Celebrate International Volunteer Day with SIF!
Hotel Fort Canning, Lavender Room
Friday, 6 December 2013
“Celebrate International Volunteer Day with SIF!” And indeed that was what we did as Singapore International Foundation (SIF) joined the international world community in commemoration of International Volunteer Day – a very special day set aside each year to celebrate and recognize volunteerism in all its facets, and also to pay special tribute to the dedication and contributions of our vibrant Singapore International Volunteer (SIV) community - people who have selflessly committed their time, skills and resources to help make the world a better place.
Held on Friday, 6 December 2013, at Hotel Fort Canning, the night’s festivities opened with SIF Governor, Ms Jennifer Lewis, putting the spotlight on the contributions of our volunteers and the difference they made in the critical areas of water and sanitation particularly in SIF’s signature clean water programme - Water for Life – whereby clean drinking water has now become a reality for thousands of villagers in Cambodia, Myanmar and Indonesia.
Colourful photo display of the trip adorned the ballroom like a memory stream reflecting the volunteers’ many experiences. Many couldn’t contain their enthusiasm when asked to sum up their volunteer experience.
“Satisfaction – Service to Man is service to God. And all the money in the world cannot buy the joy of seeing a smile on a child’s face.” Sundram Selua, long-serving SIV.
“An eye-opener - I never appreciated what I had back here in Singapore until I saw how the villagers lived their lives.” Shermaine Wai, first-time volunteer with SIF who signed up for SIF’s Water for Life (Kampong Speu) as a birthday ‘treat’ to herself.
“Wonderful – I love contributing to society and apart from the many diverse programmes SIF offered, it was a great to know that SIF also had specific programmes that could tap on my expertise and professional skillset.” Udhia Kumar, a long-serving SIF Specialist Volunteer under SIF's Social Work Project in Vietnam for the last five years (2009-2013). A Clinical Director at Tanjong Pagar’s Family Service Centre, Udhia’s role and contribution included conducting six training workshops in Hanoi for 40 social work lecturers from the University of Labour and Social Affairs and other universities around the country, as well as social work practitioners.
“Empowering – Not just for the villagers, but also for the volunteers in gaining life experiences, understanding world issues and becoming better engaged as global citizens in effecting a positive change.” Jovene Chai, team leader for SIF’s Water for Life (Kampong Speu).
The night of salutations and celebrations of our volunteers’ contributions closed very aptly with a screening of the movie ‘Menstrual Man’ which chronicled the journey of Muruganantham, a school dropout in India, who is now acknowledged as a visionary for empowering rural women with access to both feminine hygiene and a livelihood, with his low-cost sanitary pad product.
Through the film, we saw the impact and difference that one committed, passionate individual could make to the world; similar to the unique and invaluable contributions every volunteer brings to community development.
We were also privileged to have the company of special guest - Amit Virmani, director of “Menstrual Man”, who shared with us his motivations and journey in making the film, in an engaging and interactive dialogue session moderated by Ms Winifred Loh, our long-serving SIV.
Whether it’s putting minds to work tutoring children or lending a hand installing water filters, few things are as rewarding as helping others. It was incredibly heartening to see such a strong community of volunteers who not only inspire their beneficiaries, but also each other in keeping the volunteer movement alive and burning.
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Opening Remarks by Ms Jennifer Lewis, SIF Governor, at the SIV Networking Evening (IV Day Celebrations), Hotel Fort Canning
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