Speech by Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security and Patron Teo Chee Hean at the Singapore Children’s Society 1000 Enterprises for Children-in-Need and 1000 Philanthropists Appreciation Event on 23 March 2022.
Mr Koh Choon Hui, Chairman of Singapore Children’s Society,
Ladies and gentlemen, all our generous supporters,
Good afternoon. I am pleased to join all of you here at Singapore Children’s Society’s 1000 Enterprises for Children-in-Need and 1000 Philanthropists Appreciation Event.
Children represent our hope and our future. We want to do our best to ensure the well-being of each and every child, in particular those in need of care and protection. Even in modern Singapore, we can find, sometimes in the most unexpected places, children who are in need. They may be very bright children, but they are crying out for help. They may come from homes which are well-off and well-to-do, and they also need care and support.
There are many policies and initiatives that the Government has introduced to improve the welfare of our children, but the Government cannot do it all. This is where our Voluntary Welfare Organisations (VWOs), like Singapore Children’s Society, come in. Our VWOs complement the role of the Government by providing targeted care and support to specific groups or individuals in our society. Your efforts show the care and concern of members of our community. You play an indispensable role in our community, by always serving at the frontline.
This is a special year for Singapore Children’s Society, as it is celebrating its 70th anniversary. Since 1952, the Society has dedicated itself to improving the lives of children in need in Singapore. Over the past 70 years, it has evolved to meet new needs as Singapore progressed through different stages of development. At the same time, it has reached out in new and innovative ways to the community to raise funds to better support its wide range of services and programmes. The 1000 Enterprises for Children-in-Need and 1000 Philanthropists programmes, which all of you are strong supporters of, are two excellent examples. They provide an opportunity for people like yourself, to come forward and gather your strength together, in order to help those in need. And it shows to those who are recipients of your generosity that there are people and individuals who care for them, and that makes the fabric of our society so much stronger.
In these last two years, we have gone through very difficult times. Just to give you an example, those who had their JC education in the last two years, essentially went through two years of JC education without having had the full benefit of what would be a normal JC education. This is the kind of impact that this pandemic has had on our children. The need to support them through this difficult period is there. What has made the difference for Singapore during these two years? We do not have doctors who have any special knowledge about COVID compared to other doctors in other countries in the world; our scientists are not more advanced or better than the top scientists in the world. What has made the difference?
The difference is that we trust each other, we work together, we see this through together, and we spend our effort and energy working together and helping each other, rather than spend our effort and energy in contention and disagreement with each other. I think that has marked a big difference between our response to COVID in the past two years, and that in many other countries which you can see, where contention and distrust make it difficult for sensible policies to protect lives and livelihoods to be implemented coherently and effectively. What you are doing is helping to strengthen the fabric of society, to strengthen that mutual trust so that everyone knows we are in this together, we will work on it together and we will come through it together.
The Government will continue to support charitable organisations like the Singapore Children’s Society. For example, this year in the Budget, Minister for Finance Lawrence Wong said that we will be topping up $100 million to the Tote Board's Enhanced Fund-Raising Programme for another three years, and charities can apply to the Tote Board to receive dollar-for-dollar matching for eligible donations capped at $250,000 per charity per year. Charities will also receive support through the Charities Capability Fund (CCF), which will receive a top-up of $26 million. This will help charities to strengthen their capabilities to better serve our community. Charities too have to be well-run, professional and make good use of the resources that you put into the charities to serve the beneficiaries.
I want to thank all of you again this afternoon for all your support and generosity. I urge you to continue to donate generously, and also to tell your friends, family members and colleagues to contribute too. Singapore Children’s Society can only continue to reach out to more children in need with your continuous support. Through its programmes, more children will be able to pursue their dreams and realise their potential, regardless of their family background or financial situation.
I also want to congratulate Singapore Children’s Society once again on your 70th anniversary, and for the good work that you have done in bringing relief and happiness to families and children in need, nurturing generation after generation. With the continued support of you, our philanthropists and enterprises, I am confident that Singapore Children’s Society can continue to make a real difference to the lives of our children and families in Singapore.
Thank you very much.
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