MCI (P) 120/06/2017
J U LY 2 0 1 7
MUHAMMAD SHAH FEROZ MOHEDEN
Drawing Strength from Unity
An Adventure with Dad
Kids Get Cracking at Cracking the Code
Dear Friends, It is the responsibility of any community to provide for its children’s holistic growth, imbue in them moral values and equip them with the right skillsets to make the most of the opportunities of the future.
A strong foundation in education achieves all of these. A young mind is like a sponge that is highly adept at retaining what it has learnt. That is why it is crucial that we begin our children’s learning as early as possible. As part of our increased emphasis on education, SINDA and the other self-help groups partnered with Google to roll out ‘Code in the Community’ for kindergarteners and lower primary students. Through this programme, we introduced our students to coding and digital programming, not just for enrichment, but to also encourage them to think creatively and get them excited about technology, beyond the internet and mobile devices. Technology is at the forefront of Singapore’s push towards becoming a Smart Nation, to support better quality living, build stronger communities and create more opportunities. It is vital that our students be equipped to take advantage of these opportunities by being well-versed in the STEM-related industries (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). We, as a community, must play our part in this national evolution by ensuring that our students do not lose ground. We must put greater emphasis on nurturing our students into applied learners who can not only appreciate the value of what they are learning, but can also apply this knowledge in the real world. This virtue of practical application will define an individual’s success in the near future. The Code in the Community programme will benefit 3,000 children over three years. With this initiative, we hope to develop a pool of ardent young learners with a strong penchant for innovation and accomplishment. Let us support our children in this journey towards success; let us continue to invest in the future of our community.
K Barathan CEO, SINDA
• May 2017
• Muhammad Shah Feroz Moheden
• Template for Cereal Box Pencil Case
Looking Back 02–03
• Drawing Strength from Unity
What’s New • ITE Aspire • Project Guide
Event Highlights 16 Quiz-O-Mania • SYLP: Building Resilience • A Community that Gives • An Adventure with Dad! • High-Level Dialogues and High Fashion Fundraisers • Hitting the Right Note • SINDA and MOE— Unwavering Partners • Kids Get Cracking at Cracking the Code
One of Us
• SINDA Liaison Officer Mdm. A. Ha. Serene N.
PUBLISHER Singapore Indian Development Association EDITORIAL TEAM Corporate & Marketing Communications Division CHIEF EDITOR Ravindran Nagalingam, COO, SINDA DEPUTY EDITOR Dhanasegaran Narayanasamy PRODUCTION EDITORS Priyaa Vasudevan, Manesh Rangarajan DESIGN & LAYOUT Green House Design + Communications PRINTER Stamford Press Pte Ltd, Licence No: L022/04/2012 TO SUBSCRIBE to SINDA Connections or inform us of a change of mailing address, send your updated home or office address to email@example.com. TO CONTRIBUTE towards the SINDA CPF Fund (to start contributing or increase contributions), please contact us at Tel: 1800 295 4554, or visit www.sinda.org.sg.
FUTSAL 2017 The proud champions of the Under-18 category of the SINDA Youth Futsal Challenge 2017. Held on 20 May 2017, the Youth Futsal Challenge saw our young players displaying some fancy footwork.
COMMUNITY FORUMS As part of a series of dialogues with various sub-groups within the Indian community, Senior Minister of State and SINDA President Ms Indranee Rajah met with the Sikh Community on 13 May 2017. Participants had a great time networking and enjoying a lively exchange of views at the Khalsa Association.
PROJECT ATHENA MOTHER’S DAY CELEBRATION A mother-and-son pair enjoying a game of Jenga, just one of the many activities during Project Athena’s Mother’s Day Dinner on 28 May 2017 at the Singapore Flyer.
In this day and age, each family member has a variety of commitments inside and outside the home. We keep busy at work and in school; we meet friends and find time for ourselves. After all this, we sometimes forget about spending enough time with our families—the most precious part of our lives. Being in a family is not just about living under the same roof, but understanding one another, fulfilling our respective roles and responsibilities and adding value to each other’s lives. Here are our top tips on how we can contribute towards cohesive, strong and happy families!
