Five years ago, we registered Project Happy Feet as a public company limited by guarantee in Singapore.
A group of us friends had come back from Siem Reap the year before, and when others heard about the work we did, they wanted to further support our efforts. Donations started pouring in even after we came back from our trip – one that we thought would be a one-off. But as it turns out, life has a bigger plan for us.
Registering Project Happy Feet at that point was one out of necessity. We needed to open a bank account to put all those donated funds so we could be better accountable to our donors. The bank told us we needed to register ourselves as an organization, and as if this was all pre-determined, we had just the right people on the team to look into the legal and corporate secretariat matters.
And so on 7 July, 2009 – we officially registered Project Happy Feet.
Five years have passed since, and we’ve come a long way. For a team of us who all hold full-time jobs, we have since expanded the team, made many new friends, and more importantly, made a difference to thousands of individuals in the region and beyond.
But at Project Happy Feet, making a difference isn’t just about empowering the lives of the underprivileged. It is also about empowering anyone, and letting them know that they are just as capable of making a difference. It is about letting them know and providing the platform so that they can be agents of change, regardless of who they are, where they come from or how much they can contribute. And in the process of giving, they too create change in themselves and for the people around them.
Since 2009, we’ve had agents of change ranging from chefs to photographers, to writers to singers. We’ve had people from as young as three to as old as 70 – all contributing in their own way either through volunteering, donating or participating in our fund-raising events.
We’ve expanded our network of partners and found our footing in corporate organizations to engage them in our vision. We’ve established relations with partner beneficiaries in Singapore, Cambodia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Nepal, and India, thereby expanding our reach to the underprivileged.
At the 5-year mark, and with more than half a million dollars raised and disbursed since, we ask ourselves – what’s our next step? How can we do better? What else is in store for us?
One of our greatest challenges is finding time. With all of us being volunteers holding full-time jobs, many of us find it a strain at times to juggle both commitments. And so, we are especially grateful for the many of you out there who have stuck with us all these years, putting in the many hours, pouring sweat and shedding tears – all to bring PHF to where it is today.
The magic of Project Happy Feet for us is its people. Without the people, it will cease to exist. For without each and every one who has contributed in one way or another, we perhaps would not have achieved as much.
And so, as PHF turns five, we would like to extend take this moment to thank all of you who have supported this ‘baby’ in its growth in one way or another. We hope you continue to journey with us, for it is only when we walk together that we can truly make footprints of change.