Kristus Aman's Teddy Bear Project

teddy bear projectFollowing an appeal from the Archdiocese, the Kristus Aman chapel appealed to its parishioners and Catechism students to donate pre-loved and new teddy bears for distribution to less fortunate privileged children. Teddy bears have a universal appeal and are an enduring symbol of cuddly toys that children cling to for comfort, to help them sleep and whenever they feel insecure. So, giving up a teddy bear no matter how old and tattered is a significant emotional parting for many, even for the grown-up kids. It is giving away a dear, nostalgic friend “who had always been there for them ”. The Catechetical Ministry understandably was a little anxious about the sort of response this would receive.

Nonetheless, the appeal was made to the Catechism students and parishioners. Soon after, the teddy bears started to trickle in … small, big and humongous, skinny and chubby, multi-coloured and mono-coloured, some looking more like other animals than bears. All were happily received, and over time, the numbers kept growing such that we soon ran out of space to store them. By November 2019, over 200 teddy bears were received.

The Kachin Refugee Learning Centre (KRLC) was selected as the recipient of the teddy bears. KRLC has been running two refugee schools for over twelve years, one in Bukit Bintang and the other in Setapak. These schools catered for children from nursery school to secondary school level. A third school was started in Serdang in 2017 for nursery and pre-school children. At the end of each school year, KRLC holds a combined concert and prize-giving event for all 3 schools. It was decided that this would be the ideal event for the distribution of the teddy bears, prioritizing the younger children first. On 7th Dec 2019, KRLC held their annual year-end event with a food sale, concert and prize giving for the top students from each class. When the event was over and the children were filing out of the auditorium, the teachers handed out to each of the little kids a teddy bear. There were beaming smiles of surprise and glee from each one of them not suspecting they would receive a charming door gift such as this. After all the younger kids received their teddy bears, the remaining teddy bears were distributed to the other older students (picture).

The students of Kristus Aman Sunday School can be proud of the difference they have brought to many young children through this innovative project. Though the children have given teddy bears, which may have had memories with them, the Teddys now go on to make fresh memories with their new “friends”.