02 Aug 2014

Welcome Address by Mr K Barathan, CEO, SINDA at the SINDA Volunteers’ Tea 2014 0n Saturday 2 August 2014 at Nanyang Polytechnic


Guest of Honour, Mr Lawrence Wong, Minister for Culture, Community And Youth And 2nd Minister for Communications And Information

Mr. Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Chairman of SINDA

Ms. Indranee Rajah, President of SINDA

Members of SINDA Board of Trustees and Executive Committee

Volunteers, Community Leaders, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen.

A very good morning to one and all.


Welcome to the SINDA Volunteers’ Tea 2014.

As CEO of SINDA, I would like to start by acknowledging and commending the volunteers who have contributed over the years towards the Indian community and SINDA since its inception.

SINDA’s Programmes and Services

  • SINDA currently hosts an entire gamut of programmes and services for the entire family and we continually strive to meet the needs of the community as a whole. We have also rolled out new programmes with greater emphasis on the quality of our services.
  • Our subsidised tuition programmes, STEP and Project Teach, as well as enrichment workshops reach out to more than 6,700 students annually.
  • We have engaged more than 2,000 pre-school children and their parents through specific programmes and activities.
  • SINDA reaches out to about 4,300 parents through various workshops and camps to equip parents with necessary skills and create better parent-child rapport.
  • More than 3,500 youths are involved in leadership and mentorship programmes to nurture and hone the skills in our Indian youths.
  • The SINDA Family Service Centre manages more than 400 cases and assists about 1,500 clients and families with referral and career services annually.
  • Donations and funds raised through Project GIVE help support these programmes as well as to provide bursaries, scholarships, vouchers and Family services.
  • We want to continue serving the community and we want to do more and we want to do it better. Together, we can reach out to many more amongst us who need the support and helping hand.

Volunteerism in SINDA

  • Today’s event is a tribute to our volunteers – those who have selflessly volunteered their time and resources to help run SINDA’s programmes and helped us achieve our vision and mission for the Indian community. Many of such programmes and outreach would not be possible without these passionate individuals here today.
  • SINDA’s volunteers comprise students, youths, working adults, non-Indians, New Citizens, Permanent Residents and retirees.
  • We have more than 800 volunteers on our books, ranging from the age of 11 to 66.
  • Among them are long term and ad hoc volunteers, SINDA Liaison Officers, student and youth mentors, parent volunteers, and key community leaders who sit in our committees and board and serve as advisors.
  • All of them make time despite their own commitments and full schedules, to give back to the community; they transcend the boundaries of age and race to do so.
  • As part of our integration efforts, we are proud that around 50% of our volunteers are New Citizens and Permanent Residents, who understand the importance of giving back to the community that they now are part of.
  • Today we are presenting awards to SINDA volunteers who have served consistently from 3 to 8 years. We are also presenting Youth awards to volunteers who are below the age of 35, and have served for at least 2 years. The Friends of SINDA award will be presented to organisations and volunteer groups who have contributed services towards SINDA’s projects and events on a pro-bono basis. The Group awards for Reading Circles and Literacy and Numeracy centres are given to centres in operation for at least one term, from 2012-2013.


What is unique about volunteerism at SINDA

  • At SINDA we give importance to engaging, recruiting, training and retaining our volunteer pool.
  • This is also achieved through the Volunteer Management System, which was set up in 2013 to effectively engage and interact with our volunteers. Currently, it serves as a platform to recruit new volunteers. By this year, it will be ready to function as an online portal, which facilitates better interaction between our staff and volunteers.
  • In 2014, we have conducted basic training, task-specific skills training and supplementary training sessions for around 160 volunteers and this has benefitted them.

Going Forward

  • Currently, we do face challenges and constraints such as matching inclination and capabilities of interested volunteers, with the needs of the programmes.
  • To counter such challenges, we are constantly exploring new and better ways to ensure that our volunteers have a positive and rich experience with us, and continue to work with our community.
  • SINDA provides financial reimbursements for volunteers who assist us in our programmes and we ensure that interested volunteers are contacted and registered as soon as possible and matched to a suitable area for them to serve.
  • We have continuously reviewed our processes to enhance our systems and we are confident that it will be a smoother and more efficient experience for all volunteers.


  • This being the Year of the Family, it is apt that we have this event to celebrate our volunteers who are an integral part of the SINDA family. We also encouraged our volunteers to bring their own family members along for this event. I am glad to see that many of you have brought your family members here today.
  • I would also like to take this opportunity to encourage you to continue contributing and sharing your expertise, experiences and resources with us.
  • Volunteering as a family can be a great way to bond and learn more about our family members. So I strongly encourage you to involve your family members—children and parent—to join us in our endeavours. I truly believe that everyone has something special to offer and this would be a great opportunity. I look forward to seeing more of you and working together towards more positive outcomes for the community as a whole.
  • Once again, I would like to thank all our volunteers here today as well as those who are not here but have served over the years. On behalf of SINDA and the thousands of beneficiaries who have benefitted from your dedicated services, a big thank you to all of you.
  • Thank you and do enjoy the rest of the programme.