FOR WORKING PARENTS It is not uncommon for both parents to be working and only be home in the evenings. Instead of a quick dinner, television or even working from home, we can use this limited time to concentrate on the family. This means making a clear distinction—once we are home, we must put aside our work matters and put the family first. Something as simple as catching up on each other’s day over dinner or
playing board games will go a long way towards bonding our families and building greater rapport between our children and us. When parents instil in their children the importance of family time from a young age, it translates into positive behaviour as they grow. “Family time can be as simple as very casually getting the family together and asking them to talk about
something special or pertinent that happened to them that day—just a time for them to speak freely about what they want to, in an open and honest environment.” – Santhi Natarajan, Accounts Officer
FOR CHILDREN However young children may be, they too play a part in enriching family communication! Let them lead the way in finding creative and fun ways for the family to spend time together. Children, you can contribute to a happy family by working hard at school, having positive peer circles and being role models for other children. You can also bring your friends home, introduce them to your family and let your parents get to know them. This will help your
parents understand your lifestyle better and feel more involved in your life. Remember that your family members can be your friends too! “A lot of teenagers complain that their parents don’t understand them well, so I think keeping a very open relationship with your parents and communicating frequently will help to close that gap.” – Harrinei Subra, Secondary 3 student
FOR SIBLINGS In families with more than one child, siblings can make an effort to check in on one another. Older siblings can guide the younger ones along, and younger siblings can approach their older siblings for help when needed. Being open to sharing your concerns and advice with one another will strengthen your relationship—you will learn that no matter what happens as you go through life, you can always rely on one another for support.
“My sister’s advice on school work and other school matters have always been useful since she has gone through similar situations before. I get to hear her experiences and then along the way, learn what works best for me.” – Divyaa Vasudevan, Retail Assistant
FOR GRANDPARENTS Singapore’s high life expectancy means that more grandchildren are now able to share meaningful times with their grandparents. As those with the most life experiences, you as grandparents can play an important role in family situations, providing your families with sound advice. The many stories and encounters that you share with your children and grandchildren will form fond memories for them, and will go a long way in influencing their values, attitudes and lifestyles.
“Teaching my grandchildren to be respectful and kind to people, to think hard before making decisions in life, and then seeing them succeed in life in their own ways, makes me proud of them. It adds a special meaning to being part of their lives.” – Pushpavalli Govindasamy, Homemaker
While we may not immediately realise the impact of doing our part and helping each other out as a family, it does make a big difference! It fosters strong bonds and deepens the empathy and harmony within our households. Every family is different. Looking beyond the differences and discovering the uniqueness in each one will help create cohesive, strong and happy families. Do your part today! 3
ITE ASPIRE “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”—and the great news is that the soft skills one learns through play are useful right through life. That’s why SINDA is engaging some 40 first-year students in its pilot ITE Aspire programme, starting July 2017. In 10 weekly sessions, participants will spend an hour honing their communication and study skills, followed by another hour of dance, with trained facilitators and experienced choreographers. If you’re an ITE College Central student, come be a part of this! Make the most of such learning opportunities. We’ll not only help you develop your aspirations, resilience and self-efficacy, but you’ll be able to face the future with a spring in your step and a song in your heart. Call 1800 295 4554 to sign up today.
PROJECT GUIDE Having trouble finishing your homework? SINDA’s new programme provides students, parents and teachers with a solution to the problem! This semester, SINDA launches Project Guide in selected primary schools that host Big Heart Student Care. Held weekly, Project Guide is a homework support programme that presents students with a conducive setting in their own school. Within a dedicated two-hour time frame, students get a tutor to assist them to complete their homework and help clear their doubts right away.
MUHAMMAD SHAH FEROZ MOHEDEN
TAKING THE LEAP 6
Feroz took a huge leap of faith when he decided to quit his teaching job last year to become a professional athlete. As he sets forth in this new chapter of his career, we wish this plucky athlete all the best!
