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MCI (P) 098/06/2018

MAY 2019











Doctor with a

Cause 09



Going Back to School with SINDA

Get Techy!

Giving Youth a Leg Up for the Future


Dear Friends, Working together has been the hallmark of SINDA’s efforts to reach and benefit as many as possible in the community. While SINDA takes the lead, I am heartened that many like-minded, passionate comrades join us in this mission. One such individual is 70-year-old Mdm Rajathi Govindarajoo (far right in the picture), whom I met at the SINDA–Telok Blangah Indian Activity Executive Committee (IAEC) Door-Knocking Exercise. We run this project together with our IAEC partners in many Indian-centric constituencies, to connect with residents and assist with any challenges they may face. Mdm Rajathi told us that it was her first time taking part in such an exercise. She shared that it was a meaningful experience and that she enjoyed interacting with residents, understanding their needs and ultimately looking

out for them. “Given the chance, I will surely do it again!” — her enthusiasm in lending a helping hand is evident. Her passion, alongside that of our other volunteers, spur us on in our work and remind us that uplifting our community is a shared responsibility. At the same time, numerous schools have been helpful in our student engagement and outreach efforts. Such collaborations allow us to take our programmes – STEP, Teach and Youth Victory – into schools to complement our children’s education. In 2018, close to 5,000 students in 64 schools benefitted from such school-based programmes. More than 200 educators also serve as SINDA Liaison Officers, or SLOs. As SINDA’s ambassadors in the schools they teach in, they play an important role to facilitate and encourage greater participation in our programmes. In this regard, we are grateful

for the committed support from the Ministry of Education, its school leaders and educators. Many community and religious organisations also readily offer their venues and resources to SINDA, giving us the opportunity to run student, youth and family programmes closer to our participants’ homes. Even though SINDA is housed in Little India, we are, in reality, within reach all around Singapore. We will expand this network in the coming years so that SINDA programmes remain convenient and accessible to everyone! It has been a journey of many hands, with one mission – thanks to collaborations and partnerships with organisations and individuals alike. So much more is done in this way and I am always grateful to the many partners who support us. I look forward to those who will join us as we continue building a future for fellow Singaporeans. By coming together and working with one another in a spirit of togetherness, we shall achieve more, create greater impact and progress together as a community.


Looking Back 02–03


• Helping our Students Reach Their Fullest Potential



• Hamid Rahmatullah Bin Abd Razak


Anbarasu Rajendran CEO, SINDA


Event Highlights D.I.Y

• Nebula Jar • Going Back to School with SINDA • Get Techy! • Rekindling the Spirit of Giving at Deepavali • Sparkling Promise at SINDA Youth Awards 2018 • A Time to Appreciate Family Bonds • Getting Ready for the Working World • Football: More Than Just a Sport • Heena Ramesh Vasnani • Training Our Tutors • Voices of Youth • Giving Youth a Leg Up for the Future • Achieving the Singapore Dream


Quiz-O-Mania 17

One of Us

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 connections@sinda.org.sg. TO CONTRIBUTE towards the SINDA Fund (to start contributing or increase contributions), please contact us at 1800 295 3333, or visit www.sinda.org.sg.


LOOKING BACK SETTING THE STAGE FOR GROWTH More than 150 children between four and 10 years old deepened their social skills through the different drama workshops organised for them during the school holidays in 2018. These sessions were held at SINDA and Vibrance @ Yishun and the little ones got a chance to put into practice the basics of drama, while getting in touch with their artistic potential. Lessons were designed to have them think on their feet, contribute their ideas actively and work in teams. Becoming self-aware and confident were also plus points!

CELEBRATING THE SPIRIT OF VOLUNTEERISM SINDA’s volunteers were given a well-deserved pat on the back for their valuable efforts in our programmes and initiatives. Joined by their families, 50 volunteers took part in traditional games such as chapteh and five stones and were treated to a scrumptious lunch at SINDA on 1 December 2018. Renewing their dedication to support SINDA in 2019, many families were also encouraged to step forward to make a difference. A big, heartfelt ‘Thank You’ to all volunteers for their selfless work and support!

YOUTH ENGAGEMENT PROGRAMME Positive thinking works! 21 students discovered how it changes outcomes at the second Youth Engagement Programme session held at the SINDA Youth Hub on 16 February 2018. As they played the Mindset Board Game, participants found that a growth mindset encourages positive outcomes when they believe they can develop their abilities and persist in tough challenges. Scan the QR code to find out more about the SINDA Youth Hub!



