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SINDA Honours 208 Partners and Volunteers for Invaluable Contributions to the Indian Community Biennial ceremony celebrates the many hands at work for community betterment

The Singapore Indian Development Association (SINDA), hosted its biennial SINDA Appreciation Ceremony (SAC), to honour and appreciate partners and volunteers dedicated efforts and contributions towards bettering the Indian community.

2. In line with safe-distancing measures, the event was held virtually and was attended by volunteers, guests and community leaders, including Guest-of-Honour, Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for Social Policies and Chairman of SINDA, Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam and Minister, Prime Minister’s Office, Second Minister for Finance and National Development, and President of SINDA Ms Indranee Rajah.

3. A signature SINDA event, the ceremony honoured 208 volunteers and partners for their contributions across four award categories – Community Partners, Volunteers, Schools & Sub-Committee/Resource Panel Members. Each category of recipients had played a distinct and unique role in serving the under-privileged in the Indian community. While community partners bring SINDA programmes to the heartlands, co-create programmes with SINDA and refer their constituents to SINDA for added support, volunteers are empowered and trained to initiate and lead programmes for beneficiaries.

4. Commending the efforts of recipients, President of SINDA Ms Indranee Rajah highlighted the importance of collective action: “The backbone of SINDA is its volunteers – while SINDA can develop policies and programmes, you are the ones Page 2 of 5 that help SINDA engage the ground, inspire and mentor. You represent the wide spectrum of people and groups who have joined SINDA in our mission of community betterment and your partnership remains very important to us.”

5. Minster Indranee also added that: “Volunteerism is not just about the giving, because by giving, you are also receiving. It enriches the spirit and leaves an imprint in people’s minds and experiences, which goes beyond the individual act of volunteerism.”

6. In 2020, while Covid-19 presented challenges to in-person engagements in heartlands, SINDA was able to adapt its approaches and continue its services, in part due to the strong support of its partners, volunteers and schools. Close to 1,000 volunteers, community partners and schools worked with SINDA to ensure that students and families in need continued to be cared.

7. The support of community partners such as the Narpani Pearavai’s Indian Activity Executive Committees (IAECs) have enabled SINDA to expand its outreach and bring programmes and services closer to the heartlands. “By visiting my residents and doing ground engagements together, we are able to find out what their concerns are and what they really need. This allows us to match them with other organisations and agencies like SINDA that can provide the necessary help,” added Mr Subramaniam Ramasamy, Chairman of Chong Pang IAEC. In addition to conducting over ten ground engagements since 2017, Chong Pang IAEC has collaborated with SINDA to introduce programmes such as Literacy & Numeracy programme for pre-schoolers and the Landmark Examination Preparation programme to constituents in its neighbourhood.

8. In recent years, SINDA has also seen more youths active in volunteerism and keen to be meaningfully involved with the community. Last year, in collaboration with several Indian youth organisations, the SINDA Youth Club (SYC) organised a variety of networking programmes, that helped youths tap upon working professionals for career guidance while also grooming these youth into leaders who could effect change in the community.

9. Among the many youths actively volunteering with SINDA is 19-year-old Sivakami Arunachalam, who has been a youth volunteer with SINDA since 2018. After starting Page 3 of 5 her volunteering journey as a reading volunteer, she went on to volunteer at various SINDA programmes, to connect with more within the community. “My volunteering journey with SINDA has given me so much confidence to interact with people. Through the reading programme, I not only got to see myself grow, but I was also able to bond with the children and instil in them an interest in reading and writing, which was very rewarding,” said Sivakami, who intends to continue her volunteering journey by providing support to children and students.

10. Improving academic achievements remains a key strategic thrust for SINDA, in ensuring that every student has the right support to succeed and do well in his or her chosen academic path. Supporting SINDA in these goals are various schools islandwide, which support the organisation with student identification and referral, in addition to offering school venues for after-school tutorial programmes by SINDA. “Students require a lot of support to succeed but we understand that some require additional support and encouragement. By working closely with SINDA we are able to provide the necessary assistance to our students,” said Mr Koh Yiak Kheng, Principal of Sengkang Secondary School – one of 68 schools recognised at the ceremony. 11. Walking guests through the evolution of SINDA’s collaborative efforts over the years, SINDA CEO, Mr Anbarasu Rajendran shared: “Our unity is our strength and it is the mantra for the Indian community to be successful. We know that SINDA alone can’t do this – our volunteers and partners are the unifying force behind SINDA’s success, and that is why continue to recognise them. We also hope that by celebrating volunteerism, we are joined by even more individuals and organisations in our collective mission of ensuring that the community continues moving forward together.”

Source: SINDA’s Press Release on March 13th, 2021

Photo:  SINDA

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