What made you quit your job to chase your dream? Was it hard to do so? F: At the 2015 SEA Games 3,000m steeplechase event, I clocked a personal best of 9min 42sec. Back then, it was the fastest time clocked since 2013. I thought if I could achieve that while juggling training and my job as a PE teacher at Innova Junior College, why not challenge myself to train fulltime. I wanted to see how close I could get to 9min 06sec, the qualifying mark of the 2017 SEA Games. I did not make my decision to become a professional athlete on impulse. I have no regrets taking such a big step because I know that if I did not, I would always wonder if I should have. How did you get started in athletics and when did you discover it was the steeplechase event that you wanted to specialise in? F: I joined Track & Field in secondary school but it was only after my â€˜Oâ€™ levels that I discovered my love for steeplechase. It just seemed so fun to run, jump over barriers and into a water pit!
months, up to a week before my first competition, the Singapore Open 2017. It was a stressful time but I appreciate that this is what being a professional athlete is about. What is your daily regime like? F: I train every day. About four to five times a week, I train twice a day, early in the morning and again in the evening, after a short rest. On other days, I train either in the morning or afternoon. Training includes running at Bedok or MacRitchie Reservoir and working out at a gym. What are some challenges you face as a full-time athlete? F: In the beginning, to maximise my time, I made the mistake of overdoing my training which led to injuries. I have since learned to gauge when my body needs to rest and when to push myself. I would say managing injuries has been my biggest challenge so far.
How has your experience as a full-time athlete been?
People generally think that all it takes for an athlete to succeed is to have physical strength. But how important is mental strength in contributing to success?
F: Although it has not been smoothsailing, it has been a wonderful experience. I sustained injuries that I had to manage for more than eight
F: I would say sports performance depends on both mind and body. About 80% comes from mental strength while 20% comes from the physical strength
I did not make my decision to become a professional athlete on impulse. I have no regrets taking such a big step because I know that if I did not, I would always wonder if I should have.
acquired through training, especially in athletics where you are your own motivator. As the saying goes, “The mind is the strongest weapon on earth!” In a sports context, the person with the stronger mind can defeat the person who is physically faster and stronger but has doubts in his mind. Who do you look up to for inspiration? F: My Team Captain for the last SEA Games, Kenneth Khoo, who is older than me by a year or two, is the one I look up to. His achievements inspire me to still try to hit my personal bests. Melvin Wong, another distance athlete who is a year older and trains with me, has also given me confidence that improving at our age is still possible. In what ways do you think the Indian community can support Indian youth aspirations in sports? F: The best way a community can support aspiring young athletes is to be very positive. For parents, this is even more important. I feel that parents should refrain from telling their kids too much about what they should do and instead provide them the available options, then allow them to decide for themselves without influencing them too much. Let these young athletes take ownership of their aspirations.
In your opinion, what improvements do you think the sports fraternity in Singapore needs to make in order to get more youngsters on board? F: We have great facilities and equipment so there is no doubt in my mind that we can easily get youths to start on a sport. I think that we are already heading in that direction with our education system providing holistic development of our students. However, in my opinion, we still need to do more in terms of training our youths to compete at a national or regional level. I feel that our current system of grooming young athletes to compete at a higher level, e.g. from a junior to senior level, needs a proper structure that provides athletes more help and guidance to achieve the next level. What advice do you have for families whose children are interested in pursuing sports? I feel that it is important for parents to allow their kids to make their own choices and to be responsible for the choices they make. Sport develops character, attitude and inculcates values that you can’t learn in a classroom. Parents should give kids who want to compete the chance to do so and see how they prepare, how they manage their emotions before, during and after. More importantly, watch how the kids cope with winning or losing. These are all valuable life lessons.
Taking A SPIN in the Ring “I had so much fun that I wanted to continue doing even more, if only the session didn’t have to end,” 22-year-old student Gayathri Ashukumar testifies, a little surprised at how fast three hours had just flown by. Gayathri had just completed a demanding boxing session, organised under the SINDA Sports Initiative, or SPIN. She is among the 80 youths aged over 17 who are expected to participate in this year’s six-month SPIN programme by the SINDA Youth Club (SYC). Gayathri loves how fit she feels, noting that the boxing not only “increased my endurance, but improved my willpower to not give up easily”. The team spirit ensured things were fun and kept her motivated, too.