Helping our Students Reach Their Fullest Potential By Ms Indranee Rajah, Minister, Prime Minister's Office, Second Minister for Finance and Education and President, SINDA In the past few years and months, we have been making steady changes to our education system. These have had various goals and objectives – to reduce stress, to equip our children with relevant skills for the future economy and to create multiple pathways to success in life. At the Committee of Supply debate in Parliament in March 2019, the Ministry of Education (MOE) introduced two more: • Full Subject-Based Banding (SBB) in secondary schools • UPLIFT recommendations Subject-Based Banding Building on Students’ Strengths Education Minister Ong Ye Kung announced that we will be introducing SBB in select schools next year, to be progressively adopted by all secondary schools by 2024, marking a major milestone in our education journey. Full SBB will replace the current secondary school streams of Express, N(A) or N(T) streams after PSLE. In the 1970s, when we had a one-size fits all system, many did not pass their Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE). Of these, many could not read or write properly even after six years of formal schooling and dropped out of school. Streaming was introduced to allow students to learn at a pace best suited to the individual. Streaming was very effective and the drop-out rate fell from one third of every cohort, to less than 1% now. While appropriate for its time, streaming was however a blunt instrument and created an unintended consequence of stigmatisation. We have worked over the years to address this. MOE implemented gradual changes for N(A) and N(T) students. Among these, that they could study certain subjects at a higher level, if they had done well in earlier years. These were very well-adopted, with students from different streams performing comparably at O-Level examinations.


SBB builds on these positive outcomes and experiences. It is the next logical step in helping students achieve their full potential. How does it work? Firstly, secondary school students will be able to study more subjects at a higher level. This applies not just to English, Mother Tongue, Mathematics and Science as practiced currently, but extends to other subjects such as Geography, History, and Literature. Secondly, Express and N(A) stream students will have the flexibility to take a subject offered in N(A) or N(T) streams respectively, to broaden their learning and experiences, or to customise their studies and further develop their potential. Thirdly, beyond the academic aspects, Full SBB will also give schools the opportunity to reshape their social environment beyond the academic curriculum. For example, form classes may be organised around students’ strengths in particular subject areas, or even their CCAs. This will facilitate stronger student interaction as well as motivate them more in their academic work. MOE will also consolidate the GCE N- and O-Level examinations into a new common national examination and certification framework – with subject levels to be taken at G1, G2 and G3. Students will receive a single national certification which reflects the level at which each subject is taken, similar to how A-Level students today take subjects at H1, H2, and H3 levels. The new national examination and certification framework will take effect from 2024.

With Full SBB, students will now have greater flexibility in their education and allow them to focus on developing and deepening their skills, while they leverage on their strengths.

Enhancing UPLIFT for Disadvantaged Students In October last year, I announced UPLIFT – a task force formed by the MOE – to better support our students in their aspirations, especially those who are underperforming and come from disadvantaged backgrounds. UPLIFT stands for ‘Uplifting Pupils in Life and Inspiring Families Taskforce’ and it embraces a two-pronged approach: centred on impactful student support and focused on how parents and families can be better engaged in their children’s academic journey. I announced two more UPLIFT initiatives at the Committee of Supply debate. Firstly, MOE will strengthen after-school care and support for disadvantaged students through our school-based student care centres (SCCs) in primary schools and after-school programmes in secondary schools. We will adopt a ‘Three E’ approach: •

Expansion: SCCs will be introduced in all 184 primary schools and after-school programmes in 120 secondary schools by 2020. Enrolment: With the increased number of centres, greater and more concerted effort will be made to reach out to parents whose children will benefit from attending SCCs, especially those with no alternative care arrangements. MOE and the Ministry of Social and Family Development will also be reviewing the affordability of SCCs for low-income families.

Enhancement: Additional programmes aimed at strengthening students’ resilience and improving their socio-emotional well-being will be introduced, in addition to the enrichment and character-building activities available now.

