Sharity Elephant

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The original look of Sharity Elephant from 1984.

Sharity Elephant is a mascot designed for Singapore’s Community Chest. Sharity was the mascot for a campaign that aimed to inculcate the values of sharing and caring in young children. Created in 1984, the Sharity campaign celebrated “35 years of caring and sharing” at Gardens by the Bay on 14 August 2019.[1]

Origins (1984)

Sharity debuted in 1984 on Children’s Day. Sharity’s name is a combination of the words “share” and “charity” - values that Sharity constantly practices and wishes for children to emulate.[2] Sharity was conceptualised by Terry Herbert, a copywriter from Mccann-Erickson in New Zealand. According to Herbert, an elephant was chosen “Because elephants live in communities and help each other”.[3]


To further promote the Sharity Project, Herbert created a backstory for Sharity. The Community Chest also unveiled other animal characters that were Sharity’s friends and lived together in Sharityland. For example, there was Lavender Lamb, Sharity’s “pretty next-door neighbour”; and Lanky Giraffe, Sharity’s best friend.[4]

Sharity’s backstory

A full page spread for Sharity Elephant in a 1984 newspaper clipping. Photo from NewspaperSG.

Shartity Elephant's backstory has evolved through the years. As of 2019, there are three versions of Sharity's story.

1984

Sharity’s backstory was first published in The Straits Times as a comic strip. It included a picture that readers could colour in and submit for a colouring contest if they were under 10 years old.[5]


Based on Herbert’s story, Sharity was a spoilt and selfish female elephant. She did not have any friends and liked to push and bully the other animals around. However, when a water crisis struck the jungle, Sharity learnt that sharing and helping other animals for a good purpose was rewarding. In turn, she began to make friends with the other animals and never felt lonely or selfish again.[6]

1987

In 1987, the Community Chest rebranded the Sharity campaign through a new series of books titled “My Sharity Collection”. The series contained four storybooks and two activity books. It was launched at the 1987 Book Fair.[7] Each storybook cost S$4.50 while the two activity books cost S$5.50 and S$2.50. For every collection set sold during the Book Fair, one book from the collection was given to a child from a children’s home that was a beneficiary of the Community Chest.[8]


In this new campaign, Sharity was re-imagined as a young male pink elephant. He had to leave the forest because he was hated and rejected by the other elephants because of his skin. Eventually, Sharity made friends with other animals and they went on various adventures together.[9]

2016

Sharity’s story was revitalised again in 2016 after a period of inactivity from 2008. Included in this story is an additional fact sheet about Sharity.[10] The story updated the Sharityland residents with additional characters, such as Buddy the dog, Felicity the cat, and Cheeky the monkey.[11]


Building on the 1987 story, Sharity was mocked for looking different from other elephants. Instead of running away and being sad, he took it in his stride and continued caring and sharing with his friends and the less fortunate. With his caring gestures, Sharity won the hearts of everyone, including those that had ridiculed him before.[12]

Sharity Club (1986 - 1989)

A newspaper clipping from 1985 promoting Sharity Club. Photo from NewspaperSG.

The Sharity Club was set up in early 1986. It was created to meet the requests of the students who wanted more interactive activities with Sharity.[13][14] The club offered free membership to any interested children. By 5 June 1987, the Sharity Club had around 40,000 members ranging from preschoolers to secondary school pupils. Some of the club activities include visiting voluntary organisations  and learning sign language to communicate with the deaf.[15]

Sharity Magazine

To reach out to its members and non-members, the Sharity Club curated and published magazines featuring children’s letters, cartoon strips and interactive activities. In 1987, it was recorded that six magazine issues were released in a year. Each magazine cost S$1.20 with an annual subscription cost S$6.[16]

Sharity Radio

The Sharity Radio Show was launched in June 1987. It was a 30-minute programme, sponsored by Fuji Film. The show was broadcasted weekly until 28 May 1988.[17] As part of the club’s effort, the radio show intended to be a “fun and subtle” way to reach out to children aged 12 and below.[18] To complement the programme, Community Chest planned to stage a total of 14 shows at various libraries and shopping centres.[19]

Popularity

Based on a survey conducted by the Survey Research Singapore, Sharity Club was well-received by children and parents. The survey interviewed 208 parents and almost 90% of them thought that the club activities were effective in inculcating values. One in three of them said that their children became more sensitive towards the less fortunate as a result of participating in Sharity events and activities.[20]


Due to its popularity, the first shopping centre-based Sharity Club opened at the Forum Galleria on 6 May 1989. The club featured new activities such as puppet shows. A total of 10 shopping centre-based Sharity Clubs were launched throughout 1989.[21]