CARE TO JOIN US FOR A SPIN? Just call 1800-295 4554!
SPIN grooms participants’ physical, mental and social wellbeing, and aims to cultivate healthy lifestyles. Don’t fret if you missed the Boxing round in this year’s SPIN—for the rest of the year, Hiking Trails, Canoe Polo, Jiu Jitsu, Kabadi, SPIN Run, Bounce Fit and an exciting outdoor event will be organised.
SYLP: BUILDING RESILIENCE Since it was launched in 2010, the SINDA Young Leaders Programme (SYLP) has been making steady progress. A flagship programme of the SINDA Youth Club (SYC), SYLP has seen many of our Indian youths grow as social innovators and agents of positive change. Young leaders undergo an intensive 5-month leadership development programme that includes leadership training modules, an international study trip and Act to Change projects.
• #ThroughMyEyes: Building awareness and fostering empathy for the intellectually disabled community by telling their stories through social media, events, etc • Project Semangat: Helping ex-offenders re-integrate into society through sports • Treat Me Right: Helping Tamil-speaking Indian construction workers learn about their employment rights through a video
Under the SYLP theme, “Sustainable Communities, Resilient Nation”, participants have been focusing on helping communities stay sustainable through social initiatives that help ensure a resilient Singapore. This year, participants travelled to Hanoi, Vietnam from 12-17 March.
• Relighting Sparks: Engaging the elderly living alone through traditional games from different cultures
A total of 36 young leaders aged 17 to 24 took part in SYLP 2017. After identifying social issues, they worked with community partners to implement solutions. The Act to Change projects include:
• SportsNow: Enabling youths to hone their talents in sports in a collaboration with SPIN
• Project Hope: Engaging kids from the Reading Odyssey Programme at Spooner Road through dance
Here’s what one young leader had to say: • Project Soul: Resume-writing workshops for young adults living in homes, hostels and halfway houses who have difficulties securing employment • Project Home: Highlighting the negative effects on children neglected by parents having marital difficulties
“I was inspired by the resilience of the people who started the projects as they encountered many obstacles to their causes,” says R R Murugakrishnan. “I also felt immense personal satisfaction working in a team to help the children we interacted with, in whatever small ways we could.”
A COMMUNITY THAT GIVES It is heartening to hear of people in our community stepping up to help those among us who require assistance. Often this help comes in the form of monetary aid; at times it is the ready sharing of expertise, precious time given and the various networking oppurtunities that result in helping those in our community. Regardless of the value or quantity, every contribution makes a difference to those who receive it. It makes a difference for SINDA too, when we have willing partners working with us to uplift our community. Thanks to the numerous individuals and organisations that have come forward, SINDA’s tuition programmes annually provide quality teaching to over 6,000 students, with costs defrayed up to 75% . On 24 March, SINDA recognised 45 of our sponsors at a Donor Appreciation Lunch. Addressing those present, SINDA Chairman, Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam reiterated that a joint effort between organisations, businesses and stakeholders is needed for the community to keep moving forward together. SINDA sincerely thanks all those who have donated to our cause. We look forward to your continued support, as when the whole community comes together, we can achieve so much more.
AN ADVENTURE WITH DAD!
It’s not often that kids get undivided attention from their busy dads, so a lucky dozen jumped at the chance to bring their fathers to SINDA’s Adventure Camp in April. The 9- to 14-year-olds made the most of the opportunity to bond with their fathers, as together they went through often hilarious, adrenaline-packed exploits. Best of all, the fathers each had a special moment to affirm their love for the children. One happy dad shared, “Each activity was structured such that it was great fun, yet at the same time, it achieved a deeper intention of building a connection with our children and understanding them better.” Another added, “It was such an amazing day with my daughter. I hope to attend another like it with my son!” The event was organised by SINDA together with Dads for Life.