Secondly, the UPLIFT Programme Office (UPO) will be formed within MOE, for improved coordination so that we tap community efforts and resources more systematically and efficiently. The issues faced by disadvantaged students are multi-faceted, and not all the interventions or assistance can or should be school-based. Many other government agencies also provide assistance as do community-based organisations such as the Self-Help Groups, grassroots organisations, voluntary welfare organisations and individual volunteers. The UPO will coordinate efforts by these various entities, to provide a streamlined approach in enabling our students to have the best possible after-school care. Full SBB and UPLIFT are part of MOE’s ongoing efforts to provide a strong and future-ready education system to help our students realise their aspirations. Every child is important and we want each of them to achieve his or her fullest potential, have every chance at succeeding in life and make the best use of the opportunities in the future. You can learn more about these initiatives at www.moe.gov.sg/microsites/cos2019



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Orthopaedic surgeon and family man Hamid Rahmatullah bin Abd Razak, 33, considers himself a fortunate person who has much to give back. The proud father of two children received the Singapore Youth Award last year for making an impact and difference with his multiple volunteering efforts. A founding member of youth organisation Indian Muslim Professionals, otherwise known as IM.PROF, Hamid hopes to address the needs and aspirations of Indian Muslims in Singapore.

Photo: Dr Hamid Rahmatullah

Dr Hamid taking questions from the floor during one of IM.PROF's panel discussions


You’re a founding member of IM.PROF. What is it and what purpose does it serve?

What were some challenges you faced while setting up IM.PROF and how did you overcome them?

H: It took much thought before a few of us made the collective decision to formalise IM.PROF as a registered society. What brought us together was a desire to foster a common identity and to improve the position of Indian Muslims, especially the youth in Singapore. We believe in meritocracy and feel that it is our social responsibility to motivate others to succeed.

H: We started off as an informal gathering of a few like-minded individuals. Some of us realised that to move forward and to be taken seriously, we had to become a formal organisation. This would enable us to align our goals and foster meaningful partnerships to meet them. Convincing ourselves that we could do this was the first hurdle! Of course, we encountered all the administrative and logistical challenges that a new entity would face. Now, we need to keep believing in our mission. If we hold on to this, no challenge will be insurmountable.

IM.PROF aspires to be relevant to all youth. In particular, we want to address the needs of younger Indian Muslims and give them a boost in their career, education and entrepreneuerial aspirations. We do this through events and activities that encourage youth to network and gain insight from practicing professionals from all walks of life. IM.PROF aims to reach out and empower all youth regardless of their ethnicity, gender or religion. We will work with the Indian Muslim community as a start. Was there a particular inspiration or point in your life that led you to found IM.PROF? H: There was no particular point, but a combination of factors that ignited an interest in volunteering and giving back. I grew up in a closely-knit family, with two younger sisters and a large extended family living in the same Queenstown neighbourhood. My parents understood the value of education as they grew up in circumstances where it was not a priority. They had to give up their aspirations to start earning a living early on to support their families. When I was little, much time and energy were spent on my siblings and I, to ensure that we were well-prepared for lessons and key examinations. As a child, I also saw how people around me might struggle to make ends meet. With this, I’m well aware that youth need a push if they find themselves in similar circumstances. This is where I think IM.PROF can lend a hand. Many of my ideals and values in life were shaped by my late grandfather, Mr Haja Maideen s/o Syed. He was a very well-liked man in the small Indian Muslim community and often went out of his way to help those in need. I remember many of our conversations, where he would emphasise the importance of compassion, kindness, and to be frugal. These are values that I have stuck with till today.

You are an enthusiastic volunteer in many areas. Could you tell us what you do? H: I first began volunteering at the grassroots and I realised that I enjoyed connecting with people. I derived great satisfaction by lending them a listening ear, and even more so when I could help them. While I was training to be a doctor, I learnt much from my community work and expanded the scope of my work by collaborating with mosques, non-governmental organisations and the medical fraternity. I also volunteer with HealthServe, a non-profit organisation dedicated to providing healing and hope to migrant workers. I believe there is still much work to be done in the area of migrant worker health. Along my journey, I have taken on mentees whom I guide in their education and career. It is always heartwarming to see them do well. What would you say to fellow youth who are keen to be volunteers but find it hard to make it a regular practice? H: All of us can play a part in community and nation building and shape the world that our children will live in. Even if you are not keen on volunteering, be firm in what you believe in and support those who are prepared to toil to further meaningful causes. But it’s definitely difficult to do everything! How do you find time to give back to the community while holding down a tight work schedule as a doctor with family life to boot? H: It has never been easy to juggle. Now I know that it is crucial not to neglect myself. I make a concerted effort to look after my mind and body, for without

I am both honoured and humbled to be a recipient of the Singapore Youth Award. It serves to tell me, “OK, you have achieved this, but how can you do better?” I believe I could do more. As many others will say, the volunteer often benefits as much, if not more than the person at the receiving end. I continue to look for opportunities where my strengths can be put to good use.

