Guest of Honour, Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Deputy Prime Minister, Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies and Chairman, SINDA;
Ms Indranee Rajah, Minister, Prime Minister’s Office, Second Minister for Finance and Education, and President of SINDA;
Members of SINDA Board of Trustees and Executive Committee;
Community Leaders, Educational Partners and Volunteers,
Ladies and Gentlemen.
A very good afternoon and it is my pleasure to welcome you to the SINDA Appreciation Ceremony 2018. Today’s event honours the many hands that have played a key role in making a difference in the lives of those in our community. On behalf of the organisation and our beneficiaries, I thank you for your dedication and commitment.
SPIRIT OF COLLABORATION
Overall, we collaborated with 300 partner organisations in 2017; a very healthy number, I would say. Collaborations with our community partners have been instrumental in reaching out to more Indians on the ground. For example, there have been instances where families in need of urgent help were unaware of avenues of assistance or embarrassed to ask for help. In such situations, our Indian, religious and grassroots partner organisations have been our eyes and ears on the ground, and have connected families to us for assistance.
An exemplary initiative was the collaborative door-knocking exercise at residential estates. Our partners and their members, trained and equipped to understand residents’ issues and concerns, visit families and identify potential areas for help. They are then referred to SINDA for the necessary support. These door-knocking efforts have helped us to ensure that we are active in tending to the community’s needs. We are pleased to share that with our partners’ help, this project benefitted more than 200 households in 2017.
Another initiative I would like to highlight is Project Guide – an after-school programme for Primary 3 to Sec 5 students who require personalised guidance with school work. Through this programme, students not only have a conducive, nurturing study-environment, but specially selected tutors, with the right skill sets, are at hand to guide them with homework. Importantly, Project Guide sessions are conducted at decentralised venues such as community clubs and temples, to allow for greater accessibility, enabling us to bring our educational assistance programmes to the heartlands. We have nine Project Guide centres at the moment, with many more organisations coming on board. This is testament to the enthusiastic and dedicated efforts by community partners to join us in our efforts and make a positive difference.
ROLE OF SCHOOLS
A key emphasis of SINDA’s has been education, and this is made possible only by the many schools that play an integral role in our student engagement and outreach. 88 educational institutions partnered us in 2017 to reach over 6,000 students in our STEP, Teach and Youth programmes. More than 200 educators have served as SINDA Liaison Officers, or SLOs, working as SINDA’s ambassadors in their schools to facilitate programmes and encourage greater participation.
We would like to extend our heartiest gratitude to the school leaders and SLOs who have shown tremendous dedication and commitment in helping our Indian students reach their true potential.
VOLUNTEERISM IN SINDA
Our outreach efforts are also strengthened thanks to our volunteers, who come from all walks of life. In 2017, our family of volunteers, numbering close to 500, empowered, guided and impacted participants and beneficiaries through programmes such as Project Read and Literacy and Numeracy. Together, they spent close to about 5,000 man hours.
As a voluntary-welfare organisation, or a VWO, SINDA depends on its volunteers to extend its efforts on to the ground, and I’m happy that many have gone beyond their call of duty, to make sure that meaningful and impactful help is rendered at the right time.
MOVING FORWARD TOGETHER
At SINDA, we are focused on building a strong spirit of community–mindedness and ownership. We must have our heart in the right place, be focused on the needs of our fellowmen and render help unconditionally. Only then, can we build a strong and vibrant Singaporean Indian community, poised for greater successes. Each of you – partner, school, volunteer – has been a testament to this spirit and I am very encouraged by the dedication that you have shown.
I look forward to strengthening our collaborative efforts, and introducing even more impactful strategies for the ultimate benefit of the community and all Singaporeans. Together, we can achieve greater things and create deeper impact.
On that note, I thank you once again for being part of the SINDA family and I wish you a great day ahead.