Once a beneficiary himself, Salvation Army spokesman Major Hary Haran is giving back to those in need — here’s his story

(From left) Lu JiaQuan, co-Founder, imaginem; Peter Vesterbacka, entrepreneur and brand breaker at Lightneer; Major Hary Haran, territorial secretary for personnel, The Salvation Army Singapore
Zainal Yahya

With towering skyscrapers and top-notch infrastructure, Singapore is known as one of the richest nations in the world. But behind the glitz and glamour are the invisible members of society – the poor.

The Salvation Army Singapore has partnered imaginem, a social start-up for photography, to launch a new campaign titled ‘Making the Invisible, Visible‘. This campaign aims to shine a spotlight on the plight of the less fortunate in Singapore.

In an exclusive interview with Business Insider, Major Hary Haran, the spokesman for this campaign, who is also The Salvation Army Singapore’s territorial secretary for personnel, explained what ignited his burning passion for helping those in need.

He said: “I grew up in a situation where I lost my dad at the age of five, and there are seven other siblings with me as well.”

He confessed that his mother, who went through difficult moments while raising eight children, was the one who taught him how to serve “suffering humanity”.

The other reason that motivated him to join The Salvation Army was the people who helped him during the tough moments he faced as a child.

He said: “I appreciate the benefactors who have blessed and supported me. I have received so much, that I feel that I should be giving as well.”

Major Haran feels deeply connected to the beneficiaries at The Salvation Army Singapore.

“Every child comes from a different background, and some are worse than others,” he said, choking back his tears.

“Some of them are really difficult. They run, they play truant with you,” he added, “but with our help, they can grow out of it”.

He said: “Every month we receive a wedding card from them… we receive invitations for their graduations. That’s the rewarding part for us, that they still keep their relations with us, come back to us, and make us a part of their celebrations.”

Major Haran recalled a particular story that resonated with him the most.

“During Chinese New Year when most of the kids had gone home to be with their parents, there were those who did not have the chance to. We organised a party for the remaining kids and told them to put their skills to use.

“And that was the turning point where one of our beneficiaries discovered that he could cook. Two years ago, he started his own food business and is a donor at The Salvation Army today.”

Major Haran hopes the public will donate to The Salvation Army Singapore to support children in need, and help them achieve their dreams.

Through its ‘Making the Invisible, Visible’ campaign, The Salvation Army Singapore wishes to raise S$150,000 (US$109,057). The money will be used to transform the lives of their beneficiaries through social programmes and services.

The public can donate to the cause here.