Speech By Ms Jean Tan, SIF Executive Director, at Water For Life Closing Appreciation Dinner in Yangon, Myanmar
His Excellency Mr Robert Chua, Singapore Ambassador to the Republic of the Union of Myanmar
Dr Phone Win, Director of Mingalar Myanmar,
Mr Ng Ooi Hooi, President (Regional Investment), Keppel Land
Mr Goh York Lin, President (Myanmar), Keppel Land
Singapore International Volunteers,
Thank you for joining us this evening to mark the completion of the Singapore International Foundation or SIF’s three-year Water for Life programme in Yangon. Our collaboration has not only brought about positive changes to the lives of the people here but also strengthened the friendships between the people of Singapore and Myanmar.
Water for Life is our direct-service clean water programme which addresses gaps in rural communities’ water ecosystem. And although the implementation of clean water technology varies to best suit the needs of each community we reach out to - such as bio-sand water filters, tube wells and membrane water filters, the goal remains the same. Working hand in hand with our friends in these communities, we aim to reduce the incidence of water-borne diseases, improve hygiene and sanitation conditions, enhance livelihood opportunities and improve overall well-being.
The SIF’s first installation of the Water for Life programme in Myanmar would not have been possible without the support of our valued partners. Our partnership with Mingalar Myanmar has paved the way for us and our Singapore International Volunteers or SIVs to contribute towards positive and sustainable development in the region, while fostering greater intercultural understanding. We value your guidance, and advice as we built bridges between Singapore and Myanmar communities. Our heartfelt gratitude goes to Ambassador Chua who not only connected us with Mingalar Myanmar, but also provided personal assistance for our staff and volunteers to contribute effectively in Myanmar. And to the Myanmar government and district authorities for supporting this collaborative effort.
Likewise, the partnership of corporates and the commitment of the Singapore volunteers has enabled over 7,200 villagers from Kawhmu and Kungyangon Townships to gain convenient access to clean drinking water. Our deepest appreciation goes to Keppel Land for their generous support and for sending 51 volunteers – staff from both their Singapore and Myanmar offices – to extend a hand of friendship to the local communities here. And to Red Cross Singapore who is unfortunately not able to join us at this dinner.
I like to take this opportunity to commend the efforts of the other 90 SIVs, made up of Singaporeans from all walks of life, who gave their time and resources to Water For Life (Yangon). Over the past three years, Singapore volunteers have successfully installed 36 tube wells and constructed shelters to house these wells, and shared education on basic hygiene such as hand washing and tooth brushing with our friends in these villages.
At the SIF, we believe that when communities with common interests connect, it opens up possibilities for cross-border collaborations that effects positive change. We started this programme with the aim of uplifting lives by providing access to clean drinking water. And we are truly heartened by these encouraging outcomes.
Today, we celebrate a successful, three-year cooperation between the SIF, Mingalar Myanmar, Keppel Land and Red Cross Singapore. WFL (Yangon) has enabled mutual sharing of resources and experiences between Singaporeans and Myanmarese and in the process, enduring friendships were built. In giving, SIVs have received so much more by gaining a deeper understanding of the Myanmar people, culture and way of life. We are grateful to our Myanmar partners for their friendship and look forward to future possibilities to work together for a better world.
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