27 January 2021
394 volunteers and partners1 were recognised for their outstanding contributions at the MSF Volunteer & Partner Awards (MVPA), held virtually on 27 January 2021. This was almost double the number of award recipients from the previous MVPA in 2019 (i.e. 216 award recipients), largely due to more partners stepping up to volunteer their time and effort to help those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
2 The MVPA, which was first held in 2009, recognises the commitment and dedication of MSF's volunteers and partners. This year’s Awards ceremony was hosted by Minister for Social and Family Development, Mr Masagos Zulkifli, who paid tribute to the award recipients for working alongside MSF to nurture resilient individuals, strong families and a caring society.
Outstanding Lifetime Volunteers
3 For only the second time in MVPA's 12-year history, two individuals (instead of one) were presented with the Outstanding Lifetime Volunteer Award – the Awards' highest accolade. This Award recognises outstanding individuals who have made significant contributions over a span of at least 30 years. Dr Anamah Tan and Mr Lim Hock Heng were the recipients of this year’s distinguished Outstanding Lifetime Volunteer Award.
- Dr Anamah Tan has had more than 40 years of experience in advancing equality between men and women in Singapore, Asia and internationally. She was a pioneer of the women’s development movement in Asia and a determined advocate for gender issues, particularly domestic violence and poverty eradication. With her expertise in family law, Dr Tan’s efforts in raising the status of women included having successfully lobbied for changes in the socio-political and legal frameworks in Singapore. She was one of the founding members of the Singapore Council of Women’s Organisations (SCWO).
- Mr Lim Hock Heng has been a volunteer with MSF’s Probation and Community Rehabilitation Service (PCRS) since 1975. Through his 45 years of service, Mr Lim has become an integral part of the Operations Night Watch (ONW) team since it started in 1997. To date, he has clocked over 6,000 checks island-wide to support MSF’s Probation Officers in ensuring that probationers comply with their Court-ordered time restrictions. He also reaches out to befriend, guide and journey with our youths and their families. His efforts in building the capabilities of fellow volunteers, including coaching and guiding new volunteers, exemplifies his commitment to the service. Today, Mr Lim continues to volunteer as the Deputy ONW Manager – a responsibility he has held since 2001.
Community Cares Award
4 Introduced in 2019, the Community Cares Award recognises individuals and organisations who passionately drive social change, strive to do good for society, and in so doing, inspire those around them. 71 individuals and organisations were presented with the Community Cares Award this year.
Supporting lower-income families and their children
5 Among the Community Cares Award winners was the Kembangan-Chai Chee (KCC) Social Team. The team has been a key partner of Community Link (ComLink) @ Kembangan-Chai Chee since March 2019. The ComLink initiative, which was piloted in four estates in 2019, provides families living in rental housing with proactive, collaborative and community-driven support, to empower them to improve their circumstances and achieve stability. Through ComLink, MSF proactively engages families to understand their needs, and follows through with close collaboration across government agencies, community partners such as the KCC Social Team, and volunteers to co-create and co-deliver programmes, and monitor the families' progress.
6 For example, the KCC Social Team provided funds for a series of programmes for over 50 children, aged five to 12, during the school holidays to ensure that their time was meaningfully occupied, while allowing stay-home mothers to have some respite. The KCC Social Team also organised games and activities for the children, while their parents participated in focus group discussions with our Social Service Office (SSO) to help MSF better understand their needs and aspirations. During the Circuit Breaker period, the KCC Social Team helped to distribute 120 care packs, consisting of hand sanitisers, disinfectant sprays, anti-bacterial body wash, wipes and handwash, soluble Vitamin C tablets and surgical masks, to the families.
7 "We are honoured to partner SSO@Bedok and the family service centres to support our ComLink families during this difficult period. We firmly believe that no effort is too small, and when we set our hearts on doing good and acting together, we can do more. We will continue to work hard and collaborate with our partners to best serve those in need," said Ms Eileen Teo, Head of KCC Social Team.
Nurturing the young to give back to society
8 MSF's partners also play key roles in imparting the important value of giving back and caring for those in need to our next generation. In 2015, the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) initiated the 'Start Small Dream Big' (SSDB) movement to encourage preschools to create platforms for children2 to give back to the community. LittleLives Inc, an education-technology firm that provides management systems for preschools, has been a strong SSDB partner since 2016, setting up and managing the SSDB portal pro-bono.
9 As more preschools participate in the SSDB each year, the portal encourages the sharing of SSDB projects and experiences with participating centres, parents and the public. This builds capability, strengthens the bonds within the SSDB community, and inspires other community partners to come on board. Since 2017, LittleLives Inc has also supported ECDA at SSDB launches by documenting SSDB launch parties organised by preschools, and uploading the videos via Facebook Live, further raising awareness of the initiative. For their commendable work, they were presented with the Community Cares Award.
10 "When we first heard of Start Small Dream Big four years ago, we were very inspired and thought what better way for us to give back to the early learning community than to volunteer our expertise and to help schools share their stories about their meaningful community projects. We have so far helped 830 schools share 6,000 stories, which have garnered more than 527,000 page views. We are happy to partner ECDA to impart in our children the value of giving back to society and caring for the needy, cultivating a caring and inclusive society for all," said Ms Sun Ho, Founder and CEO of LittleLives Inc.
Outstanding Volunteers, Friends of MSF and Long Service Awards
11 This year, MSF also honoured volunteers in the following categories (please refer to Annex A for the list of media profiles)
Our MSF Outstanding Volunteer Award recognises those who have contributed significantly to various groups served by MSF.
The award winners are distinguished by their significant contributions in terms of time and effort spent.
|Our Friends of MSF Award is presented to individual volunteers or organisations that have made significant contributions to committees or projects under MSF’s purview for at least two years.|
|Our MSF Long Service Award recognises individuals or organisations who have volunteered directly with MSF.|
1 Comprising 334 awards given to recipients across 5 categories, namely Outstanding Lifetime Volunteer Award (2 recipients), Outstanding Volunteer Award (15 recipients), Friends of MSF Award (44 recipients), Community Cares Award (71 recipients) and Long Service Award (202 recipients).
2 The objective of 'Start Small Dream Big' is to nurture each child holistically, including character building, so that they can succeed individually in life and become responsible citizens who care for those around them. Through 'Start Small Dream Big', young children are encouraged to use their own resources and creativity to give back to society, and in the process, instil the spirit of giving and good values such as care for others, humility, kindness and compassion.