art stall craft
A Montfort Junior School student customising his fabric pouch at the arts and crafts stall.

On Sept 28, much of Palu, Donggala and Mamuju in Sulawesi, Indonesia, was devastated by an earthquake and a subsequent tsunami. The disaster claimed thousands of lives, injured many others, destroyed infrastructure and homes, leaving survivors without shelter and basic needs.

At Montfort Junior School, staff and parents wanted to teach the students to be A Man For Others, which is the vision of school. As such, a jumble sale to raise funds for the disaster victims was organised on Nov 14.

Appeals were sent out to students and parents to donate items at the jumble sale and the huge box that was set up to receive items overflowed many times over.

Parent volunteers took turns to come in every couple of days over a period of one and a half months to sort, clean and price the items. Everything was priced low – from 10 cents up, to make them affordable to everyone.

Student “buskers” started practising for their guitar, dance and singing performances once exams were over. Others wrote notes of empathy, support and encouragement for the survivors of the disaster and these were put up on a cardboard Christmas tree. Many also signed up to help out at the jumble sale.

On Nov 14, the jumble sale opened in the morning to crowds of excited boys. Stalls selling pre-loved toys were the most popular. At the art and craft stall, students could purchase fabric pouches for $3 and customise them using a variety of stencils and paint. Also available were drawstring bags with silk-screened popular superheroes.

Over at the entrance of the school canteen, the busker groups provided entertainment and spectators dropped love offerings into a donation box. In the school courtyard where the game stalls were, students were running around, amid much yelling, trying to step on each others’ balloons which were tied to their ankles.

Guitar band buskers
Student “buskers” put on guitar performances as part of the entertainment.

Some Primary 6 students were rostered to interview younger students, asking them what they knew about the disaster in Indonesia, why they wanted to help and how they could help. Some shared that for them, being A Man For Others means being helpful to those in need and being willing to sacrifice time and money in order to be kind. Most heart-warming were the students who spent their money, buying items for family members and caregivers and also, the big-hearted students who volunteered to be rostered for helping out in the various segments of the jumble sale.

The event raised about of $2,500 for the disaster victims. More than that, it brought together students and adults working together with compassion and service in their hearts.