Get Into the Act!

International Volunteer Day Celebrations

9 December 2016 – “Volunteerism comes in both big and small ways, most important is one’s heart,” says Jane Chew, a volunteer with the Singapore International Foundation. She was among the 150 guests who joined us to celebrate International Volunteer Day on 9 December 2016 at the Arts House.

Started by the United Nations and observed annually since 1985, International Volunteer Day falls on 5 December and is feted as a global movement to recognise and appreciate the selfless contribution of volunteers who give their time and talents to help uplift lives across the world. The 2016 celebrations called for people to show volunteers worldwide much-deserved appreciation by using #GlobalApplause in social media engagement. Aimed to encourage those who have not yet volunteered to ‘Get into the Act’ – which was the SIF’s theme of the evening’s celebrations.

Two of our volunteers, whom we also call Citizen Ambassadors, Ms Pang Nguk Lan and Ms Lim Bee Leong, were presented with long-service awards for their dedication and steadfast support of the SIF’s work. They are part of our 4000-strong community that has enabled sustainable development across 17 countries and positively impacted more than 120,000 beneficiaries over the past 25 years.

Ms Pang has been volunteering for ten years in our programmes. Head of the Office of Quality, Safety and Risk Management at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital, she is a Specialist Volunteer who has contributed in four of SIF’s specialist projects, working to enhance children’s health in Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia and India. She has worked directly to train and enhance the professional skills of more than 100 nurses and allied health professionals on these projects. Ms Lim is a Senior Nurse Clinician for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at KK Women's and Children's Hospital. She has contributed in three of SIF's specialist projects, over five years, working to enhance children's health in Myanmar, Cambodia and India. 

Addressing the audience of friends, volunteers and partners, Guest-of-Honour and SIF Governor, K Kesavapany, reiterated the importance of our Citizen Ambassador community. He cited SIF’s latest study, entitled Global Partners for Sustainable Development: The Added Value of Singapore International Foundation Volunteers, by Dr Benjamin Lough. It showed that an overwhelming number of our beneficiaries believe our volunteers served as a great motivation for them to work more effectively, played a significant role in the effective transfer of new skills and are described as “giving, empathic and trustworthy” people. 

During the evening, guests made new friends or re-connected with old ones over dinner. They were also delighted, moved and inspired by Tapestry Playback Theatre which shared their stories on stage. A few Citizen Ambassadors related anecdotes, which were then played out by the actors through a combination of movement, dialogue and music. On their own, these narratives urge people to join the global movement to help effect positive change across the world. Fused with the incredible talent of Tapestry’s facilitator and actors, the stories metamorphosed into powerful and inspiring short theatre pieces. 

Many were indeed inspired to volunteer, going by the buzz at our booth on upcoming projects. And no event is complete without a fun photo shot! Guests got theatrical with props at our photo booth and took home great memories. No one summed it up better then a new member of the SIF community, artist Muhammad Ghazali Muzakir, who said, “It’s amazing to know the passion of our volunteers.” 

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