a focused mind and a healthy body, nothing else would be possible. I try my best to eat healthy, exercise regularly and practise mindfulness. Hobbies are necessary to free our mind and I engage in regular sports and games for that. I like to prioritise what I want to achieve each day and this is made easier with an understanding and supportive social circle. Tell us more about your day job. H: I am currently an Associate Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at Sengkang General Hospital. As part of the pioneering team, I hope to help set a high benchmark of surgical competence and excellence in care delivery. My job is to keep joints as healthy and functional as possible, in patients with osteoarthritis. Besides surgery, I have a keen interest in research to improve surgical techniques and enhance innovation in this area. I would love to contribute to new medical knowledge, improvise a surgical technique or devise a new surgical instrument in my career.

How does your family support you in all of this? H: I would not be who I am without my family. I owe it to my parents for bringing me up painstakingly. They gave plenty of love and affection, as well as disciplined and moulded the person that I am today. My wife stands by me and believes in me more than I do myself. She has been by my side since our undergraduate days. Things have not changed much; she is the most patient and understanding wife one can ask for. Last but not least, the smiles of my children are instant remedies when I return home with worries and doubts. Their innocent faces are a real motivation for me everyday and for that, I am grateful.

Photo: Dr Hamid Rahmatullah

Dr Hamid and others with Minister Grace Fu at HealthServe

What are your plans down the road? H: I am looking forward to spending about 18 months in the United Kingdom later this year, to hone my research skills in the Orthopaedic Biomechanics Laboratory at the Imperial College London. It will be exciting to receive training and guidance from highly skilled surgeons there. With IM.PROF, I am looking forward to launching a mentoring programme later this year. Dr Hamid during a consultation session with a patient




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Maths Seminars

Maths Preparatory Programme

Answering Techniques



Nee Soon East Community Club 1 Yishun Ave 9, S(768893)

17 March, 21 April & 12 May 2019

10am to 5pm


16 June, 21 July & 18 August 2019

10am to 5pm


• SINDA HQ • Yio Chu Kang CC • Radin Mas CC • Taman Jurong CC • Leng Kee CC • Macpherson CC • Zhenghua CC • Nee Soon East CC

25 May to 7 Sept (14 sessions x 2hrs)


Please visit www.sinda.org.sg/examprep2019 for the respective date and time for each venue.

O-Level Maths Preparatory Programme

Correcting misconceptions & focusing on key topics


Science Seminars

Exam Management Skills


SINDA HQ 1 Beatty Road S(209943)

15 June to 7 Sept (12 sessions x 2hrs)

10am to 12pm


Classes held on weekends

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Nov 2018

GOING BACK TO SCHOOL WITH SINDA To help children from disadvantaged homes start off the new school year right, 2,500 students each received a school kit at the SINDA Back to School Festival held on 17, 18 and 25 November 2018. Every school kit comprised $120 worth of stationery vouchers and $60 worth of shoe vouchers. The Back to School Festival has been providing annual assistance for education-related expenses to Indian students from lower income families since 2008. 2018 saw the largest number of beneficiaries to date, with a decentralised Festival held at three schools. The increase is due to SINDA’s revised subsidy criteria and continued outreach and collaboration with community partners. In future, the Back to School Festival will benefit more Indian students and continue to support children of families with financial constraints. In her opening speech at the event, Ms Indranee Rajah, Minister, Prime Minister’s Office, Second Minister for Finance and Education and President, SINDA, stressed that every child deserves to receive maximum opportunities in education for their academic and holistic development. Receiving knowledge and skills is key to social mobility, job advancement and a better life. This emphasis on education is very much part of Singapore’s aspiration for our children to have access to equal opportunities and succeed, regardless of our circumstances and background.

Ms Indranee spoke about providing impactful student support and engaging families in our children’s education, with the new initiative by the Ministry of Education called UPLIFT which stands for ‘Uplifting Pupils in Life and Inspiring Families Taskforce’. Issues faced by students who struggle to keep up with their academic work are often multi-layered and complex. UPLIFT is looking to enhance current efforts in closing the gaps they face. To do so, the taskforce will look into aspects such as absenteeism in school, building resilience in children from disadvantaged backgrounds, as well as parental support and involvement. This will improve their chances of becoming confident, well-adjusted students who will do well in school and later in life. Ms Indranee reminded those at the festival that raising and equipping a child with the right set of knowledge and skills is the shared responsibility of many hands – the government, community groups, and families. She highlighted, “How our children fare as adults and how meaningful their lives will be, depends on how we are able to cultivate in them the importance of education”, calling on parents and families to be involved in supporting children in their early years.