HIGH-LEVEL DIALOGUES AND HIGH FASHION FUNDRAISERS It has been a full five years since the Indian Business-leaders’ Roundtable (IBR) first began, and the senior Indian leaders who make up the IBR have done much for our local community. Not only has the IBR raised $650,000 to date for SINDA’s programmes—ranging from education to setting up an IT lab, to sponsoring spectacles for the needy—but roundtable members have personally volunteered their time and energy. Demonstrating the IBR’s evolving role, some 14 captains of industry have conducted career guidance talks over the last year or so, coaching and inspiring more than 600 students. These recently-arrived businessmen and professionals from India have also found strong networking opportunities through the IBR. On 21 March, they had the chance to meet with Minister for Trade and Industry, Mr S Iswaran, at the 7th edition of the Singapore Dialogue Series. The annual session offered a valuable perspective on Singapore’s future, with Mr Iswaran sharing the findings of the Committee of the Future Economy. Things took on a more glamorous aspect a few weeks later, when the IBR co-organised a fund-raising fashion show and gala dinner. Held in collaboration with the HendersonDawson Citizens’ Consultative Committee Community (CCC) Community Development and Welfare Fund, the Bollywood Cutting Edge IV at the Sheraton Towers on 15 April was a sold-out event raising over $300,000. Senior Minister of State and SINDA President Ms Indranee Rajah, and Member of Parliament for Tanjong Pagar GRC, Ms Joan Pereira, delighted the audience with their special performance. The generous donations and sponsorships, including the sale of the dazzling outfits, were in aid of the Henderson-Dawson Development & Welfare Fund beneficiaries, and also our own students in SINDA’s youth mentorship and e-learning programmes.
CAREER GUIDANCE TALKS Not forgetting our future leaders, IBR organised a series of career guidance talks for SINDA students. A pilot run of talks to raise career awareness among secondary-level students was held in 2015. With the pilot run being a great success, more talks have since been organised at STEP Centres. The talks covered sectors such as financial services, commodities trading, investment and commercial banking, IT, logistics manufacturing, data science and healthcare private equity. More than 600 students have benefited from the vast expertise of the IBR members—senior business leaders who shared their personal stories with students to help them prepare for the various job sectors. Says SkillsFuture Director (IBR) , Mr Shiv Puri who is Managing Director at TVF CAPITAL Advisors Pte Ltd, “We highlighted to students the importance of strengthening their competencies in Maths and Science, and in developing new capabilities in areas like computational thinking and data science. These are all important skills for leveraging on the new jobs available in the future economy.”
HITTING THE RIGHT NOTE GAME, or Guidance and Mentorship programme, is an interest-based mentorship programme targeted at Indian youths. Participants pick activities they are interested in and are mentored by trained volunteers to hone their teamwork, resilience and leadership abilities. Read more about two of our GAME programmes:
Started in April 2017, the eight-week music programme gave our students the chance to play in an ensemble. Besides honing their musical skills, students picked up communication skills and learned about working in a team.
In our eight-week programme, participants learned about the technical and theoretical aspects of photography with an emphasis on basic camera handling and photo-taking skills.
Tharran Raj, a Secondary 2 student from Yusof Ishak Secondary School, had this to say; “The programme allowed me to try a variety of musical instruments. Since I have a keen interest in music, I found the programme extremely fun! I especially enjoyed learning to play the drum and an instrument called the ‘kachi dhol’.”
Our photography activity attracted such an enthusiastic response that we had two student intakes. The first intake started in April 2017 while the second intake is currently ongoing. “One of my hobbies is photography so I was keen to join the programme in April 2017. Previously, my photos usually turned out blurry but I have since learnt to use framing and lighting to produce good pictures. My group and mentors made my learning very enjoyable!” shared Secondary 1 student, P Shrriya from Yishun Secondary School.