Public programmes

Cheeky Monkey, Lavender Lamb, Sharity Elephant and Lanky Giraffe at Haw Par Villa in 1993. Photo from National Archives Singapore.
The updated cast of Sharity and Friends as of 2019. Screengrab from "Sharity & the Father of Charity (Ep 2): Inspiring Sharity" (YouTube video)

Sharity and her friends had a physical debut on 15 March 1986 at the Mandai Zoo.[22] Their costumes were made in Japan and sponsored by Fuji Photo Film.[23] Following their debut, Sharity and other Sharityland residents constantly made appearances at public events. For example, Community Chest organised “Sharity Elephant Travelling Shows” at public libraries.[24]

1988 Sharityland Christmas Light-Up

On 19 November 1988, the Sharityland characters took part in the Christmas celebrations along Orchard Road. Jointly organised by the Community Chest and Singapore Tourist Promotion Board, the characters were part of the Christmas light-up decorations that stretched for four kilometres - from the junction of Tomlinson Road and Tanglin Road to Marina Square.[25]


A 38-day Christmas fair called Sharity Wonderland was held at the Ngee Ann Kongsi land next to the Mandarin Hotel. The fair was open daily from 5 pm on weekdays and 11 am on weekends. Both Christmas events were used to raise funds for the beneficiaries under the Community Chest.[26]

1989 Sharity Heart Awards

In 1989, the Sharity Heart Awards were announced to recognise caring children. The award was open to children aged between 4 and 12 years old. To be up for a nomination, a child “must have done exceptional caring deeds for the needy for the less fortunate and they should also be generally helpful, considerate and friendly towards their classmates, teachers, friends and family”. A specially designed Selangor pewter Sharity-shaped trophy, measuring 7.5cm tall,  was awarded to the three most caring children.[27]

Sharity Day (2015 - Present)

As part of its 2015 comeback, the Community Chest launched Sharity Day to mark Sharity’s birthday on Children’s Day. The event, held at Resort World Theatre, was jointly organised with Resort World Sentosa (RWS) who made a five-year pledge of support worth S$5 million to the Community Chest.[28] The following year, Sharity Day was held at the River Safari and was jointly organised with Wildlife Reserves Singapore.[29]

Sharity website (2017 - Present)

In 2017, the official Sharity website was launched to mark Sharity’s transition to an online platform. The online debut aimed to make Sharity and its message more relevant and accessible to both students and teachers.[30] The website provides teaching material for classroom activities and games and contests for students.[31] Eight animated episodes of "Sharity and Friends" are also accessible on the site.[32]

School outreach programmes

Charity Days

The Sharity Project was implemented as an outreach campaign targeting students from pre-schools, primary schools and secondary schools.[33]


Endorsed by the Ministry of Education (MOE), Community Chest set aside two ‘Charity Days’ to promote charity in schools: Children's’ Day for primary schools and the Fridays before Youth Day for secondary schools. On these days, Sharity envelopes would be distributed to schools to collect donations for the 22 member-charities under Community Chest.[34]

Good Deeds with Sharity (2015)

The Sharity project went on hiatus after 2008. It made a comeback in 2015 when the Community Chest, together with MOE’s support, piloted an outreach programme to primary 3 students called “Good Deeds with Sharity”. Over 72,000 students participated in the activity which encouraged them to record good deeds at home, in school and the community.[35]


In 2016, Sharity was incorporated into the Character and Citizenship Education (CCE) curriculum in primary schools. It was also expanded to include “Family Time with Sharity” for the primary 1 students. With special fun packs and stickers, the younger students were encouraged to do simple acts of caring and sharing for family members. In turn, family members were encouraged to write down words of affirmation to acknowledge their efforts.[36]


As of 2019, Community Chest organises a touring Sharity Musical Show for schools.[37]

