While most 12-year-olds were prepping for their Primary School Leaving Examinations, Joshua* was dealing with a major upheaval in his life. A lack of care, food and money at home resulted in him being rehomed at Sunbeam Place @ Children’s Society, where Joshua remained until he was enlisted for National Service.

Now 27 and working in the IT sector, he credits the support and help he got from the counsellors and social workers for helping him persevere through school and graduate from polytechnic, and for getting him as far as he has come.

Speaking at the centre’s annual talent show, which kicks off the year-long celebration of the Singapore Children’s Society’s 70th anniversary, Joshua remembers how warmly he was welcomed, and how no one ever forgot his birthday.

“I will always remember the help rendered and the friends I made along the way. These memories remain. My wish is that in this broken world, with its limited resources, the Society and Sunbeam Place will continue to shine as a beacon of hope and bring warmth to as many children as possible,” he told the crowd of 40 at the event, which included President Halimah Yacob.

Attendees were also treated to performances by seven residents, including 15-year-old Daniel*, who performed an original song titled Second Home. He gathered thoughts and feelings about Sunbeam Place from residents and staff members and used them in his lyrics.

Moment of pride: Daniel performs for President and our distinguished guests

“For all of us, Sunbeam Place is a home away from home, where staff, residents and volunteers share both tears and joy. I wanted my song to capture how much it means to us all,” he says.

Having Sunbeam Place kick off the celebrations is especially meaningful as it was one of the Society’s first major projects, says Mr Cayden Woo, Deputy Director and Head of Home at Sunbeam Place @ Children’s Society.

Sunbeam Place began as a Convalescent Home in 1956, providing basic shelter, comfort and relief to malnourished children during the post-war years, and ensuring they received adequate care until they were strong enough to go home. It was renamed Sunbeam Place in 2006, reflecting the home’s move away from medical convalescence to taking care of abused or severely neglected children. 
President Halimah, accompanied by Society Chairman Mr Koh Choon Hui, visited a heritage exhibition on Sunbeam Place before the performances, and toured the facilities after.

Walking through history: A Sunbeam Place resident takes President Halimah Yacob and our Chairman through Sunbeam Place’s history at the Heritage Exhibition

“While children today have access to much better education opportunities, there will always be a segment of families with children in need of greater support. This is where community-based efforts will be needed to complement government policies through our many-helping hands approach. I am glad that through the years, the Society’s services have adapted to meet the changing needs of children,” says Madam Halimah. 

That would not have been possible without all the support that has been received, says Mr Koh, who has led the society for 44 years, adding: “Our anniversary theme, 70 Years of Bringing Hope and Smiles, not only celebrates the impact and footprint of our work, but also gives thanks to our donors and volunteers whose time, effort and donations have enabled us to continue to stay in service, bringing hope to those in need.”

*Names have been changed to protect our beneficiaries’ identities