Saturday 2 July 2016

Not about the money

RM 3500. 585 GBP. 1167 SGD. That’s a lot of money! When I first read through the requirements asked of a Project WHEE! participant, I was genuinely taken aback by the amount of fundraising one had to do. One can do a lot with RM3500, even after the drastic depreciation of the ringgit. However, where there’s a will, there’s a way. So I set off on my fundraising journey with a chest full of optimism and faith, whilst being grounded by practical fundraising ideas.

One of my first fundraising efforts began in the UK after exam season. Given the strength of the sterling and my presumably generous friends, I hosted a small dinner party. Lucky enough to have help from a few flat-mates, I decided to cater for 30 friends. It was my first attempt at feeding such a big group (without the help of my mother of course) and as nervous as I was, the night went smoothly. Cooking garlic chicken pesto pasta in masses was tiring but nonetheless fun, as I managed to raise around £120 in profits that night.

A decent attempt for someone who never takes flat lay photos.

However, the bulk of my fundraising took place at home, in Kuching after I returned for my summer holidays. I knew that I couldn’t just flatly ask for sponsorship from family and friends so I decided to utilize my house helpers’ baking skills to the fullest. With a menu of prune cake, banana muffins, apple pie, chilled cheesecake and most importantly, pineapple tarts (ong lai ko in Hokkien), my house turned into a bakery overnight. For a month, I had the luxury of waking up to the scent of freshly baked pastries and cakes every morning. With the help of social media, publicizing and promoting my bake sale was a piece of cake (lame pun intended). It was not difficult to get the ball rolling as my mother is popular amongst her friends and mine for her cakes and pastries, but as the orders started flowing in, we were constantly in need of more baking ingredients and containers! It is true that the way to anyone’s heart is through their stomach (granted that he/she is a true Malaysian) as I had aunties ordering RM400 worth of pineapple tarts (ong lai ko) for their extended family members as well!

Mum's blueberry cheesecake is still my personal favourite.

Some may argue that fundraising is extremely challenging, and that the idea of raising RM3500 is daunting. However, speaking from experience, it is absolutely achievable. One of my batch-mates raised funds by performing in wedding gigs as a drummer; another took up odd jobs in Kuala Lumpur alongside her part-time waitressing job. Sikit-sikit, lama-lama menjadi bukit. Personally, I would advise anyone to raise funds through doing what he or she loves, be it drumming, or baking, or even fitness. Heck, you could even do a RM2 per push-up facebook challenge! That way, your Bario journey is kick started joyfully and meaningfully. Being blessed with supportive parents and talented house helpers, all I had to do was constantly restock the baking materials, manage orders and deliver them. Lucky me, I know.

Flor, Mum and Rainmoi who were the true MVPs behind my entire fundraising bonanza!

My Bario trip was truly eye-opening and unique, and I would not have traded it for anything in the world. For all those reading this that are doubting their fundraising capabilities, remember that living a life of ‘oh well’s is better than one full of ‘what if’s. And trust me, you would not want to run through the next batch’s photos wondering how it would’ve been like if you had managed to get on board. So, put your best foot forward and as Nike always says, just do it.

Shannon. Batch 7