May 2017 SINDA AND MOE—UNWAVERING PARTNERS SINDA’s long-standing ties with the Ministry of Education (MOE) were once again celebrated, at the 6th SINDA-MOE Partnership Ceremony held on 2 May at the Umar Pulavar Tamil Language Centre. As our CEO Mr K Barathan shared, we have an “army” of 213 SINDA Liaison Officers (SLOs) in 63 primary, secondary and tertiary institutions around the island backing SINDA’s STEP, Project Teach, Youth Victory and Saadhana tuition programmes. These SLOs “are our ambassadors who complement our every effort for the Indian community,” he noted. Together with other teachers and their principals, their support enabled SINDA to help 6,700 students in 2016.
providing extra help with parenting support, social issues and tuition. Ms Indranee said, “It’s a win-win partnership and we are very happy that we are able to do this.” In the last 15 years, there has been a sharp upward trend in the number of Indian students achieving tertiary qualifications, leading to better career prospects and rising median household incomes—all good news. With the continued collaboration and strong bond between SINDA and MOE, we look forward to a time when no student will be left behind.
Ms Indranee Rajah, Senior Minister of State and SINDA President, in her address to these educators explained how they are a key part of SINDA’s plan to reach out to those in our community who need help most. Ms Indranee said, “If a student is not performing well, chances are that the family is facing social problems.” Some 24,000 Indian students are estimated to be from such families, and can benefit from SINDA’s programmes. It is the schools that can be the bridge, identifying such students and introducing their families to SINDA. SINDA assists in areas outside MOE’s purview, such as
KIDS GET CRACKING AT CRACKING THE CODE What can eight-to-15-year-olds learn about coding in 10 weeks? Quite a lot, apparently! “I have learnt to use a micro bit and how to talk to a computer,” enthuses Anisa Murali, a Secondary 1 student at CHIJ Toa Payoh. “It was really amazing,” she adds. Anisa is a Code in the Community participant, one of many Singaporean kids from families under exceptional circumstances who are being given a head start in computing with free coding classes. Held by tech giant Google in partnership with Singapore’s four self-help groups— SINDA, the Chinese Development Assistance Council (CDAC), the Eurasian Association and Yayasan MENDAKI —the three-year initiative hopes to inspire 3,000 kids like Anisa to become innovators and inventors in the field. The first cohort of 500 students recently celebrated the end of the programme’s first term with a “graduation ceremony” on 20 May. Flocking down to Google’s famously vibrant and uniquely-decorated offices, they impressed their parents with a demonstration of their new coding prowess. At the same time, the kids also gained first-hand insights into a career in tech from Google employees, known as Googlers.
Anisa is already looking forward to the next phase of the programme in July, but she’s not the only one. The trainers from 21C Girls and Saturday Kids are enjoying themselves tremendously, too. One of the volunteer instructors, Prasanth Thangavel, shares about his first time teaching this course. “I consider this one of the best experiences I’ve ever had—the students’ eagerness to learn and curiosity was heart-warming. “It’s now up to us to ensure we provide them with the right tools and guidance to improve themselves,” Prasanth says.
TEMPLATE FOR CEREAL BOX PENCIL CASE
Made just for you by Craftzine.com and RePlayGround!
Trace and cut along the solid lines. Score along the dotted lines
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This pencil case template
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scoring tool (like a butter knife or bent paper clip)
Hook and loop fasterner
Open a food box at the seams and flatten it out.
Cut out the pencil case template and place it on top of the flattened box. Trace onto the cardboard around the edge of the template and cut the shape out of the cardboard.
With a pencil, mark the score lines on the cereal box where they are indicated on the template. Place the ruler on top of your cardboard cut-out on the places where you’ve marked your lines. Run your paper scoring tool along the lines. Fold at these lines.
Fold up the pencil case at the score lines and tuck the bottom tab inside the bottom of the case. Put a small piece of clear tape securing the tab in place. Then, place tape along the long side of the case.
5. Attach the self-adhesive hook and loop fastener to the top flap on the inside of the case. Fold the flap down so the other side of the hook and loop fastener attaches to the front of the case.
DO YOU KNOW To ‘score’ a piece of paper is to mark a line by scratching or very lightly cutting the material. For this project, scoring the cardboard makes it easier to bend neatly.
