Mr Ishak Ismail,
Chairman, Families for Life Council
Partners and distinguished guests
Families and friends
1. Good morning. I am happy to be here today, to launch this year’s National Family Week. It is wonderful to see many of us coming together to celebrate families.
IMPORTANCE OF FAMILIES
2. Families shape our character and pass on cherished values. They are our harbour and anchor us in storms. It is in families that individuals are nurtured to become resilient individuals who go on to give back to society. Families are the bedrock of a strong society.
3. In Singapore, we place great importance on the institution of the family. That is why the Government designated 2022 as the Year of Celebrating SG Families. And why we continue to celebrate families every year, supporting families for years and generations to come.
FAMILIES FOR LIFE MOVEMENT
4. I would like to acknowledge the efforts of the Families for Life Council to promote and strengthen families. Chairman Ishak Ismail and the FFL Council members have steadily and steadfastly championed this cause. Besides National Family Week, FFL also organise many activities to encourage family bonding and promote family values year-round.
5. It’s wonderful to see the Families for Life movement growing at a national level, and also gaining traction among families in the community. For instance, through FFL@Community, many families have benefitted from marriage, parenting, and even grandparenting programmes within their neighbourhood. Currently in 5 towns, FFL@Community will be expanded to all 24 towns nationwide by 2025. When I visited FFL@Choa Chua Kang, what struck me was the role that families themselves played in supporting other families in the community, from organising family bonding activities to supporting others in parent peer support groups.
6. I am pleased to hear that FFL will be doubling down on its efforts to strengthen marriages and support our parents.
7. To enable more newly-wed couples to benefit from the guidance of an experienced mentor, FFL will be expanding the marriage mentoring initiative, Journey with You (JoY), a joint initiative with MSF.
8. FFL has also introduced a new programme, Purposeful Play, to support parents. This is customised for parents with children aged 4 to 6 years old, Purposeful Play equips parents with evidence-based strategies to play and spend quality time with their children, while helping their children learn and develop their communication skills. I believe that many families will definitely benefit from these programmes.
Building a Singapore Made For Families, Together
9. Like FFL, the Government strives to make Singapore a great place where families can flourish.
10. To do so, we are committed to supporting families through all phases of their life. This includes:
a. Providing comprehensive support to help couples start a family, including defraying costs for raising and caring for children.
b. Enhancing work life measures to help couples balance work and family.
c. Giving every child a good start in life, by keeping preschool education accessible and affordable.
d. Integrating services together to better support families. This includes Family Nexus right here at Our Tampines Hub, which provides holistic support for families under one roof. From health services to parenting programmes.
11. While we can put in place the hardware to support families, I believe a Singapore Made For Families can only be achieved when all of society participates and desires to make it a reality. And when we work together across sectors to make progress towards this vision:
12. Corporates play a crucial role in creating a family-friendly work environment. For instance, in developing flexible work arrangements, corporates help employees to balance both their work and family responsibilities.
13. Social Service Agencies and community partners are critical in laying the foundations for strong families such as through family life education. They help to build resilience in families, and support families in need.
14. Here I would like to say that as a society, we must uplift all families, including and especially families in need. We must journey with them to achieve stability, self-reliance and social mobility. I am glad that many of our partners here are supportive of these families during this National Family Week. I thank McDonald’s for their sponsorship of Happy Family Packs, which will be given to ComLink families.
15. Individuals are key to building a Singapore Made For Families. Ultimately, each one of us can make a difference in our families and for other families. Strong families are not built from grand gestures, but from the little things in daily life – spending time together, helping one another, and showing love and appreciation. Many who have a heart for families can also go further to support other families by volunteering with FFL, ComLink, and KidSTART.
CELEBRATING NATIONAL FAMILY WEEK NATIONWIDE
16. Following the launch of National Family Week by PM Lee Hsien Loong last year, I’m pleased to launch National Family Week 2023.
17. This year, over 100 new corporate and community partners have stepped forth to affirm the importance of families, bringing our total partners to over 120. I thank all of you for joining FFL and MSF in this nationwide effort. In this Year of Celebrating Social Service Partners, I would like to acknowledge your efforts in celebrating and supporting families.
18. This year, National Family Week is returning even bigger, and will be celebrated across Singapore. Besides Tampines, there are 5 other anchor locations across Singapore – HomeTeamNS Khatib, SAFRA Punggol, ActiveSG Bukit Canberra, Lot One Mall, and Gardens by the Bay.
19. Over the course of this week, there will be over 200 activities for all families to participate in. There is something for every family, across age groups and for families with persons with disabilities.
20. Once again, I would like to recognise your efforts in strengthening families. Let us work together to build a Singapore Made For Families.
21. I wish everyone an enjoyable and meaningful National Family Week ahead. Thank you.