Dec 2018


Oct 2018

REKINDLING THE SPIRIT OF GIVING AT DEEPAVALI Since 2001, Project Give has been raising funds for the education and financial needs of the Indian community. While fundraising efforts run throughout the year, it is heightened during the Deepavali season to encourage the spirit of giving. A Project Give booth was set up from 3 October to 4 November 2018 to attract donations at the Indian Heritage Centre along Little India’s Campbell Lane. Besides, visitors were treated to exciting activities through an interactive, sure-win contest which was conducted at the booth. Enthusiastic vounteers took the opportunity to promote and showcase SINDA's programmes and services. The Project Give booth has over the years generated much lively visitor participation and community partnership. A special mention goes to the Indian Heritage Centre for their consistent and invaluable venue support to the fundraising campaign.

Computer technology covers many aspects of our lives, at home and at work. Unsurprisingly, children are increasingly expected to understand how it works and apply it in the course of their studies. SINDA organised a one-day workshop - Computer Science for Kids, to teach children cyber security, coding and how to create presentations and documents. Held on 8 December 2018 at SINDA, 22 participants were exposed to computer technology and taught how to use Microsoft Office. The seven to nine-year olds were guided by volunteer trainers who underwent curriculum training themselves, before imparting skills to the eager students. This programme was the brainchild of SINDA youth volunteer, Ms Sahana Vandayar. The 16-year-old student was passionate in her mission to expose financially disadvantaged children to computing and technology. “From vending machines to video games, computer science has a huge hand in creating the world we live in today,” she said. “I initiated Computer Science for Kids to expose more children to technology as socio-economically disadvantaged students are interested and curious, but generally have very little access to, or experience with technology.” Primary 2 student Kuppusamy Shivshankar enthused, “My favourite part of the programme was learning how to build a soccer game and playing it too! We also learnt how to spot safe and fake websites on the internet, and that we should ask our parents before visiting new internet sites.” Following the success of this workshop, there are plans to conduct more editions of the programme in 2019, so look out for information on our website!


Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for Social Policies, and Chairman, SINDA, visited the booth to thank our generous donors and community partners. In a heartfelt speech, he highlighted, “This very meaningful initiative is in its 18th edition and started with the intent of getting the SINDA community to take care of the less privileged in the Indian community. I am touched that children saved up their pocket money to make donations. Possessing a sense of empathy for others is very critical for the good of the community and the nation. Such acts of kindness must be encouraged.” Ardent SINDA supporter Mr Manokaran Chakrapani, Managing Director of Mano Equestrian Services Pte Ltd, has been contributing to Project Give since 2009. He said, “This fundraiser is especially timely as we celebrate giving and hope during Deepavali. Project Give helps the less fortunate and is a noble cause to contribute to.”

Nov 2018

SPARKLING PROMISE AT SINDA YOUTH AWARDS 2018 150 youth participants were recognised for their commitment towards SINDA programmes at the SINDA Youth Awards, held on 24 November 2018 at the Umar Pulavar Tamil Language Centre. These promising young people showed significant progress in their character development and performed exceptionally well in the Guidance And Mentorship (GAME), Youth Victory, ITE Aspire, Peer Leadership programmes and the SINDA Football Club last year.

SINDA CEO, Mr Anbarasu Rajendran, highlighted that this is the first time SINDA is awarding students from the three ITE Colleges for their commitment and dedication to the ITE Aspire programme, which seeks to strengthen students’ academic performance and develop life skills. He also pointed out that some of the Gold Awardees are recipients of SINDA’s Equal Opportunity Fund. This fund provides children and youth between three to 25 years old with resources to attend enrichment classes. Urging all awardees to strive to reach their fullest potential, Guest of Honour, Mr Ravinder Singh, Term Trustee, SINDA, encouraged the youth present to work towards their holistic development. He said, “Understand the depth and breadth of any area, give your best and master it. It is this mastery that will expand your abilities, add value to what you do and allow you to grow into successful adults.” In his speech, Valedictorian Mohamed Firdose shared that his SINDA journey began with STEP tuition programme when he was in Primary 6. Since then, he has taken part in several youth programmes, including the pilot run of ITE Aspire. “Looking back, I realise that I’ve learnt and grown so much. I’ve gained greater confidence and self-esteem, and am becoming more expressive and able to share my views confidently.”


