Welcome Remarks by Ms Euleen Goh, SIF Chairman, at the SIF Partner Appreciation Dinner 2013
President Tony Tan Keng Yam
Good evening, and welcome to the Singapore International Foundation’s partner appreciation dinner. Tonight is about toasting you, our partners, and importantly, thanking you, on behalf of all of us at SIF. We deeply appreciate your journeying with us.
Each of you in this room is a partner to us, making our work possible. Each of you shares our vision to make the world a better place between communities and we do so, one friendship, one partnership, one project at a time.
Whether it is with funding, resources, time or expertise - each time you choose to partner us, you help make a difference. The world is a better place because, together, we set out to bridge cultures and build understanding and to effect positive change in the communities around us. For instance, some 18,000 lives in Asia are improved annually because our Singapore International Volunteers share their expertise and resources to uplift the lives of villagers and reach out to those in our neighbourhood. You work with us to inspire and equip over 1,000 youths annually to be socially responsible leaders through cross cultural exchanges and involvement in community projects. You collaborate with us in using art and culture to communicate and connect across cultures, to enrich lives.
Let me share some inspiring examples with you.
For the past four years, teams of neonatal specialist doctors and nurses from KKH in Singapore have been travelling to Chennai to work with their peers at the Chengalpattu Medical College and Hospital (CMCH). This is a medical college that caters to thousands of newborn babies each year. About 2,500 of them face life-threatening conditions. To manage this, their neonatal doctors and nurses need enhanced training along the entire spectrum, from the hospital to the clinics to the villages, and even the ambulance services. After four years, the visible outcome has been a 15% reduction in infection-related infant mortality and CMCH is now the preferred referral centre for newborn at-risk babies and has begun to receive referrals from private hospitals. We are honoured that our partnership with KKH has had real impact in saving lives.
At our recently completed Friendship Express, or FX, the SIF’s annual two-week journey of community projects and cultural exchanges for 50 youth leaders of different nationalities, I called in at its final stop in Jakarta. And in my conversations with the youth leaders, they spoke – almost in one voice! – about the strong friendships they had made, the bonds built across cultures and languages, and the desire to work together for common good. This is what the SIF is all about and this was made possible because so many like-minded partners came together with us, from the five polytechnics in Singapore to institutions in Malaysia and Indonesia.
And one final example. Deutsche Bank was the first sponsor to sign up for SIF’s first Direct Service programme – Water for Life Siem Reap. DS projects make it possible for anyone with no specific specialist skills to spend a few days as a volunteer, building biosand water filters that gives villagers access to clean drinking water. What’s heart-warming about this project is this – that it is not just about money from a corporate sponsor. It’s about over 70 of the bank’s staff volunteering as well. And most recently, 22 of its staff from eight regional offices travelled to Siem Reap as volunteers on Water for Life. This brings their heart to the project.
These are just three examples and there are many, many more, with the work that SIF does in its five focus areas, namely healthcare, education, environment, arts & culture and business & livelihood. In each field, we have been privileged to partner each one of you in your area of expertise, whether as a doctor, teacher, social worker, social entrepreneur, artist or preferred cause as a corporate sponsor. Your constant encouragement and support keep us committed to growing the breadth and depth of our programmes, always with the aim of bringing communities together to do good.
We have captured many examples and quotes from our different partners in the exhibition on display. We invite you to view the exhibits that present what we do with our partners and the impact that has resulted from these collaborations.
Whether our partnership with you is recent or long standing, we want to honour each one of you this evening and to thank you for choosing to journey alongside us in our common goal of building a better world. Stay the course with us.
In closing, I would like to thank President Tony Tan Keng Yam, who is SIF’s Patron, for gracing this special occasion as Guest-of-Honour. Sir, your presence today is a strong affirmation of the importance of SIF’s role. Finally, my deep appreciation to the SIF staff and to our Board of Governors for all the hard work they do to make our vision a reality. Each one of you, I know, have put your heart and soul into the mission before us.
I will end with a final thought. We have to recognise that while we may be an island, we are part of a global community. And as such, we need to remain connected and to strengthen linkages with the communities in our neighbourhood – linkages that have been built through shared history, commerce, culture and social bonds. And these bonds spread and grow through individual relationships, through community partnerships, through learning from each other, working together for good – this is what the SIF mission is about. And we look to continuing the mission together as we bridge communities for a better world.
To all here tonight, this is your evening, please enjoy the fellowship and the programme, with the heartfelt thanks from SIF. Thank you.
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