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People, Organisations, Leaders giving their best for others

Welcome Remarks by Mr Edwin Tong, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth & Second Minister for Law, at the President's Volunteerism & Philanthropy Awards 2020 Special Edition, “Our Finest Hour in the City of Good”

Good afternoon President Halimah Yacob,
Chairman of National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre (NVPC), Mrs Mildred Tan,
Chief Executive of NVPC, Ms Melissa Kwee,
Distinguished guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

  1. I am delighted to join you at the President's Volunteerism & Philanthropy Awards (PVPA) 2020 Special Edition, “Our Finest Hour in the City of Good”.
  2. PVPA is the pinnacle award and platform to recognise individuals and groups that have achieved excellence in selfless giving.

    (a) Conferred since 2012, it is organised by the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre, and supported by the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth.
  3. Through PVPA, we celebrate the building blocks of a City of Good: its People, Organisations, and Leaders. The City of Good is a vision of a Singapore where individuals, organisations and leaders come together to give of their best for others.

    (a) Giving our best for others means moving away from a ‘me-first’ mindset; not self-centred but being other-centred. A City of Good is where we value other people first.

    (b) City of Good fuels the national Singapore Cares movement, or SG Cares, to build a caring and inclusive home for all, where care is an integral part of our Singaporean identity and we must also make it our way of life.

    New opportunities to promote volunteerism and philanthropy

  4. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented disruptions and many difficulties in the lives of Singaporeans, including many migrant workers and our guests living in Singapore.
  5. Through these challenging times, many individuals, groups, and companies have certainly risen to the occasion and I think each of us really have a story of our own and our experiences to tell, showing care for the people around us. 

    (a) Today, we want to recognise the nominees who have made significant contributions to uplift the community in this period. And I’m sure that the work that they do, will continue even if the pandemic is off our shores.

    (b) These nominees have inspired others to join them in advancing the common good and reach out to many more people. 

    (c) Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen the resilience of the human spirit, the creativity to respond with very innovative solutions that come from the heart. When you put the other person first, you find that the solutions invariably always work.

    Whole-of-Society efforts in volunteerism and philanthropy to support vulnerable Singaporeans

  6. The People of Good Award recognises exceptional individuals who have devoted their time, talent and also lent their voice to the community.

    (a) One shining example is Mr Omar Faruque Shipon (O-mar far-ru si-pond), himself a migrant worker from Bangladesh.He recognised the importance of sharing accurate information from verified sources about the coronavirus outbreak with other Bangladeshi migrant workers. He did so by compiling news from multiple government and local news sources, which he then took the effort to translate them into Bengali. Mr Omar attracted more than 60,000 followers on his Facebook page. That is no mean feat. He assisted with hundreds of daily queries from the migrant workers on the interactive site. He became known as the information bank for Bangladeshi migrant workers. Thank you very much, Mr Omar Faruque Shipon.

    (b) Another exemplary individual is Mr Nizar Shariff, who despite suffering from ailments that cause him to have difficulties walking, he founded Free Food for All (FFFA) to provide nutritious meals to those in need. I think sometimes we underestimate how important it is to have a meal a day, let alone a nutritious meal. During the Covid-19 pandemic, FFFA has served more than 40,000 beneficiaries island wide, comprising many families at risk, many people who are vulnerable like the elderly, people who are homeless, and of course, also the migrant workers. They also saw an increase to over 1,000 home deliveries each month, compared to their usual 150 to 200 per month before the pandemic. Despite facing his own personal setbacks, Mr Nizar felt compelled to reach out to help others, putting aside his own struggles. He certainly is an inspiration to all of us and we take this occasion to celebrate his hard work, his contributions and his desire to put other people first. Thank you very much, Mr Nizar Shariff.
  7. The Leader of Good Award recognises exceptional leaders who have galvanised others around them to do good, not just by themselves but inspiring a community with similiar passion, multiplying their impact to the community.

    (a) Mr Ainsley Lee is one such example. A Year 3 Medical Student and Student Leader of National University of Singapore, he kickstarted WishWuhanWell, a collaboration with three hospitals in China. WishWuhanWell raised $80,000 to source for and deliver ventilators and N95 masks for China. Partnering with local F&B and delivery businesses, Ainsley and his friends also formed In A Heartbeat which raised funds from professors and fellow students to buy and distribute food to healthcare workers. Ainsley also co-founded a volunteer platform, VolunteerSG, which has garnered over 3,000 users to date and saw about 200 fellow students committing over 25,000 hours of volunteering from April to June 2020, which is the period of the circuit breaker. I am indeed encouraged to see these efforts. Thank you Ainsley.

    Building a caring and inclusive home for all through SG Cares

  8. The outpouring of efforts and contributions to support volunteerism and philanthropy in our beloved nation is an inspiration to all of us. This is driving our national SG Cares movement to build a caring and cohesive society that puts others first before yourselves.
  9. Finally, I would like to congratulate all the winners once again for not just the work you have done, but doing it wth your own sense of passion and framing the programmes with others mind first.
  10. In giving your best for others, all of you truly embody Our Finest Hour in the City of Good.
  11. Thank you, Madam President, for supporting this year’s Special Edition of PVPA to recognise and appreciate our individuals. You inspire them as well. To our organisations and leaders, you have all selflessly stepped forward to extend a helping hand during this pandemic.
  12. I wish everyone a good afternoon ahead! Congratulations once again.
Last updated on 16 October 2020