Dec 2018

In a special event, 58 single mothers and 94 children visited Christmas Wonderland at Gardens by the Bay on 2 December 2018. It was a day dedicated for mothers and children to celebrate meaningful moments of the year and strengthen the bond they have as family. Attendees were treated to a high tea session at the Waterview Room with entertainment and fun activities. A chance to let their hair down, the outing brought everyone together to welcome 2019 with renewed hope. Part-time teacher Jainambunachier d/o Abdul Kader, 40, said, “This was a well-deserved break for both parents and children. The event was well thought-through and the Gardens was an ideal location where all of us felt at ease, soaking in the view and atmosphere. The glittering lights of the luminarie and Chrismas tree brought smiles to everyone's faces. My seven-year-old daughter thoroughly enjoyed the kiddy rides, skating around the outdoor skating rink and the magic show. We had a fulfilling evening with memories we will cherish. Thank you SINDA!” Echoing the sentiments, nursing student Anuratha d/o Parienan, 16, said, “It was a very fun and unique experience, and I especially enjoyed the high tea session! This was our first trip there and my mom, my 10-year-old brother and I had a splendid time. The Christmas Wonderland was great and we particularly loved the live magic show. My brother loved all the rides and played almost all the games! It was definitely a memorable day for all of us.”


Dec 2018


GETTING READY FOR THE WORKING WORLD Students typically spend much of their time writing essays, putting presentation decks together and preparing for exams in school. Such academic work is important, but so are soft skills in communication, critical thinking and collaborative teamwork. Project Aspire held on 8 December 2018 aimed to impart just that. 45 tertiary-level students and youth who are soon embarking on their careers got busy at this one-day interactive workshop. Project Lead Nithya Devi, a 24-year-old trainee lawyer who organised and conducted the workshop, said, “I gained immensely from Project Aspire as a participant and was thrilled to be able to recreate it so that other students can benefit the way I did.” Held at SINDA, the participants were drilled on the basics of writing their CVs with an interactive session. They learnt to prepare catchy paragraphs to introduce themselves and outline their goals, before giving a critique on one another’s statements. Facilitators also ran through how to prepare for interviews. In addition, they conducted mock interviews with participants to highlight the Do’s and Don’ts of body language. Participants even got tips on how to approach people at work, score internships and go about networking.

Participant Bhaskar Harish Sai, who hopes to study law, said that Project Aspire was an opportunity to learn relevant skills useful in his applications for internships and university. “It was an incredibly insightful experience and chance to hone our communication skills. Ultimately, having facilitators who shared their experiences was the most precious part and I am grateful for the inspiration and guidance.” While grades and academic performance open doors, having confidence and creating a fantastic first impression are equally crucial!


Dec 2018

and imparts life values. This comes through especially when the teams undergo training for competitive leagues and tournaments. Dogged discipline and commitment paid off for the U-25 team, which emerged champions of the Ministry of Football Minor League last year! Besides training in the beautiful game, participants picked up soft skills in self-management and decision-making at mentoring sessions to help them cope with situations at school and in their personal lives.

The SINDA Football Club (SFC), which engages youth from 13 to 25 years of age, has had a good response since its debut in 2018. Each week, participants refined football skills such as passing, shooting and ball control from professional coaches, in the under 18, under 21 and under 25 categories. As with all forms of sport, football under the SFC teaches not only athletic skills but also enhances social-emotional learning 12

18-year-old Prasanth Ram from the U-25 team said, “The SFC has nurtured me to be a better player and has also made me a more responsible and disciplined person. I have become a better leader, and the mentoring sessions have made me stronger both emotionally and mentally. I learnt how to be in control of my feelings and my thoughts. Being in the SFC is an experience I will never forget.” Echoing the sentiments is Pavithra Sambasivam, 17, a member of the Women’s U-18 Futsal team, “I’m part of SFC’s pioneer women's football team, and very glad to have improved my skills in bringing the ball forward and tackling while playing defence. More importantly, the sessions have also made me a better planner and taught me to constantly move forward in life.”

