ADDRESS BY MR K BARATHAN, CEO, SINDA, AT THE INDIAN COMMUNITY BURSARY AWARDS CEREMONY AND BACK TO SCHOOL FESTIVAL 2017 ON SATURDAY, 18 NOVEMBER 2017 AT UMAR PULAVAR TAMIL LANGUAGE CENTRE
Mrs Josephine Teo, Minister, Prime Minister’s Office & Second Minister for Manpower & Home Affairs;
Ms Indranee Rajah, Senior Minister of State for Finance and Law and President, SINDA
Members of SINDA Board and Executive Committee;
Organising Partners, SIET and TRC;
Parents and Students;
A very good morning to each and every one of you.
- Each year, SINDA organises the Back to School Festival [BTSF] and the Indian Community Bursary Awards Ceremony [ICBAC] to provide financial support to students. This event is a great opportunity for the community to rally together for the betterment of the society. Together with us, our partners for the Bursary Awards today, the Singapore Indian Education Trust and the Tamils Representative Council have championed the cause of improving the lives of our students.
- I am happy to announce that today’s festival will see close to 2,000 students benefiting from bursaries and school kits – a significant increase compared to 1,200 in previous years – these students will receive different bursaries offered by the organising partners as well as school kits, comprising of $180 worth of vouchers, to purchase essentials for the coming school year.
- Education has remained SINDA’s chief mandate through the years – we recognise that it is a crucial factor that facilitates social mobility and better aspirations for the community. We also recognise that before our students can perform well academically, we must mitigate the other factors that each child faces, so that they can have a conducive environment and the right frame of mind to pursue their studies. A big part of this is having a holistic support network in place for our students’ benefit.
- 2018 will see SINDA investing more in the areas of pre-school, youth and family, through more upstream initiatives that counter the challenges facing our community currently. At pre-school level, SINDA will offer enrichment programmes to children as young as three-years-old to encourage active learning. For children from lower income homes, we will set up a fund for them to tap on for enrichment lessons that will add to their growth.
- For youth, SINDA is exploring values-based programmes that will instil in them good qualities and the right skill sets to face the challenges ahead. These programmes will complement the many enrichment programmes that we currently offer our youth. In addition, our satellite office in Jurong will be repurposed as a hub to offer our youth to have an exciting mix of programmes and an opportunity to network with peers through interest-based programmes.
- We will also introduce new programmes for parents-to-be as they start their fledgling journey into parenthood, through baby vouchers and parenting workshops. Our digital literacy workshops aligned with the Smart Nation movement will ensure that more families will benefit and leverage on the exciting opportunities that the future will present.
- At the heart of all these programmes is the child, and we remain steadfast in our conviction that no child should be denied opportunities either owing to their circumstances or from lack of access to such initiatives. SINDA and our network of partners will strive to provide avenues for each and every one in the community to better themselves and improve their socio-economic status.
- The way forward in bettering our community is a challenge as we seek to meet the demands of changing social landscapes. But, we are excited to explore these new modes to enhance the current support that we offer and believe that these will bring about significant benefit to the lives of our people. Let us, as a nation, as a community and as individuals, work hand-in-hand to ensure that no one is left behind and that there is progress for all Singaporeans.