SM Teo Chee Hean at the Singapore Children’s Society 1000 Enterprises for Children-in-Need and 1000 Philanthropists Appreciation Dinner 2024

SM Teo Chee Hean | 17 April 2024

Transcript of speech by Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean at the Singapore Children's Society 1000 Enterprises for Children-in-Need And 1000 Philanthropists Appreciation Dinner on 17 April 2024.


Good evening
Prof Ho Lai Yun, Deputy Chairman of Singapore Children’s Society,
Distinguished guests,
Ladies and gentlemen,
All of you, our generous sponsors,

I am pleased to join all of you at Singapore Children’s Society’s 1000 Enterprises for Children-in-Need (1000E) and 1000 Philanthropists (1000P) Appreciation Dinner.

Singapore Children’s Society has done much over the past 72 years to bring relief and happiness to children and youth-in-need. Whether through the services it provides, its outreach to the community, or the research and advocacy it undertakes, the Society has made a lasting contribution to the welfare of generations of children and youth in Singapore.

Our children are our future, and we want to make sure that we do the very best for every child. The Government has on its part, instituted several important programmes just recently, to give our children the best opportunity to succeed, such as expanding and enhancing KidStart and ComLink+ to provide additional support to children and families in greater need. But there will always be more that can be done, and should be done – children who fall through the cracks, and who need a much greater degree of individualised care and attention. This is where our Social Service Agencies, like Singapore Children’s Society, make a critical difference. You bring care and concern into the actions you take, giving these children the strength and confidence to rebuild themselves and do better. They know that when they receive help from social service organisations like the Singapore Children’s Society, there are individuals and organisations – people like yourselves – doing it for them with an additional element of personal commitment from fellow members of society. That makes the difference because they know that society is there for them.

Over the years, Singapore Children’s Society has evolved and adapted to meet the changing needs of its beneficiaries. One example is in the Society’s work on helping children, youth and their families understand mental health, and providing the whole range of mental health services from prevention and early-intervention to recovery. The Society is also bringing community partners from different sectors together at its service centres and using innovative and collaborative approaches to help families-in-need regain stability and independence.

The Society’s ability to reach out to children-in-need depends, in no small part, on the generosity and support of the larger community. I am pleased that $8.8 million was raised through the 1000 Enterprises for Children-in-Need and 1000 Philanthropists programmes in 2023, from people like yourselves and organisations like yours. This unwavering commitment and support from our donors will enable Singapore Children’s Society to continue its important work.

Many of you have given not just this year, but given your steadfast support to these fundraising programmes for the past fifteen years. From 2009, when the first programme – 1000 Enterprises for Children-in-Need was launched, to the inauguration of the 1000 Philanthropists programme five years later, ten years ago. Your steadfast support through good times and difficult times is testimony to how big your hearts are, especially in the face of crisis and uncertainty.

And indeed, in the world today we are facing almost unprecedented crisis and uncertainty – there are two major wars ongoing, many people suffering, and we do not quite see when the end of all these is. We know the implications and ramifications are deep and they will reverberate through the world and our region for many years to come. Many of the people who are suffering are children who are dislocated, as well as families that are destroyed. We need to count our lucky stars that we live in a society like Singapore, where we are united and harmonious.

The approach that we have taken to these conflicts is to look at them and adopt our stance and take our actions according to principles. We state our principles clearly and we act according to them. Most importantly, we do not let quarrels that take place outside of Singapore get imported into Singapore and end up being quarrels among ourselves. We should not allow that to happen. These are quarrels that are taking place in other parts of the world – tragic quarrels for which solutions are not easy to find, and with quite longstanding issues. The approach that we have taken is quite the opposite. We have said that there are many people suffering out there, and they need help. So let us unite, put our resources together and help them. This is what we have done. We have sent aid to Ukraine. Our communities have come together regardless of race, language or religion to collect funds to those who are in need in the war in Gaza. Instead of becoming a source of division in society, as it has happened in other societies, this can be a rallying point for us to be united.

The important work that Singapore Children’s Society undertakes and the support the Society receives from all of you, each one of you as donors is an excellent example of what is needed to keep our society resilient and united. It shows our children, our youth, and families-in-need that we care for them and want them to do well. This is what it means to be a united, caring, and inclusive society. Our collective commitment to care for and uplift one another binds us as one united people. In a world of increased uncertainty and division, this is what will keep Singapore going strong and ensure that we all progress together.

In closing, I would like to thank the Society’s board members, volunteers, management and staff, especially our social workers, counsellors and care staff, whose passion and energy bring hope and smiles to our children. Together with the continued support of all of you, each one of you, our generous donors, we will be able to guide our children, youth, and their families on the path to a brighter future.

Thank you one and all, and I wish you all the best.