Welcome Remarks By Ms Lee Huay Leng, SIF Governor, At The Launch Of Teaching And Learning For Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder Project, In Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Mr Roy Kho, Consul-General, Consulate-General in Ho Chi Minh City,
Associate Professor Huynh Van Son, Vice Rector, Ho Chi Minh City University of Education,
Ms Tan Sze Wee, Executive Director, Rainbow Centre Singapore,
Ms Nguyen Thi Hong Diem, Acting President, Ho Chi Minh City Union of Friendship Organizations,
Mr Phan Duy Nghia, Permanent Secretary, Vietnam-Singapore Friendship Association, Ho Chi Minh City,
Singapore International Volunteers,
Partners and Friends,

Xin Chao! (Greetings) Thank you for joining us at the launch of the Singapore International Foundation’s (SIF) Teaching and Learning for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder project.

As geographical neighbours and member states of ASEAN, Singapore and Vietnam have built strong bilateral ties over the decades. At the SIF, we are privileged to work with like-minded partners in Vietnam in our mission of bridging world communities to uplift lives. Over the past 25 years, the SIF has collaborated with our Vietnamese friends at the people-to-people level in various sectors. This includes areas in education, healthcare, youth leadership, arts and culture, and social entrepreneurship. Special Education projects, in particular, form our longest-running initiative in Vietnam.

I am thus heartened to see our communities sustaining efforts to enhance the teaching and learning environment for children with autism spectrum disorder, or ASD. Today’s launch follows the success of our earlier projects in Hanoi, in partnership with Vietnam’s Ministry of Education and Training and the National College of Education. The Hanoi project saw 75 special education teachers developed as master trainers. They then cascaded their learnings to at least 500 teachers in the field.

We aim to further expand this impact through our new project. Over the next two-and-a-half years, our team of specialist Singapore International Volunteers, or SIVs, will collaborate with some 230 Vietnamese teachers. Our SIVs, a group of experienced special education professionals from Rainbow Centre, will share knowledge, skills and best practices with their Vietnamese counterparts. Trainees will undergo a series of workshops, a symposium, as well as a study visit to Singapore for cross-cultural learning. There will also be a public sharing session for parents and caregivers.

During this project, 30 Vietnamese participants will be identified as master trainers. This core group will be equipped with skills to train other peers in their field. To further ensure the project’s sustainability, a select few will hold the dual role of Advisors – tasked to oversee future implementations of the training across schools and other institutions in Vietnam. It is our hope that by 2022, we will positively impact over 700 members of the special education community in Ho Chi Minh City. This includes teachers, children with ASD, parents and caregivers, and volunteers.

At the SIF, we believe in bringing world communities together to collaborate and effect positive change. Our longstanding cooperation with Vietnam has been made possible with the support of our committed partners – the Ho Chi Minh City University of Education and Rainbow Centre Singapore. My heartfelt appreciation also goes to the Vietnam-Singapore Friendship Association and the Ho Chi Minh City Union of Friendship Organizations for believing in the work of the SIF. Last but not least, I wish to thank our dedicated team of Singaporeans for volunteering your time and talent to this meaningful cause.

The SIF believes that when people from different parts of the world work together, the sharing of ideas, skills and experiences inspires actions for good. We do this because we believe we can, and should, do our part to build a better world – one we envision as peaceful, inclusive and offers opportunities for all. I wish you a fruitful and enriching day ahead.



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