at TWC2’s soup kitchen. That time of the year saw a dearth of volunteers as people went on holiday and extra pairs of hands were always welcome. So the family of four – “Grandma”, Michael and wife and their 4 year old daughter – helped out at The Cuff Road project on Christmas Day, also bringing with them crates of oranges for the men. On New Year’s eve, Michael turned up again to help and bearing more oranges. Ah how that circle has expnded.

It started as fund raising but that is very clunky official-speak. What about calling it the “giving circle” that can get wider and wider when your cause connects with charitable people?


Russell Heng is a volunteer looking after fundraising for TWC2 and wants to share his experience while learning on the job.