Community & Service 17 Feb 2020

Helping children one toothbrush at a time

By CIS Communications
Photograph by Mark and Renee

The TK PTA and school community donated over 1000 toothbrushes to Caring for Cambodia (CFC) during the November 2019 toothbrush donation drive. Renee France, a TK parent who works for CFC, shares how her drive was designed to help the children of Cambodia stay healthy. 

Why did you decide to organise a toothbrush donation drive, and did the donations exceed your expectations?  

“CFC schools in Siem Reap focus on dental hygiene to support students to stay healthy.  We rely heavily on donated toothbrushes as we need more than 20,000 a year. The toothbrush donation drives are a great way for students in Singapore to help students elsewhere who don't have all that they do.

The act of giving a toothbrush may seem like a small thing when we take them for granted, but for CFC students it makes a huge difference. Vivienne (Renee’s child in grade 2) is really involved and interested in helping CFC, as are the children of other volunteer parents at the school. We wanted to give them a chance to be involved in a donation drive, and to talk with their friends and peers about why helping students in Cambodia is important, and why they enjoy being involved in volunteering and giving something back.”

As a CIS community representative for CFC, do you have any plans to organise similar donation drives in the future? 

“We'd love to. Our schools rely on physical donations of not just toothbrushes and toothpaste, but school supplies, backpacks, first aid supplies, sports equipment and so on. It is a great feeling when a school community gets together to support a common goal, and make such a huge difference to students in other countries.”

Well said, Renee! The entire TK community really did their part. Students in grades 2 and 4 spent a productive afternoon sorting toothbrushes for collection so there was some global citizenship in action too!  

Kim Dohse, TK’s grade 2 lead, who was one of the many people actively involved in the donation drive, told us, “this came about because of the initiative led by a few TK mothers who work with CFC. We kept a donation bin in the foyer all week and were pleasantly surprised to get over 1000 toothbrushes! Students from grade 2-3 and their grade 4 buddies worked together during Literacy Leadership time to count the toothbrushes and remove the plastic packaging so it’d be easier for distribution in Cambodia.” 

Thank you and great job, everyone!