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Heart Of Goodness: The Vocal Prowess Of Stefanie Yuen Thio
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Stories Of Impact

Stories Of Impact

Heart Of Goodness: The Vocal Prowess Of Stefanie Yuen Thio

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She stands out for her irreverence. Her saucy humour. Her no-holds-barred views on a gamut of issues from cryptocurrencies to shady KTV business owners. However, right now, flanked by vibrant Pop Art in her living room and two energetic dogs, Stefanie Yuen Thio is in “pensive mode”. In fact, she is downright disturbed.

As part of the Singapore Together Alliance for Action (AfA) to tackle types of online harm, the corporate lawyer has just come from a discussion about the growing harassment women face. “It’s not just sexual grooming and revenge porn,” she says. “Women, more than men, face a higher incidence of gender-based abuse on the internet such as cyberstalking, trolling and violent threats, and teenage girls are even more vulnerable. 

“We need to take a stand. It’s time the community took control,” she says. AfA is a government-led initiative, tapping youths, tech companies and academics, as well as corporate figures such as Yuen Thio, to come up with ways to make the online world a safer space. Foremost is to raise public awareness of the need for it, as victims typically have little idea what to do. 

Other goals are to create a code of best practice, to offer assistance and to scrutinise how social media is shaping online behaviour as well as mental wellness. A recent study from Nanyang Technological University, for example, found that the more time we spend on Facebook, the greater our risk of suffering from depression. 

A Voice For The Underprivileged

Yuen Thio knows well how social media can define us. Her voice is regularly heard on LinkedIn, where she has over 13,000 followers and was ranked one of Singapore’s top voices in 2020. She can also be heard on the BBC, where she is a guest commentator. Her tongue-in-cheek posts can be uninhibited, sometimes raising eyebrows and drawing flak. But this is not distracting Yuen Thio, who is clearly comfortable marching to the beat of her own drum, from championing the causes she believes in and sparking conversations that could galvanise change.

The online harms alliance, launched in July, is the latest of Yuen Thio’s advocacy work outside of her day job as joint managing partner at TSMP Law Corporation, a boutique corporate-law practice. She is also bringing her energy and savvy to the pandemic’s exigencies: as Singapore battled Covid-19, she has been driving efforts to help frontline workers and those hard hit by the cratering of the economy. 

“I read a story about an ambulance driver who was turned away from a chicken rice stall and about nurses who could not get a taxi home,” she says. It dredged up memories of SARS, when hospital staff were shunned during the 2003 outbreak for fear of them somehow carrying the virus. “I thought f— that! We’re not doing that again,” she says.

Empowering Others To Help

So, early on in the crisis, she helped put in motion the Sayang Sayang Fund with the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS), a nonprofit that promotes philanthropy. Yuen Thio, who sits on the board of CFS, seeded the fund with a $20,000 gift. Managed by CFS, the Sayang Sayang Fund has since ballooned to over $9.6 million and supported more than 359,302 people in the Republic. 

Her law firm, too, has stepped up. With many of its staff working remotely via laptops, TSMP is donating unused desktops to the needy. The firm, which sets aside 10 per cent of annual profits for charitable giving, has been sponsoring meals and care packs for hospital workers. And, in Cheng San-Seletar constituency — its MP is Nadia Ahmad Samdin, a former TSMP lawyer — its staff have befriended and accompanied seniors to get vaccinations. 

This hands-on volunteering is in addition to the pro bono work the firm does. All its lawyers are encouraged to do 25 hours per year, to improve access to justice for the under-served. The firm takes a special interest in cases where migrant workers are treated badly and works with groundup initiatives such as Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics, Transient Workers Count Too and It’s Raining Raincoats

Yuen Thio, who was an advisory board member for the NUS Centre for Pro Bono & Clinical Legal Education from 2018 to 2020, recalls a tea that TSMP organised for foreign domestic workers. “We talked about their rights. And so many of them cried because nobody had ever looked at them with much humanity,” she says.

The Law Firm That Gives

The firm has also established the TSMP Law Foundation to allow more structured giving, something Yuen Thio is hoping to prod more wealthy Singaporeans into doing. With husband Thio Shen Yi, who co-founded TSMP with his mother, the couple has created a #GivingBack Foundation through CFS, which helps individuals set up and manage funds and grants. The foundation also works with over 400 charity partners in Singapore. 

