Hagar photo edits

Hagar Singapore's 40.3 for Freedom challenge is back. Last year's participants (pictured), ran, walked and cycled. All photos courtesy of Hagar Singapore.

Make burning calories count by exercising to raise funds for survivors of trafficking and slavery.

Hagar Singapore’s virtual fitness challenge themed around the number 403 is back for the second year – this time with new categories to include more participants of different ages and fitness levels.

The fundraising 40.3 for Freedom challenge, held in Singapore, replaces the Angkor Wat Run in Cambodia which is currently on hold because of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Parents are encouraged to involve their kids in the fitness challenges to open a conversation about modern slavery. 

The number 403 is significant as the funds raised go towards rewriting the stories of the 40.3 million people living in slavery around the world.

Beyond walking, running and cycling, participants this year have the freedom to select any sport or fitness activity around the number of 403 in distance, duration or intervals. There are prizes for the most creative choices.

Depending on one’s fitness level, one may do 403 sit-ups, or split a daily 40-minute high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout into 3 shorter sessions.

Tennis lovers could play a 40.3-minute match together. 

Participants of this year’s challenge are given the freedom to select any kind sport or fitness activity based around the theme of 403. Infographic by Hagar Singapore.

Parents are encouraged to involve their kids in the fitness challenges to open a conversation about modern slavery. 

Hagar Singapore recommends that race participants start with a minimum goal of raising $500, which could finance critical assistance for 10 survivors. 

Participants from last year’s 40.3 for Freedom challenge include (clockwise, from left) cyclist Kevin Lai, who urged: “We should not to let Covid-19 stop us from doing good”; Alan Pan and son Noah who completed a 40.3km walk; and friends from Team Joy Set Before Us who surpassed their initial target of $3,000.

Those who identify better as a friend of a fitness fiend can pledge their support in dollars. Children may also donate a portion of their daily allowance to the cause. 

The 10-day virtual fitness challenge will run from November 5 till November 14.

Exacerbated by Covid

Hagar has been running recovery and empowerment programmes for survivors of human trafficking since 1994. The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated the survivors’ needs.

“More than 70% (of the survivors) have lost their jobs since Covid struck last year,” said Lynette Lim, Director of Development and Communications at Hagar Singapore.

“With the ongoing lockdowns in their countries, they are unable to find new livelihood options. Things have worsened to the point that they are unable to access even basic food and medicine. Many children have dropped out of school because they cannot afford the additional costs from doing home-based learning.” 

Team Hagar, including Lynette Lim (second from left), completing the 40.3 challenge at the inaugural virtual 40.3 For Freedom race last year.

“We need all the support to help the survivors through these extremely difficult crises,” said Lynette.

Help one person to impact six

Hagar Singapore is aiming to raise $180,000 to provide critical relief for about 1,000 survivors in Cambodia, Vietnam and Singapore. A portion of funds will also be directed toward providing critical relief for the displaced women and children in Afghanistan.

In last year’s 40.3 for Freedom challenge, 68 race participants supported by close to 1,700 donors raised $177,435 to benefit 874 women and child survivors of trafficking and slavery in these countries. 

Mother-daughter duo Gui Mei and Amelia Chong are part of Team NEWA (Never Ever Walk Alone). At time of writing, the team was in first position on the fundraising leaderboard for this year’s 40.3 for Freedom challenge.

The funds were used to provide critical food assistance, medical treatment, Covid-19 essentials, educational support during school closures and economic assistance for survivors who had lost their jobs during the pandemic.

Paul Chan (Board Chair of Hagar Singapore) and wife Miriam Chan completed last year’s challenge with their team along East Coast Park on a cool evening. Their team printed their own race bibs.

Breaking down how funds raised can benefit survivors:

  • $50 provides one month of meals and daily living essentials for two survivors
  • $100 helps to keep a survivor in school for three months
  • $180 provides counselling for a child with a history of trauma and abuse
  • $250 provides emergency shelter for a child survivor for three months
  • $500 provides comprehensive recovery assistance for one survivor, including safe accommodation, legal assistance and trauma-informed counselling.

$50 provides one month of meals and daily living essentials for two survivors. 

Hagar’s experience shows that for every individual supported, an additional four to six people in their household are positively affected.

Said Chantou, a Hagar beneficiary in Cambodia: “Thank you for helping me and my family. We are hungry all the time but now we have food. My children can study and I am so happy. I am learning new skills from Hagar and I hope to find a job soon so that I can support my family.”

Said Denise and Darrell, a brother-sister duo who participated in the 2020 race: “Human trafficking and slavery are heinous crimes. We’re no fitness fiends, but we just want to do what little we can to help.”

Want to join 40.3 for Freedom? 

Dates: November 5 – 14, 2021 

Location: Anywhere in Singapore

Registration fee: $30

This challenge is suitable for all ages and fitness abilities and one can complete the race anytime from November 5 to November 14.  In this virtual race, you can perform any kind of fitness activity where you are to complete the challenge.

There are three categories:

  • Distance Challenge (4.03km or 40.3km of selected fitness activity)
  • Duration Challenge (40.3 minutes, 4.03 hours or 40.3 hours of selected fitness activity)
  • Interval Challenge (40 minutes of selected fitness activity, every 3 days or 3 times per day)

To register:

  1. Sign up for the race here and select a challenge category.
  2. Set up your fundraising page (click here for tips) to let people know what motivated you to join 40.3 for Freedom. With just $500 raised, you can help 10 survivors recover from exploitation and abuse.
  3. Complete the challenge any time from November 5 to November 14, 2021. Hagar beneficiaries in Cambodia and Singapore will be participating too.

About the organiser:

Hagar Singapore is part of Hagar International, a Swiss-based international humanitarian nonprofit organisation, which has local offices in Australia, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Singapore and the United States of America.

Founded in 1994, Hagar offers support to women and children who are survivors of gender-based violence and human trafficking.

In Hebrew, Hagar means “one who flees” or “one who seeks refuge”.


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About the author

Konstanze Tan

Konstanze Tan is a graduate student researching population health. Outside work, she can be found in the kitchen conceptualising below-10-minute one-pot meals. Her love for the written word was birthed in an English tuition class she attended back in primary school after a series of failed English exams. Konstanze is an intern at Salt&Light.