Speech by Guest of Honour, Justice Judith Prakash, Term Trustee, SINDA, at Project Athena Mother’s Day Dinner on 28 May 2017 at the Singapore Flyer
Mr K Barathan, CEO, SINDA;
Mothers and children, Ladies and gentlemen.
A good evening to all of you. It is my pleasure to join you today as we celebrate Mothers’ Day, in this beautiful place, surrounded by lovely women and their families.
- Mothers hold a special place in our hearts. Most of us connect more strongly with our mothers than fathers, and that is because of the qualities they embody. They are the first faces we look to as babies, they are the care-givers who see us through our formative years and they are the ones we go to when life throws us curveballs.
- Our mothers mean many things and the words of Rudyard Kipling eloquently summarise: “God could not be everywhere, and therefore he made mothers”.
- When we think of our mothers, a great number of virtues come to mind—compassion, love, strength, trust and comfort are some key qualities; qualities that are present within each mother here. You have shown how selfless you can be, by placing your families’ needs and happiness before your own. By doing so, you’ve made countless sacrifices, going out of your way and working diligently to ensure your families’ well-being. So, while there may be just one day to honour the strong individuals that each one of you are, your children are a celebration of your indomitable spirit and testament to the many sacrifices you have made.
- Many of you have been part of the Project Athena programme. Over the years, Project Athena has reached out to more than 350 mothers and 700 children through various activities. Beyond a formal support network for Indian single mothers in Singapore, the programme equips Indian mothers with the skills necessary to become self-sufficient, resilient and confident in facing social, financial and emotional hurdles. It is a unique programme at SINDA and it our honour to have known so many mothers, coming from all walks of life.
- Parents generally face a number of challenges when raising a family. Such challenges are increased multi-fold when one has to do so as a single parent, juggling the roles and responsibilities of both parents in raising a child. It is not easy, and each one’s circumstances are unique. But the common thread among all of you, is that, you have overcome your personal obstacles, you have risen to the challenge and you have become outstanding role models to their children. We are proud of you and we are especially proud to have you as part of our SINDA family.
Project Athena Moving Forward
- The Project Athena programme has evolved tremendously over the years. What started out as a counselling programme for a few mothers, has now become a full-fledged enrichment and activities-based programme that looks after the holistic development of both mothers and children.
- As a long-term goal, we want to ensure that our mothers are empowered and equipped with the right skills to face modern trends. To achieve this, our programmes now include financial literacy talks, cyber wellness workshops and career guidance sessions. These programmes ensure that you are provided with the right avenues to upgrade your skills and be ready for opportunities that come your way.
- It is important to engage the children as well, and that is why we have put heavy emphasis on nurturing children through Project Athena. Sometimes, we may not have enough time – work and other such matters keep us busy. As a consequence, our children are left on their own, without proper supervision. Children require sustained guidance and support to ensure they are on the right path and to pick up good habits, especially in their formative years. So, we at SINDA want to help you.
- SINDA, together with the other Self-help Groups, has founded the Big Heart Student Care Centre project, which provides your children with after-school care at their schools, so that you can have peace of mind and know that they are well taken care of.
- Your children can also be part of ActiveSG Sports Academy’s football, athletics and swimming programmes, allowing them to realise their hidden talents. In addition, SINDA’s Guidance and Mentorship programme also offers students a chance to further their skills in music, photography or dance. The newly-formed SINDA Youth Football Initiative gives our boys a chance to play in football tournaments and bond with like-minded peers. All of these programmes also include mentorship and motivation components, so that our children can experience holistic growth.
- So there a variety of programmes that can benefit our children, as they go through formal schooling, grow into teenagers and become young adults. It is important that we make full use of such opportunities, for their benefit.
- These and many more initiatives are planned for Project Athena. At this point in time, I would like to say that this programme would not have been possible without the support of Mr Rajoo Amurdalingam, Managing Director of The National Forwarder. His involvement goes beyond the funds that he contibutes towards Project Athena. I am humbled by his commitment, his compassion and more importantly his earnest desire to make a real difference in the lives of single-mother families in our community. I thank him on behalf of SINDA, and I hope that many more like Mr Rajoo will join hands with us, in our mission to uplift the Indian community.
- On that note, I wish each one of you a very Happy Mothers’ Day. You’ve come this far and you have achieved much through sheer determination. My wish for you, as you and your children continue through life, is that your journey forward is filled with beautiful memories, cherished moments and exciting adventures in company of loved ones. Happy Mothers’ Day and I hope you have a pleasant evening.