References / Citations

  1. Sharity. “Sharity Day 2019”. Facebook July 1, 2019. Accessed 16 August 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.facebook.com/sharityclub/photos/a.213595038676809/2166001633436130/?type=3&theater
  2. Koh, Nancy. “Sharity will teach kids the joy of giving”. The Straits Times. September 28, 1984. Accessed 16 August 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  3. Koh, Nancy. “Sharity will teach kids the joy of giving”. The Straits Times. September 28, 1984. Accessed 16 August 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  4. “Sharity Elephant leads in caring and sharing”. The Straits Times. October 2, 1985. Accessed 16 August 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  5. “Part 1”. The Straits Times. September 28, 1984. Accessed 16 August 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  6. “Part 1”. The Straits Times. September 28, 1984. Accessed 16 August 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  7. “The Sharity way to children’s hearts”. The Straits Times. September 5, 1987. Accessed 16 August 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  8. "The Sharity way to children’s hearts”. The Straits Times. September 5, 1987. Accessed 16 August 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  9. “The Sharity way to children’s hearts”. The Straits Times. September 5, 1987. Accessed 16 August 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  10. “Factsheet on Sharity”. Sharity. 2016. Accessed 16 August 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  11. National Council of Social Service. "All about Sharity”. Sharity. Accessed 16 August 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.comchest.sg/sharity/about.html
  12. “Factsheet on Sharity”. Sharity. 2016. Accessed 16 August 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  13. “Chest plans to set up a Sharity Club”. Business Times. August 3, 1985. Accessed 16 August 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  14. "Chest needs sponsors for Sharity Club". The Straits Times. August 3, 1985. Accessed on 20 August 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  15. “Children’s ‘learn to care’ club has big plans”. The Straits Times. January 27, 1986. Accessed 16 August 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  16. “Hello Kids”. The Straits Times. March 8, 1987. Accessed 16 August 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  17. “Sharity Radio Show begins on Saturday”. The Straits Times. June 5, 1987. Accessed 16 August 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  18. “Sharity and pals to star in radio show”. The Straits Times. March 9, 1987. Accessed 16 August 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  19. “Sharity Radio Show begins on Saturday”. The Straits Times. June 5, 1987. Accessed 16 August 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  20. “Sharity Radio Show begins on Saturday”. The Straits Times. June 5, 1987. Accessed 16 August 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  21. “Pink theme for kids’ party”. The Straits Times. May 5, 1989. Accessed 16 August 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  22. “Sharity debut”. The Straits Times. March 15, 1986. Accessed 16 Augusut 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  23. “Sharity to go on zoo outing”. The Straits Times. March 15, 1986. Accessed 16 August 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  24. “Page 29 Miscellaneous Column 1”. The Straits Times. June 14, 1986. Accessed 16 August 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  25. Wong, Jacqueline. “Light-up to raise $2m for charity”. The Straits Times. October 12, 1988. Accessed 16 August 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  26. Dominic Nathan. “Sharity fair wonderland opens in Orchard Road today”. The Straits Times. November 19, 1988. Accessed 16 August 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  27. “Sharity Heart awards for caring children”. The Straits Times. August 8, 1989. Accessed 16 August 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  28. “Community chest receives 5-year pledge of support worth S$5 million from Resorts World Sentosa on Sharity Day”. Community Chest. October 3, 2015. Accessed 16 August 2019. Retrieved from comchest.sg.
  29. Teng, Amelia. “Sharity Elephant makes a comeback to encourage students to do good”. The Straits Times. September 30, 2016. Accessed 16 August 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/education/sharity-elephant-makes-a-comeback-to-encourage-students-to-do-good
  30. Mock, Annika. “Sharity elephant makes a comeback with its own website”. The Straits Times. March 21, 2017. Accessed 16 August 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/education/sharity-elephant-makes-a-comeback-with-its-own-website
  31. “All about Sharity”. Sharity. Accessed 16 August 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.comchest.sg/sharity/about.html
  32. “Sharity Animations”. Sharity. Accessed 16 August 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.comchest.sg/sharity/about.html#sharity-animations
  33. Koh, Nancy. “Sharity will teach kids the joy of giving”. The Straits Times. September 28, 1984. Accessed 16 August 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  34. Koh, Nancy. “Sharity will teach kids the joy of giving”. The Straits Times. September 28, 1984. Accessed 16 August 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  35. “School welcome Sharity as part of character and citizenship education (CCE)”. Community Chest. September 30, 2016. Accessed 16 August 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.comchest.sg/getmedia/a794c2fb-0249-4d0a-9239-3de0ee8b96b6/Schools-welcome-Sharity-as-part-of-character-and-citizenship-education-FINAL.aspx
  36. “School welcome Sharity as part of character and citizenship education (CCE)”. Community Chest. September 30, 2016. Accessed 16 August 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.comchest.sg/getmedia/a794c2fb-0249-4d0a-9239-3de0ee8b96b6/Schools-welcome-Sharity-as-part-of-character-and-citizenship-education-FINAL.aspx
  37. “Hello Parents & Teachers!”. Sharity. Accessed 16 August 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.comchest.sg/sharity/parents-teachers.html#sharity-school-shows