Welcome Remarks By Mr Lian Wee Cheow, SIF Governor, At The Launch Of Words On Wheels (Ho Chi Minh) Phase 2 In Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Ms Leow Siu Lin, Consul-General of the Republic of Singapore in Ho Chi Minh City,
Mr Bui Xuan Duc, Director, General Sciences Library of Ho Chi Minh City,
Mr Linson Lim, President, Keppel Land Vietnam,
Partners and Friends,
Good afternoon. Thank you for joining us for the launch of Phase Two of the Singapore International Foundation’s (SIF) Words on Wheels programme in Ho Chi Minh City.
As part of the global community striving to attain the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, both Singapore and Vietnam share a common belief – that ensuring quality education for all is a fundamental need. This international cooperation to strengthen education and learning via a mobile library will positively impact over 7000 Vietnamese children.
Words on Wheels or WoW is an SIF signature programme that seeks to promote the joy of reading and lifelong learning among children. Since its inception in Hanoi in 2011, WoW has expanded to Ho Chi Minh City; Bandung and Yogyakarta in Indonesia; and Jaffna in Sri Lanka. In total, WoW has reached out to and made a positive impact on more than 43,000 children across these cities. Today, I am pleased to announce a renewed cross-cultural collaboration for Phase Two of WoW Ho Chi Minh!
In 2014, the SIF partnered with the General Sciences Library and Keppel Land to launch the first edition of WoW in Ho Chi Minh. In the past four years, the mobile library successfully benefited more than 3,000 schoolchildren in the city. Close to 250 Singapore International Volunteers, or SIVs, volunteered their time and talent to make this possible. This includes a team of 23 specialist SIVs – librarians from National Library Board, Singapore – who trained 166 Vietnamese trainees in library management and IT literacy. These Vietnamese staff librarians have since gone on to train their peers in other schools and libraries, sustaining the impact of the programme to benefit more. We are also heartened by the cross-cultural exchanges between our two communities and the friendships built.
What better way to celebrate this success than to launch another phase of WoW. The next run of WoW Ho Chi Minh will see more than 7,000 students benefit from better access to English and Vietnamese books, online and multimedia facilities, as well as other library resources. The mobile library will visit seven government schools in Districts Two and Eight on a rotational basis. Libraries and computer labs of participating schools will also be refurbished to create a more conducive learning environment for students. An estimated 120 SIVs will travel to Ho Chi Minh City over the next three years to conduct English language or IT literacy workshops – opening doors for opportunities to experience rich cross-cultural exchanges and knowledge sharing.
At the SIF, we believe in bringing communities together to collaborate and create positive change. The first run of WoW Ho Chi Minh saw Singaporeans and the Vietnamese work together to successfully promote reading and learning among children, while fostering greater inter-cultural understanding and ties. This project would not have been possible without the support of our valued partners. I would like to extend our deepest gratitude to General Sciences Library for graciously welcoming us into your home. Our warmest thanks also go to Keppel Land for its generous support and contribution over the years. A year ago, we signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Vietnam-Singapore Friendship Association in the promotion of social innovation and entrepreneurship, arts and cultural exchange, and volunteer cooperation between Singapore and Vietnam. WoW Ho Chi Minh is a prime example of our joint efforts to strengthen people-to-people ties between our two communities and we look forward to deepening our 24 years of friendship with Vietnam through the work of the SIF. I am heartened by everyone’s inspiring spirit to connect and collaborate for a better world.
Thank you and I wish you a pleasant day ahead.
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