Jan 2019


Jan 2019


To ensure that students receive maximum benefits from their teaching, SINDA tutors regularly undergo training in teaching and learning. 330 participants attended SINDA’s Education Workplan Seminar on 5 January 2019 at Woodlands Ring Primary School. These comprised of auxiliary staff and tutors in SINDA’s key education programmes such as STEP and Teach programme, which have been running since 1992 and 2001 respectively. The seminar covered areas such curriculum studies, teaching methodology and how to build a supportive learning environment. To ensure that all our tutors are competent in the classroom, SINDA will introduce a Teaching and Learning Certification course for non-NIE trained tutors over a three month period conducted by a higher education institution. 30 eligible tutors were awarded bursaries during the seminar to pursue the Teaching and Learning Certification in recognition of their contribution to SINDA. SINDA’s tuition and support-based programmes are anchored by more than 395 tutors. Furthermore, these education programmes are run with 45 community partners and more than 60 MOE schools. Are you interested to be part this journey? Potential tutors should sign up at www.sinda.org.sg/tutor.

In collaboration with local info-ed programme Ethiroli, SINDA organised a dialogue session for Indian youth to discuss issues related to them. Held on 26 January 2019 at the NUSS Kent Ridge Guild House, some 80 Indian youth aged 18 to 25 came together to voice concerns they have and propose creative suggestions to tackle those same concerns. Touching on a wide range of topics from housing and education to job opportunities and the cost of living, youth from all walks of life engaged in lively conversations, with industry professionals from various fields chiming in. Junior college student Reddy Kannan Yugesh, 18, said, “I became more aware of the different issues and challenges people face. This session was such an eye opener; it is useful to attend such sessions and listen to the diverse perspectives shared by people.” As part of the session, well-known industry professionals gave the youth more insight from their own experiences to help them make informed decisions for their future. 35-yearold facilitator Yahssir M, Founder, Director and Executive Producer of Millenia Motion Pictures Pte Ltd, offered thoughts on entrepreneurship at the session. He said, “I’ve always had elders who gave me good advice. This is a way of me paying it forward, sharing my stories as a filmmaker to the young people.”

Feb 2019


GIVING YOUTH A LEG UP FOR THE FUTURE To develop internship and employment opportunities for Singapore Indian youth, SINDA and the Singapore Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on 1 February 2019 at the PARKROYAL Hotel @ Kitchener. In addition, SICCI will help to garner donor support towards SINDA’s Back to School Festival, that benefits students from underprivileged families.

Photo: SICCI

SINDA CEO, Mr Anbarasu Rajendran, highlighted that the partnership with SICCI will enable young post-secondary students and aspiring entrepreneurs. “Companies which are members of SICCI will assist in identifying internship and work opportunities, so that Indian youth can get a headstart to gain exposure and experience in the real world. We want to help young people chase their dreams and pick up practical skill sets. At the same time, we aim to help match those embarking on their careers with suitable permanent jobs.” He also pointed out that interested youth are welcome to join the ‘Aspiring Entrepreneurs Network’, where SICCI board members mentor and guide those willing to pick up the ropes in building their own successful business.


Feb 2019

The 9th Indian Business Leaders’ Roundtable (IBR) Dialogue Series held on 8 February 2019 at M Hotel kick-started a discussion on supporting social mobility in our society. With the theme “Social Mobility – Keep the Escalator Moving for Everyone”, the dialogue this year focused on how it is important to provide a platform for everyone with a fair chance to succeed in life, regardless of how they started off. Guest of Honour and keynote speaker, Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for Social Policies, and Chairman, SINDA, emphasised the critical role that community and business leaders play in extending a helping hand to the disadvantaged in society. He highlighted that social mobility shapes the heart and soul of the Singapore ambition. Everyone must take a vested interest in our community and assist the less fortunate up the rungs of the social ladder. Since its founding, SINDA has been playing a critical role in supporting Singapore Indians through its programmes. It will continue to be relevant in its mission to develop children, youth, and provide support to families.


Mr Gautam Banerjee, Chairman of the IBR Management Council said, “The whole idea is to bring everyone in the Indian community in Singapore closer, as we work towards a common goal for success. That is really our mission.”



A nebula is an interstellar cloud of dust, hydrogen, helium and other ionised gases. Open up a discussion with your kids about nebulas and how they may form in outer space with this out-of-this world craft! Simply layer cotton balls, water, tempera paint and glitter until you reach the top of the jar and you create a craft that mimics the wonder of an actual nebula in space!


Clear glass jar with a lid


Tempera paint


Cotton balls

A spoon to push the cotton balls down





Fill your glass jar with some water.

