Startling similarities in charities’ website
The Singapore Children’s Society (SCS), which has been helping children in need since 1952, has accused the foundation of lifting information off the society’s website for its own website.
A lawyer’s letter was shot off last Friday to the foundation, demanding that it remove the copied information in seven days, or face legal action.
Mr Koh Choon Hui, SCS’ chairman, told The Straits Times: “They have wrongfully used our material and posted them on their own website, confusing our donors and the public. We can’t allow this to continue.”
He added that the society would “fiercely protect” its reputation and brand image.
Yesterday afternoon, the foundation’s founder, Mr Rajendren Rajamani, 24, admitted that its website had “some startling similarities” with SCS’ website. He blamed it on volunteers who created the website and said the lifted information had been removed.
The Straits Times looked in on both websites earlier yesterday and found strikingly similar wording, especially in the part about the charities’ vision, core values and the list of frequently-asked questions (FAQs).
One giveaway that the foundation had plagiarised from SCS’ website was in the answer to this question: “How is the Children of Singapore Foundation governed?”
The answer on the foundation’s website: “Singapore Children’s Society is managed by an executive committee. As the highest policy and decision making body, the executive committee has the ultimate responsibility of ensuring that the foundation is governed and managed responsibly and prudently.”
Whoever had copied the lines had not even replaced “Singapore Children’s Society” with “Children of Singapore Foundation”.
Mr Rajendren said: “We concede that we may have unknowingly compared our foundation with the Singapore Children’s Society and inevitably followed some of their values and FAQs.”
His foundation first caused consternation in the charity circles about two weeks ago when it came to light that it had no staff, few beneficiaries and appeared to lack professionally run services.
Yet, it has been actively soliciting donations on the streets.
When asked why its website claimed the charity had full-time staff when he told The Straits Times otherwise, Mr Rajendren said: ”We again followed some of the information from the Singapore Children’s Society and we apologise unreservedly for our oversight.”
The Straits Times also found out that he started the foundation with his parents. Family foundations are not unusual, but those in the charity sector say these use the family’s wealth to run the activities instead of raising funds from the public to do so.
The fact that the foundation has charity status has also shown how easy it apparently is to get a charity registered.
Those in the charity sector want the Commissioner of Charities to ask more questions about a proposed organisation’s plans, board members and sources of funding before granting them charity status.
When asked why the foundation’s two other directors are his parents, Mr Rajendren replied: “Such information has been declared to the Commissioner of Charities as required.”
THEY ARE CONFUSING OUR DONORS
“They have wrongfully used our material and posted them on their own website, confusing our donors and the public. We can’t allow this to continue.”
MR KOH CHOON HUI, Singapore Children’s Society chairman
WHY THE SAME WORDS
“We may have unknowingly compared our foundation with the Singapore Children’s Society and inevitably followed some of their values and FAQs.”
MR RAJENDREN RAJAMANI, founder of the Children of Singapore Foundation