By Asia Samachar Team | SINGAPORE |
Singapore parents Ranjeev Pandey and Melvinder Kaur noticed that their five-year old daughter was attracted to pictorial story books and numeracy-based cartoons.
So, they thought about kick-starting their daughter’s educational journey. For that, they turned to Singapore Indian Development Association (Sinda) that ran a programme called Literacy and Numeracy (LYNN).
Since attending the pre-school programme, Sonya Kaur Pandey is rarely seen without a book!
This is just one of the many success stories at Sinda that has committed to help Indian students to excel. In 2019, the organisation spent S$11.3 million – that’s half of its total expenditure of $22.5 million – for educational programmes. Its total income for 2019 was S33.6 million.
The self help group established in 1991 believes that it is making a difference. For the whole of last year, its frontline divisions reached out to 24,812 beneficiaries, up 12% from the year before.
“We made special effort to connect with younger audiences such as tertiary-level youth, young working adults and new parents – the generations of tomorrow,” said Sinda president Indranee Rajah in a note in the annual report.
The organisation’s youth and family divisions, for example, has found ‘new and innovative’ ways to reach their audiences by developing niche programmes relevant to them.
Sinda had spent $3.5 million for family services and $1.4 million for youth development programmes in 2019, according to its annual report.
“One such example is the Understanding Early Childhood programme — a pilot initiative to guide first-time parents on promoting their toddler’s cognitive and emotional development and strengthening parent-child bonds through collective and interactive play,” said Indranee, who is also Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office.
Other programmes included the newly launched Tamil pre-school programme to strengthen participants’ proficiency in the language in a fun way as well as digital workshops for over 1,100 young ones to equip them with the foundational skills necessary for a technology-driven world.
She noted that Sinda’s Door Knocking Exercise continues to be a good way to connect with Indian households and offer assistance to those in need.
“We worked closely with the respective Grassroots Advisors and Indian Activity Executive Committees [IAECs] to knock on doors, gain access to new beneficiaries and enrol them into our programmes. Many of them required urgent help but did not know who to approach,” she said.
On the impact on the on-going Covid-19 pandemic, Indranee said the organization had temporarily ceased face-to-face programmes, but have instead introduced an e-learning platform to complement the Ministry of Education’s Student Learning Space (SLS).
The platform was piloted in 2019 and offers interactive and real-time video-based lessons conducted online by qualified tutors. Lessons are offered to Primary, Secondary and A-Levels students for various subjects including English, Mathematics and Science.
In view of the novel coronavirus, Sinda has announced a $1.8 million package, which should benefit at least 3,000 families and students.
The new package will supplement the existing $2 million earmarked by the association for financial assistance this year, according to a newspaper report.
Singapore minister joins SKA Ladies Wing’s Family Day (Asia Samachar, 31 March 2019)