Biomedic grad Galvin choses a job with a purpose

She left a job in a research lab to become a job coach to help people with special needs. This is seva, the Sikh concept of selfless service

| Singapore | 15 July 2017 | Asia Samachar |
Galvin Sandu (left) in discussion with a staff supervising Salim, a Down Syndrome person coached by Galvin – Photo grab from The Red Dot programme

Galvin Sandhu’s work is special in many ways. The Singaporean job coach bridges the needs of people with special needs and potential employers. She has to go the extra mile to ensure that the new job’s social and physical environment suits their client.

She chose this job because she feels she is more of a ‘people person’. Earlier, she was working in a research development laboratory. It was very much in line with her tertiary education in biomedical science. But there was a void within.

After some thinking, she took up a job as a placement executive at Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore (MINDS), one of oldest and largest non-governmental organisations catering to the needs of persons with intellectual disability (PWIDs) in Singapore.

“I always wanted to do a job with a purpose that allowed me to help someone and this was a perfect job that allowed me to do so,” she told Asia Samachar when asked what made her switch careers.

Her words are perfectly aligned with the Sikh concept of seva or selfless service.

In May, Galvin was featured in Singapore television programme shadowing a client with Down Syndrome. She had successfully moulded Salim, 29, into a confident, independent worker.

“When they are able to hold a job, most of them find a purpose and immediately you can see a chance in their character. It’s very rewarding,” she said in an interview for the programme. See: The Red Dot segment (25 May 2017).

MINDS was founded in May 1962 by a group of philanthropists who saw the need to provide equal opportunities for children with intellectual disabilities to receive education and later, to be integrated as contributing and responsible citizens in Singapore, according to information on its website

It now runs four Special Education Schools; three Employment Development Centres (EDCs); six Training and Development Centres (TDCs); two Homes (one for adults, one for children); one Hostel (for adults), and a Caregivers Support Centre and home-based care services to cater to the educational, vocational, social and welfare needs of people with intellectual disability.

MINDS welcome volunteers who are deemed to play a critical role in empowering their clients and promoting inclusion of persons with intellectual disability into society today.



What are the challenges you face to adjust to this new role?

Every client we work with is different just like every human being. Hence adjusting to find an effective way to communicate with them and getting them to be comfortable enough with us is a challenge. We also work with caregivers and employers which has its own set of challenges at times.

Tell us a bit about yourself?

I am the oldest of 3 siblings. Have a background and degree with honors in biomedical science.

How did your family and friends react when you switched to this job?

At the start my father wasn’t to pleased as he felt that I should work in a related field to my studies. However as I told him and my family more about what I do, they were all very supportive of my decision to make the career switch and I can safely say they are proud of what I do.

GALVIN SANDHU: She has a degree with honors in biomedical science, but chose to pursue a different career path – Photo / Supplied

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