At the annual MSF Volunteer and Partner Awards ceremony (MVPA) today, Minister for Social and Family Development Masagos Zulkifli announced 2024 as the Year of Celebrating Volunteers (YCVolunteers) to recognise and celebrate the contributions of volunteers. By partnering MSF and the social service sector, our volunteers have given their time, talent and treasures to build strong families and a caring and inclusive society.
2 Building on the strong foundation of last year’s Year of Celebrating Social Service Partners, YCVolunteers seeks to inspire more people to take the first step into volunteerism and encourage more active and regular volunteering.
3 Minister Masagos also launched the new Volunteer Development Guide by the National Council of Social Service. The guide will help volunteer managers create a more fulfilling experience to sustain volunteers’ interest and passion on causes they serve.
4 The MVPA honours the passion and dedication of MSF’s partners and volunteers, as well as organisations which have made significant contributions to our programmes or causes. This year, 298 awards were given out.
5 The top award, the Outstanding Lifetime Volunteer Award, was presented to Dr Sushilan Vasoo, who is a pioneer in the social service sector and known to many as the “father of community work”. An advocate for a more caring and compassionate society, Dr Vasoo has made invaluable contributions to Singapore’s social service landscape over the last five decades.
6 Dr Vasoo’s dedication to the social service sector has resulted in several notable contributions. One of which was his involvement in the piloting of the Family Service Centres (FSC) programme with YMCA, Asian Women’s Welfare Association (AWWA) and the Anglican Welfare Services in 1976, which became among the first examples of the voluntary sector filling the gap in services and bringing social services to the heartlands. Dr Vasoo advocated for early partnerships and collaborations between agencies, forging more integrated services. Dr Vasoo believes strongly that for lasting change, it requires community. For him, volunteers, residents in a neighbourhood and civic society are intertwined for society to thrive. They fuel community spirit. Over the years, he also served as a Board Advisor for multiple Social Service Agencies, including the Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore (MINDS), the Down Syndrome Association and Allkin Singapore.
7 Besides the Outstanding Lifetime Volunteer Award, 11 Outstanding Volunteer Awards, 51 Friends of MSF Awards, 44 Community Cares Awards and 191 Long Service Awards were presented.
8 Some of the social service partners and volunteers who were recognised this year include:
- Mdm Ong Soh Kim & Mr Chua Kim Hwa (Outstanding Volunteer Award), who have been fostering for 18 years and cared for two foster children, one of whom is currently still under their care, and has been so since infancy. Through their
dedicated care, their foster children have progressed well in life. They have strong bonds with their foster children and hope to be there for them despite advancing in age.
- Beautiful People (Friends of MSF Award), who mentor youth with a focus on teenage girls to empower them with life skills and purposeful relationships. Beautiful People mentors have been befriending the youths in the Singapore Girls’
Home since 2017. In 2022, Beautiful People set up My Beautiful Life@Singapore Girls’ Home (MBL@SGH), where their mentors would regularly meet with the youths to befriend and provide them with positive support.
- PhillipCapital (Community Cares Award), in partnership with the Social Service Office (SSO)@Geylang Serai, has actively supported lower-income families since 2022. Through their sponsorship and participation in various initiatives
with the ComLink+ families, they have managed to build rapport and support them in various ways. PhillipCapital has also provided weekly tuition lessons to ComLink+ students in secondary school and together with SSO@Geylang Serai, plan to launch
a financial literacy programme for ComLink+ students in primary school.
- Lim Tze Beng (Long Service Award), who has been volunteering as a Volunteer Probation Officer for youth-at-risk since 2007 and has expanded his volunteering efforts on adult protection matters since 2020. In the past two years, Tze
Beng has supervised and befriended a total of eight probationers to help them take steps to improve themselves.
Details of the award winners are in the Annex.