SINGAPORE – Every Wednesday at 7 p.m., a group of 20 to 30 children, sometimes more, gathers in a store on the first floor of 176 Boon Lay Drive. The lights are dimmed and the music begins to play.
Nine-year-old Eddrisha Ryyana takes the stage to sing Cash Cash’s Hero and Christina Perri. The student at Boon Lay Garden Elementary School has been preparing for the show for two weeks. The children’s audience shouts and cheers.
This space is owned by the non-profit arts company 3Pumpkins’ Tak Takut Kids Club. From 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. every day, except Sundays and Mondays, the club is open to the community.
Its founder Lin Shiyun, 39, said, “Any child can enter and exit this space. Support.”
Ms Lin, a creative arts producer, decided to start the club in July 2019 after a year of community involvement at a playground in the area, which has many rental apartments. From her interactions with the children in the playground, she felt they needed a permanent space of their own that they could always visit.
Today, she runs the club alongside three full-time staff and 10 volunteers. It involved around 100 children between the ages of 7 and 17. Every day, around 40 children enter and leave space.
On Tuesdays, the club is an open space where children can indulge in their own activities. On Wednesdays, it turns into a performance space. Thursdays are dedicated to outdoor activities, while outdoor dancing is on the schedule every Friday.
Fundraising and artistic development are built into the club. Ms. Lin explains that children are not treated as beneficiaries, but should be aware of the costs of managing the space, feel motivated to support it, and be empowered to do something for it.
She believes that the arts activities inspire the children of the club to discover themselves and their community, while giving back to it. “I believe that the arts allow children to express themselves and listen to others.
This philosophy gave birth to This Is Me! and This Is Us !, two annual fundraising projects in which the community engages through art.
This Is Me !, an annual magazine sold to the public, features artwork made by the kids and teens at the club.
It’s us! is an initiative where members of the public send in their photos for children to turn into works of art for a small fee. It aims to raise $ 40,000 through community efforts.