Read everything in this issue of SINDA Connections without skipping a page? Let’s see how well you know its contents! Simply answer the questions below and submit your answers together with your particulars, to SINDA Connections Contest c/o Corporate & Marketing Communications Division, No 1 Beatty Road, Singapore 209943. Your entries must reach SINDA by 1 September 2017.
This contest is only open to primary and secondary school students, who are Singaporeans or Permanent Residents. Three correct entries will win a $50 voucher each. The winning correct entries will be picked in a draw and judges’ decision is final. Winners will be contacted by SINDA to collect their prize and winners’ names will be published in the next issue of SINDA Connections.
Select one answer for each question: (You can find the answers in the articles in this magazine) Question 1 Which school of students is the ITE Aspire pilot meant for? a) ITE College East
b) ITE College West
c) ITE College Central
Winners of the previous contest – 1) Mohammad Ammar Bin Murtuza Primary 4 Woodlands Ring Primary School
Question 2 What sport has Shah Feroz represented Singapore in? a) Long Jump
Question 3 When did GAME Photography commence this year? a) April
2) Sri Shivani Sundary Sundram Primary 4 Choa Chu Kang Primary School 3) Ishant Shankar S/O Siva Shankar Primary 3 Springdale Primary School
b) June c) January
About Us VISION To build a strong and vibrant Singaporean Indian community together MISSION To build a well-educated, resilient and confident community of Indians that stands together with the other communities in contributing to the progress of multi-racial Singapore VALUES Respect, our culture Integrity, our foundation Service, our promise Excellence, our pursuit
BOARD OF TRUSTEES
Term Trustees Ms Indranee Rajah Patron Mr Ravi Menon Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong Mr R Jayachandran Mr Girija Pande Chairman Mr Gautam Banerjee Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam Mr Ravinder Singh Life Trustees Justice Judith Prakash Prof S Jayakumar Mr K Kesavapany Mr S Dhanabalan Mr Viswa Sadasivan Mr S Chandra Das Mr Shabbir Hassanbhai Mr J Y Pillay Mr Timothy Chia Mr Sat Pal Khattar Mr Piyush Gupta Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam Dr Sudha Nair Mr K Shanmugam Advisors Dr N Varaprasad Dr Vivian Balakrishnan Mr S Iswaran Mr Vikram Nair Mr Murali Pillai
EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE President Ms Indranee Rajah Vice Presidents Mr Shekaran Krishnan Mr K V Rao Secretary Mr Sarjit Singh Treasurer Mr R Subramaniam Iyer Members Dr Joshua V M Kuma Mr R Chandra Mohan Mr K Ramamoorthy Mr Sarbjit Singh Mr T Thambyrajah
ONE OF US
IN HER WORDS What is one piece of advice you have received that you would like to pass on to others?
Mdm Serene: “Believe in yourself —if you do anything with love and passion, you will succeed.”
SINDA LIAISON OFFICER MDM A. HA. SERENE N. Mdm A. Ha. Serene N., Lead Tamil Teacher at Bendemeer Primary School, has been a SINDA Liaison Officer for 14 years now.
In her many years of teaching, Mdm Serene has met hundreds of children. Among them, the ones she remembers are those who overcame their difficult family backgrounds to make it through to Secondary School, with help from Project Teach. It’s what inspires her to keep going as a SINDA Liaison Officer (SLO). “When we see that a student isn’t getting enough support at home, we teachers in school come together to help the student. It’s good that SINDA has a platform for us to tap on,” Mdm Serene shares. Despite the extra effort needed to ensure that the Project Teach programme runs smoothly and successfully, she says it is all worth it.
“I’ve seen these students become confident and very motivated—they start to believe in themselves when their grades improve,” she says. She relates how many of them achieved distinctions at the PSLE, while others who had never passed previously ultimately made the grade when it counted. It makes her happy, not least when the students themselves, and even their parents, come up to thank her. “I believe every pupil can do well, given the right support, environment and help,” she says.
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