Through these plans, she hopes philanthropy will be less ad hoc and will become more a part of the Singaporean DNA. As part of their legacy gifting outreach, for instance, CFS is encouraging everyone to leave something in their wills to charity, be it properties, equities, art or wine. But beyond that, she wants Singaporeans to start on their philanthropic path earlier in life. 

“Charity should start early and not only after you die,” says Yuen Thio. CFS can help set up foundations within as little as 24 hours and is reaching out to the well-off through private bankers and family offices. 

She also advocates getting the next generation involved to further institutionalise giving. “The tragedy of this generation is a sense of purposelessness. There are too many safety nets,” reckons Yuen Thio, who has a son studying in London. 

However, she notes that the youth of today also have an altruistic streak and can be swayed by causes such as climate change and social inclusion. Their motivations, compared to “my generation whose goal was to make money first”, will undoubtedly shape the future of philanthropy.

What is also firing her up at the moment is how women are reshaping philanthropy. She describes the no-strings attached, big-ticket giving by MacKenzie Scott, ex-wife of Amazon tycoon Jeff Bezos, as inspiring. In her opinion, “…Women are more concerned about impact, not control. We look at needs and, in my experience, are much more ready to open our wallets when a cause resonates with us. We tend to give from the heart, men from the head. Men are less emotional, they think of data and longevity of legacy,” she says.

Another generous giver is Melinda French, the ex-wife of billionaire Bill Gates. Both Scott and French are donating to causes that empower women and boost education — things that Yuen Thio believes could turn the tide for gender equality. Reflecting further on how these women have come into their own after their divorces, she says, “Sometimes, when the wife has lived in the shadow of her husband, you need a marriage to break down for a woman to really shine.” 

Strength in Solitude

For herself, she has found solo travel to be empowering. Yuen Thio embarked on her first one three years ago and chose Beirut. “I had never lived by myself or had my own space. I wanted to feel how it was to be my own person in the world, out of my comfort zone,” she says.

Armed with her telephoto lens, the photography enthusiast made her way to the Lebanese capital and was thoroughly struck by the city’s contrasts. A memory of the bombed-out Holiday Inn rubbing battered shoulders with the palatial Intercontinental Phoenicia stands out for her, attestation to the resilience and durability of the human spirit.

Women, more than men, face a higher incidence of gender-based abuse on the internet such as cyberstalking, trolling and violent threats, and teenage girls are even more vulnerable. We need to take a stand. It’s time the community took control.

When she turned 50, she packed her bags for a solo trip to Bordeaux and then to Auschwitz-Birkenau. She chose the wine region in the southwest of France because she speaks French, and the concentration camps in Poland to try and comprehend the past. “I wanted to understand human history,” she says, adding that we shouldn’t run away from confronting terrible things. Walking through the extermination chambers, she was shaken by the banality of evil. “I remember thinking, ‘This is what evil feels like. It creeps up on us.’” 

Covid-19 has halted her travels, both for work and for leisure, but it has also given her time to slow down, connect more, write more. 

“I’ve always liked writing,” says Yuen Thio, who spent one holiday during her university days as a cub reporter for The Straits Times Life!. Whether advocating for clients, the under-served, or simply musing on an issue that moves her, Yuen Thio makes an impact with her inimitable, eloquent voice.

If you would like to begin your journey of giving back, get in touch with us.

This article was originally published in A Magazine here. Permission required for reproduction.

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Opinion

Speech by Grace Fu, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth at CFS’s 10th anniversary celebrations: Working together to build a caring Singapore

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Grace Fu delivering speech at podium to audience.

Mr Laurence Lien, Chairman, Community Foundation of Singapore
Ms Catherine Loh, CEO, Community Foundation of Singapore
Distinguished Guests
Ladies and Gentlemen

It is indeed my great pleasure to be here today. First, I would like to congratulate the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS) on its 10th anniversary. Throughout the past decade, CFS has done excellent work in raising funds and giving out grants, as well as in inspiring and enabling giving in Singapore. This is in no small part due to the generosity and hard work of staff, donors and partners. I’d like to express my gratitude and to commend all of you for your contributions. CFS was first started during the tumultuous period after the global financial crisis, and conversations about donations must have been difficult. Nevertheless, under the stewardship of Laurence, Catherine and Stanley, CFS has really grown over the years. Once again, thank you so much!

