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Speech by Mr Masagos Zulkifli, Minister for Social and Family Development and Second Minister for Health and Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs at the Launch of Volunteer Festival, 7 July 2024 (Sunday), 11am – 12.30pm, Our Tampines Hub

Type: Official Speeches (All), Official Speeches: Masagos Zulkifli

Topic(s): MSFCare Volunteers


  1. Good morning. I am very happy to join you today at the inaugural Volunteer Festival, or VFest for short.

     

  2. It is lovely to see so many gathered here on this Sunday morning - volunteers, social service agencies, individuals, and families.

     

    Giving as part of our DNA

     

  3. In a month’s time, we will be celebrating our 59th National Day. At junctures like this, we celebrate how far we’ve come. And we also think about how else we can give back to our country which has given us so much. 

     

  4. Volunteering has been a key part of the Singapore DNA.

     

  5. In our early days as a young nation, people readily offered their neighbours and others food, help, and support.

     

  6. This spirit of fellowship and mutual support lives on today.
    • Many companies continue to do what’s good for business while making sure that the benefits flow into the community and to society. Many have started corporate volunteering programmes to deepen their impact.

       

    • We saw the Singapore spirit during the pandemic - Singaporeans young and old, and from all across society helping one another. From distributing essentials and reaching out to isolated seniors to developing mental health resources, volunteers came forward. We supported each other and tided through this challenging time together.

       

  7. Being generous and giving unto others is way of life for many. So it is no surprise that 7 in 10 Singaporeans believe that volunteering is an effective way to uplift the community, according to a survey conducted MSF.

     

  8. The survey also showed that more than 7 in 10 Singaporeans believe that volunteering has a positive impact on not just the beneficiaries, but also volunteers themselves.

     

    Volunteering as Part of our Social Compact

     

  9. As many will share with you, volunteering is not a solitary journey. Through it, you will be able to meet other volunteers and organisations who do good work in the community.

     

  10. And when we come together, we are able to make a giant impact. Our efforts reinforce each other and multiply.

     

  11. This partnership across individuals, companies, the Government, and the community is how our Singapore story came to be. And I believe it is what will serve us well in the next bound to build our shared future.

     

  12. We have seen what is possible when we join hands together. Adalia Tan is a volunteer with us. Because DBS and MSF worked together to develop a structured volunteering programme to support families with children living in rental flats, individuals like Adalia can plug right in and make a meaningful impact. Today, Adalia befriends and journeys with families towards their aspirations. She and her fellow befrienders use activity booklets that DBS developed to engage children from these ComLink+ families, helping to impart financial literacy concepts and habits from a young age.

     

  13. This is just one example of how partnering together and participating in structured volunteering opportunities can create collective and sustained impact.

     

  14. We are building an ecosystem to enable sustained and meaningful volunteering efforts.

     

  15. Over the past few years, we have established 24 SG Cares Volunteer Centres nationwide. In MSF, we also have the MSFCare Network that helps individuals to identify causes within the MSF Family that resonate with them, whether it is journeying with youth, or helping vulnerable children and adults.

     

  16. To enable sustained engagement of volunteers, Social Service Agencies are strengthening their volunteer capabilities. Today close to 8 in 10 SSAs have put in place volunteer management processes and about 7 in 10 have dedicated volunteer managers who work closely with individuals like yourself to match your skillsets and interests to the needs on the ground. I’m glad to share that these various efforts have resulted in a 20% increase in total volunteering hours in the last 2 years. The National Council of Social Services will continue to partner SSAs to build stronger volunteer capabilities to strengthen service delivery and enhance the volunteer experience.

     

    VFest: Opportunities Closer to Home

     

  17.  Today, we gather here at VFest to rally more individuals and corporates to start your volunteering journey.

     

    • The VFest brings together many agencies, and showcases a wide range of exciting and meaningful volunteering opportunities.

       

    • One unique feature of the VFest is that individuals will be able to step into the shoes of volunteers. There are various elements specially designed to be experiential and interactive. So that you can glimpse what it is like being a volunteer before taking the next step. For example, through the human libraries where you can ‘borrow’ a volunteer and hear from their experiences.

       

    • Here at Our Tampines Hub, the VFest showcases the good work of organisations located in the East and features volunteer opportunities in this area.

       

    • For example, SG Enable and SPD launched the first Enabling Services Hub at Tampines West CC, located just 10 mins from here, about a year ago. Since then, volunteers have stepped up to organise inclusive activities in the community, bringing inclusion right in our neighbourhoods. They have also stepped up as befrienders and enabled more individuals and their families to access ESH services and programmes. The ESH is looking for more volunteers and I hope more will step up to be part of this meaningful effort.

       

    • I also encourage families to come and volunteer together. Many parents have shared with me that when they volunteer with their children, they not only get to spend quality time and bond with their children, they are also able to inculcate values like empathy from young. I started my own volunteering journey when my late father brought me to events. And I started simply, from arranging the chairs. Indeed, the family is where the spirit of volunteering and generosity is nurtured.

       

  18. In the upcoming weeks, the VFest will rove to Toa Payoh Hub, Kampung Admiralty, and Lot 1, making it easier for individuals from across Singapore to find out more about various community causes and explore the different ways they can get involved.  

     

    Conclusion

     

  19. In closing, I would like to thank our partners, all 66 of them, the numerous SSAs, Government agencies, corporates and community agencies – for being part of this inaugural VFest. A special mention to NVPC, SG Cares Office, the NDP Organising Committee, SG Enable, and National Council of Social Services. And a thank you to our media partner, Mediacorp. 

     

  20. In this Year of Celebrating Volunteers, we want to celebrate volunteers in the social sector and beyond who share their time, talent, and treasures to build up others. We want to rally more individuals to start their volunteering journey.

     

  21. I encourage all to be curious and seize this chance to find out more about the organisations present and to step in the shoes of a volunteer for a day.  

     

  22. Let us come together to build a more caring and inclusive society.