Members of SINDA, welcome.
2018 was a meaningful year for SINDA and much progress was made. The existing programmes saw deeper impact; there were new opportunities which allowed us to innovate and the “flip model” approach that we have been adopting – reaching out to our target audience rather than expecting them to come to us, has allowed us to forge stronger connections and to increase our presence in the community.
I am happy to share that these approaches have resulted in an increase in outreach across our frontline divisions – Education, Youth, Family and the Family Service Centre. SINDA benefitted 22,096 individuals in 2018, which is a 38% increase from the previous year.
Let me elaborate on some of the key strategies.
Holistic Care through Multiple Touchpoints
The first is holistic care through multiple touchpoints. 2018 saw renewed focus on providing holistic, all-round care for individuals who came to SINDA for a specific programme or assistance. So when we look to them, we assessed them holistically and where necessary, referred them to other programmes that could benefit them – not just the particular programme they may have approached us for. What this has done is that it has allowed us to provide a multi-pronged approach to those in need.
For example, a teenager who is in SINDA’s STEP programme can also attend the youth development programmes; as well as receive financial aid and programme subsidies, if eligible. The student’s family may be referred to the Family Service Centre for counselling and social services, should their circumstances require such support.
These multiple touchpoints have allowed us to track each recipient’s progress and ensure that assistance is given and meets the range of needs.
Let me just take this example of Mr Anandan Arumugam, Operations Executive, who is a SINDA beneficiary. In 2016, he sustained an injury in his workplace and was deemed physically unfit to work. He was the sole breadwinner and the incident caused him to be unable to provide for himself, his wife and five children. His wife had to open a stall at a school canteen to help support the family.
He got to know about the assistance available to his family through SINDA Family Service Centre’s caseworkers. The family underwent counselling at SINDA that helped strengthen their ties and help one another progress. They went for family-bonding activities that were organised; the children were already in STEP tuition and were further enrolled in Project Guide. Children benefited and improved in the subjects that they were taking tuition for – the youngest son also found that the Landmark Examination Preparation programme was effective in preparing for the PSLE.
New Initiatives for an Evolving Landscape
We have also put in place new initiatives for the evolving landscape. 2018 was in many ways a new chapter for SINDA as we implemented new initiatives and upstream measures to counter key challenges.
The organisation had to be innovative and creative in finding new ways to reach out to the community and ensure maximum impact of our programmes.
One such initiative was the Hello Baby Gift Hamper which has seen very encouraging results. It basically opens a door, allows us to make contact with young Indian families and their children. While the hamper aims to boost an infant’s early learning, it also gave SINDA the opportunity to connect with young parents and introduce them to the wider range of SINDA programmes. The gift hampers were distributed to 250 families last year and through that, we have reached out to 766 family members. Many of them have subsequently enrolled into our family workshops and enrichment activities.
A Venue Near You
Next, venue – bringing the venue to our target profiles. Extending our outreach into the heartlands and making our programmes more accessible was another key priority for us in 2018.
Leading the way was the SINDA Bus that was launched in January last year, in Sembawang. The Bus has become a popular focal point at grassroots and community events. That is where our staff and volunteers share information about SINDA and they host mini teaser programmes for the children and parents. Basically, the Bus gives a preview of SINDA programmes – children and families come down from the heartlands, they see what the programmes are about, try them out and that becomes an introduction and a channel to the other SINDA programmes.
We were also able to increase engagement with the heartlands through our Door Knocking Exercise (DKE) for low-income Indian households. We reached out to many residents who required assistance but were unaware about how to go about getting help. Without this DKE, many of them would not have known or be known to SINDA, at all. Social workers were at hand to assist these residents with their needs, and many were later referred to the SINDA FSC or other help agencies for deeper intervention.
We have also stepped up our collaboration with the community, especially with the grassroots bodies, for the DKE. They, together with the religious and community partners, have provided venues for our programmes, offering pre-schoolers and students greater convenience and accessibility.
Newly-launched venues such as the SINDA Youth Hub at Jurong Point and the Self-Help Groups’ Vibrance @ Yishun centre, have allowed us to better connect with Indians living in these areas. For the first time, our Back To School Festival was decentralised across three schools, allowing us to reach close to 2,500 students.
Together, these strategies have produced results and the management team is focused on enhancing these further in the coming years.
Finally – impactful partnerships. Partnerships have been integral to SINDA in its mission to improve students’ development. For example, SINDA is a community partner with the Ministry of Education taskforce, UPLIFT (Uplifting Pupils in Life and Inspiring Families Taskforce), which I chair. It aims to help to develop students from disadvantaged backgrounds to do better in school and in life.
For tertiary students, SINDA’s IBR, or Indian Business-leaders’ Roundtable, has partnered with Republic Polytechnic to pilot a mentorship programme, exclusively for Indian students. This mentorship focuses on confidence-building, motivation and career-counselling and facilitates internship opportunities with companies for students with potential.
These and other equally valuable partnerships have allowed us to build upon one another’s strengths to benefit our students and enhance their growth opportunities.
Anbarasu Rajendran succeeded K Barathan as SINDA’s Chief Executive Officer, after joining us as Deputy Chief Executive Officer in 2017. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Barathan for his steadfast commitment and many contributions to SINDA during his tenure as CEO.
Anbarasu and team are focused on building an environment and culture of excellence and will continue to strengthen our relationship with community partners. New initiatives which have been successfully piloted will be scaled up in 2019 for greater benefit.
Moving Forward Together
While we have achieved positive and meaningful results in 2018, SINDA will continue to explore new ways to keep pace with evolving trends.
We look forward to working closely with our partners, supporters and Indians in Singapore for the benefit of all in the community.
Thank you very much.