Philanthropy has played an important role in Singapore’s history
Philanthropy has always played an important role in the history and development of Singapore. In fact, records of philanthropy in Singapore go back to as early as the 1800s when immigrants came to this country in search of opportunities. Notable philanthropists such as Lim Nee Soon, Tan Kah Kee, Syed Mohamed Alsagoff and Govindasamy Pillai have responded to the needs of their times. These are early pioneers who have very selflessly and generously helped their communities. They helped to build up Singapore in the pre-war years, rebuild it in the post-war years, and worked alongside the government to develop our infrastructure after independence.

Today, it is just as crucial to build a culture of care and contribution. We live in an increasingly complex and dynamic environment. In many developed countries, socio-economic challenges have bred distrust and grown uncertainty. Terrorism continues to be a global threat. Within our region, exclusivist trends are rising, and societies are becoming increasingly polarised. At the same time, technology is disrupting nearly everything, from industries and jobs, to the way we live, to the way we do business and interact with one another, to our social hierarchy. Singapore is not immune to such threats and challenges, especially when we are so diverse as a people. So when we care and look out for one another, when we have that relationship that is beyond the transactional but instead comes from within the heart and is genuine, we will be better equipped to stand together in times of crisis.

Government support for philanthropy
There is already a strong support infrastructure for philanthropy to thrive. The Government gives tax deductions for donations to charities. There are matched-funding initiatives that have spurred more giving by individuals and corporates; for example, MCCY’s Cultural Matching Fund which supports giving to arts and culture, and the One Team Singapore Fund, which supports high performance sport.

The Government is also committed to developing a well-governed and thriving charity sector, with strong public support. In January this year, the Parliament passed the Charities (Amendment) Bill, which seeks to strengthen governance of fund-raising in response to trends in charitable giving.

As Singapore’s only community foundation, CFS plays an important role as a bridge between local communities and the larger charitable ecosystem. Beyond just encouraging cheque-book donations, CFS has connected donors with organisations that support their cause. For example, 71-year-old Mr Govind Bommi felt an affinity for the eldercare sector. Through CFS, he was connected with Metta Day Rehabilitation Centre, which provides rehabilitative care for elderly beneficiaries from all races and backgrounds. He then set up a fund to support the Centre, and continues to volunteer there today.

Closing gap between aspiration and participation
But there is more we can do for Singapore to be a more caring society. The Individual Giving Survey conducted by the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre (NVPC) showed that although the total donation amount to organisations has grown over the years, the overall rate of donation* has declined, with 3 in 4 donating in 2016, compared to 9 in 10 a decade ago. However, among the non-donors, 1 in 3 said they are likely to donate in future. Similarly, in the volunteering space, there is high propensity among non-volunteers to volunteer in future.

We want to close this gap between aspiration and participation, and unite Singaporeans through a common culture of care. This is the basis for SG Cares, a national movement for us to better support one another in making Singapore a caring society through giving, through volunteering, and through acts of kindness. By bringing together partners across the people and private sectors, SG Cares enables the building of capabilities across organisations to grow opportunities for contribution. SG Cares also better equips individuals and organisations who want to give back, and connects them with suitable opportunities to do so. So it’s very much an encouragement and a call to action. But more importantly, it’s about building the infrastructure, platforms, connections and capabilities within the sector.

The work at CFS contributes to SG Cares, because an impactful philanthropy landscape is a hallmark of a caring society, where those with resources give back effectively to help those in need. Collaboration is the way to go, and donors today are taking more initiative, and seeking more meaningful engagement opportunities. CFS is well positioned to seize these opportunities and provide the platforms. For example, the Colabs series by CFS and NVPC brings together givers, non-profits and sector experts to build insights and co-create solutions together. This not only encourages more collective efforts that deliver impact, but also deepens the knowledge base to guide donors to areas of needs. It also improves the design of programmes and how volunteers are involved, to better serve the community.

Caring involves all of us
The making of a caring Singapore involves and requires all of us – the government, non-profit sector, businesses and individuals – to work together to find solutions and demonstrate care and compassion for our community. With this shared sense of responsibility, we stand a better chance in riding out the waves of global uncertainty and disruption. By caring for one another, we foster resilient communities that stand together in both good and bad times.

To conclude, I would like to leave you with the words of Winston Churchill: “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”

Once again, congratulations to CFS on your 10th anniversary! And once again, thank you for your contributions and I hope you will continue to inspire others with your efforts and actions. I’m sure there will be greater capacity for CFS to grow. Thank you.