Add a little tempera paint and stir.

Add cotton balls and then glitter.



Keep adding layers of water, tempera paint, cotton balls and glitter, pressing down the cotton balls with a spoon until you reach the top.

Screw on the lid and your Nebula Jar is all set!

Adapted from http://www.pbs.org/parents/crafts-for-kids/diy-nebula-jar/ 15

Read everything in this issue of SINDA Connections without skipping a page? Let’s see how well you know its contents!


Simply circle the answers to the questions below and submit them together with your particulars to SINDA Connections Contest c/o SINDA Corporate & Marketing Communications Division, No 1 Beatty Road, Singapore 209943. Your entries must reach SINDA by 10 June 2019. This contest is open only to primary and secondary school students, who are Singapore citizens or Permanent Residents. Three entries with the right answers will win $50 worth of vouchers each. The winning entries would be picked in a draw and the judges’ decision is final. Winners would be contacted by SINDA to collect their prizes and their names will be published in the next issue of SINDA Connections.


IC/BC No.:


School Level:

Contact No.:



Select one answer for each question: (You can find the answers in the articles in this magazine) Question 1 When were the drama workshops for children held throughout 2018? a) During public holidays b) During school holidays c) At the weekends

Congratulations to the winners of the previous contest! 1) Dayananda Sekar Jyothir Adithya Sengkang Primary School 2) Jakeisha Janaki Lin Xi East Spring Secondary School

Question 2 What is Hamid Rahmatullah’s day-job? a) Orthopaedic surgeon b) Nurse c) General Practitioner

3) Hritikesh s/o Siveneson Corporation Primary School

Question 3 How many students received a school kit each at the SINDA Back to School Festival 2018? a) 1,250 b) 2,050 c) 2,500

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



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 Justice Judith Prakash Life Trustees Mr K Kesavapany Prof S Jayakumar Mr Viswa Sadasivan Mr S Dhanabalan Mr Shabbir Hassanbhai Mr S Chandra Das Mr Timothy Chia Mr J Y Pillay Mr Piyush Gupta Mr Sat Pal Khattar Dr Sudha Nair Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam Mr Harjit Singh Bhatia Mr K Shanmugam Dr N Varaprasad Advisors 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 Thambyrajah T Mr Darryl David Mrs Rathi Parimalan Mr Mohamed Nasim Dr Rakhee Yash Pal Mr Ramesh Narayanaswamy


What is one piece of advice you have received that you would like to pass on to others?


HEENA RAMESH VASNANI Introverted by nature, Heena is stepping out of her comfort zone to plan and co-lead health and fitness programme SPIN 2019. She is doing this all while juggling a demanding undergraduate timetable!

A former participant who saw her physical health and social wellbeing improve with SPIN or the SINDA Sports Initiative, Heena is gamely taking on the responsibility of planning and organising this year’s edition. As co-lead, she is in charge of making sure this year’s participants achieve their fitness goals with sports and activities in a six-month long programme. In spite of a busy schedule as a thirdyear student in Diagnostic Radiography, Heena is organising enriching sessions for the participants. “I do feel a sense of responsibility, as I took on a committee role to be the change I want to see. All of us involved are managing our time and working together as a team, supporting and encouraging each other as we go along.”

Heena: “It’s okay to make mistakes and it’s okay to fail. There is nothing to be gained from sitting back but there is so much to be gained from giving it a try! If it works out well, that’s great! We know what works and can keep it up. If it doesn’t, we’ve still gained experience and can do better next time!”

“I had a fulfilling time helping out as a buddy in the 2018 programme, and had the opportunity to take the lead for some of the training sessions,” Heena explained. This was a valuable stepping stone for her as it gave her some experience in planning and executing workout sessions. The exposure to people of different personalities and backgrounds helped Heena develop her social skills. “We had a good mix of participants varying in age from students to working adults.” In SPIN 2019, to complement the physical fitness training, Heena and her team also plan to include nutrition and mental wellness workshops.



At MDIS, we nurture our students’ potential and amplify their talents, grooming them into outstanding achievers in their fields of choice. For over 60 years, we have produced stellar professionals who go on to achieve successful careers and positive social change. MDIS BUSINESS SCHOOL Accounting & Finance Accounting & Financial Management Banking & Finance Business Studies & Finance Business Management Business & Marketing Human Resource Management International Marketing Management Studies Public Administration & Management Public Service Management Supply Chain Management




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