Grace Fu
Minister for Community, Culture and Youth

*Through both formal and informal means.

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The competition was organised by City Harvest Community Services Association and received support from FUN! Fund, a Community Impact Fund jointly established by the Community Foundation of Singapore and the Agency for Integrated Care, with the aim of addressing social isolation among the elderly.

Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Communications and Information & Ministry of National Development Mr Tan Kiat How attended the event. He encouraged the elderly to stay physically and mentally well, as well as urging them to participate in community activities and enjoy their golden years together.

Learn more about FUN! Fund at https://www.cf.org.sg/fun-fund/.

 

The programme provides the children with a non-threatening platform to connect with peers and have positive conversations. In addition, it exposes them to different people who can assist to broaden their perspectives.

L.S., a volunteer with the Reading Odyssey programme @ Spooner Road

中心“常胜将军”胡锦盛:比赛限时反应要快

现年92岁的胡锦盛是最年长的参赛者。自2017年退休后,他几乎每天都到活跃乐龄中心报到,从此爱上了玩拉密,每次可玩上三个小时,在中心是“常胜将军”。

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News

The Straits Times: The new philanthropists in town

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A man seated on a stool against a vibrant wall, exuding a lively ambiance.

by Theresa Tan, 26 June 2016

There is also a growing number of donors who have started charitable funds parked under groups like the Community Foundation of Singapore and the SymAsia Foundation. Both charities manage their donors’ funds and disburse them to each donor’s chosen causes, thus saving the donors the cost and effort of starting their own foundation. A sum of at least $200,000 is required to set up a charitable fund with the Community Foundation, and 82 funds have been formed since it was set up in 2008.

…..Also giving to a specific cause are Mr and Mrs William Bird. They pledged $1 million, through the Community Foundation of Singapore, for outings for frail seniors to attractions such as Gardens by the Bay and the zoo. Mr Bird, a Briton who is now a Singapore citizen, is 70 years old. He made his money from the logistics business. His and his wife Mary have three grown-up children.

While visiting some elderly people whom they helped, the couple realised that such seniors felt lonely and isolated, as they were unable to go out. Mr Bird says: “We were affected by the fact that the seniors had such a poor quality of life, and thought more could be done for them to enjoy the golden times of their lives.”

Each year since the Outing for the Elderly Fund was set up in 2010, about 1,600 elderly people a year have benefited. They especially love to visit supermarkets, where they are given $20 to buy whatever they want.

Mr George Phua, a 79-year-old resident of the Ling Kwang Home for Senior Citizens, was taken to a Giant supermarket last month. He was delighted to buy his favourite coffee and chocolates. He tells The Sunday Times: “It’s wonderful.”

Read more

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The competition was organised by City Harvest Community Services Association and received support from FUN! Fund, a Community Impact Fund jointly established by the Community Foundation of Singapore and the Agency for Integrated Care, with the aim of addressing social isolation among the elderly.

Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Communications and Information & Ministry of National Development Mr Tan Kiat How attended the event. He encouraged the elderly to stay physically and mentally well, as well as urging them to participate in community activities and enjoy their golden years together.

Learn more about FUN! Fund at https://www.cf.org.sg/fun-fund/.

 

The programme provides the children with a non-threatening platform to connect with peers and have positive conversations. In addition, it exposes them to different people who can assist to broaden their perspectives.

L.S., a volunteer with the Reading Odyssey programme @ Spooner Road

中心“常胜将军”胡锦盛:比赛限时反应要快

现年92岁的胡锦盛是最年长的参赛者。自2017年退休后,他几乎每天都到活跃乐龄中心报到,从此爱上了玩拉密,每次可玩上三个小时,在中心是“常胜将军”。

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News

Sayang Sayang Fund: new initiatives

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John Doe
A younger Man teaching an woman how to use a smartphone.

The Community Foundation of Singapore today gave an update on the fund raising efforts for the Sayang Sayang Fund (SSF) and announced new initiatives that the Fund will support. One of these initiatives is an extension of the previously announced SeniorsOK@Home programme – CapitaLand #LoveOurSeniors – in collaboration with the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC). CapitaLand Hope Foundation will be donating $700,000 towards this new programme. This will be on top of the $3 million goal CFS has set earlier.

Todate, SSF has received $1.1 million in donations and pledges of about $1 million. The Fund is still a distance away from the goal it set for end April. As the COVID-19 pandemic escalates, there are new needs emerging from the community and the funds raised will allow the Sayang Sayang Fund to address emerging needs quickly.

Chief Executive Officer of the Community Foundation of Singapore, Ms Catherine Loh, said, “Singaporeans have been very generous and we are so touched and grateful that many donors – individuals and corporates — have come forward to donate when they hear about the Fund. I would like to encourage everyone else to come together and support the Sayang Sayang Fund, to meet the gaps in the community.

UPDATE ON INITIATIVES

1. SeniorsOK@Home
SeniorOK@Home will provide for immediate aid like food, necessities and medical supplies to seniors with limited mobility and confined at home. It also provides for digital solutions, such as video conferencing, and online recreational activities for seniors at home, to minimise social isolation. For centre-based charities who are providing essential services, CFS is funding disinfection and sanitisation of premises, as well as additional manpower to maintain the standard and quality of care for the seniors.

2. CapitaLand #LoveOurSeniors
With the rise of cases from nursing homes, the Sayang Sayang Fund has curated an extension to SeniorsOK@Home – the CapitaLand #LoveOurSeniors. CapitaLand Hope Foundation will be donating $700,000 towards this new programme, which will support community care providers with personal protection equipment and disinfection of the premises if there is a confirmed case of COVID-19. The contribution will also go towards a preparedness fund: to keep the vulnerable seniors engaged, as well as to appreciate the hard work and dedication of community care staff. AIC will be executing the programme.

3. SafeSleep@Home
Given the rapid increase in cases, there is also urgent concern for the rough sleepers in Singapore. The 2019 homeless survey published by the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy indicated that there are about 1,000 homeless persons living in the streets. They are now all at-risk and need to find immediate shelter during the circuit breaker. SafeSleep@Home is an initiative to aid 500 rough sleepers find temporary lodgings, daily necessities and food supplies.

About Sayang Sayang Fund

The Fund provides care and support for vulnerable communities impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. By convening the community and acting together, the Fund can help community partners move their essential work forward in this critical moment and support the individuals and families hit hardest by the impacts of COVID-19 and associated containment efforts.

The additional $3.7 million the Fund hopes to raise will support local charities and non-profits whose programmes and proposals meet three key objectives:

1. Provide emergency response funds that enable immediate and short-term relief for individuals and families from marginalised communities adversely affected by the COVID-19 situation.
2. Provide innovation solutions and research that address current and emerging needs to combat the COVID-19 situation.
3. Build capabilities for charitable organisations so that their clients can continue to access essential support and assistance during the COVID-19 situation.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit dolor

The competition was organised by City Harvest Community Services Association and received support from FUN! Fund, a Community Impact Fund jointly established by the Community Foundation of Singapore and the Agency for Integrated Care, with the aim of addressing social isolation among the elderly.

Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Communications and Information & Ministry of National Development Mr Tan Kiat How attended the event. He encouraged the elderly to stay physically and mentally well, as well as urging them to participate in community activities and enjoy their golden years together.

Learn more about FUN! Fund at https://www.cf.org.sg/fun-fund/.

 

The programme provides the children with a non-threatening platform to connect with peers and have positive conversations. In addition, it exposes them to different people who can assist to broaden their perspectives.

L.S., a volunteer with the Reading Odyssey programme @ Spooner Road

中心“常胜将军”胡锦盛:比赛限时反应要快

现年92岁的胡锦盛是最年长的参赛者。自2017年退休后,他几乎每天都到活跃乐龄中心报到,从此爱上了玩拉密,每次可玩上三个小时,在中心是“常胜将军”。

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News

Tertiary-educated adults with autism receive training for jobs in engineering sector

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John Doe
A woman diligently operating a computer amidst the bustling environment of a factory, focused on her tasks.

Tertiary-educated adults with autism are being trained and placed in jobs in the engineering sector under a new programme by research and technology non-profit organisation Trampolene.

The Gates (Growing Autistic Talent for Engineering Sector) programme was started in May 2022, after research showed that people with autism have one of the lowest employment rates among people with disabilities.

Those with tertiary qualifications also face underemployment owing to a high entry barrier for higher-skilled jobs, said Trampolene chief operating officer Cheok Xue Ting.

Ms You Kai Xuan is among 42 graduates of institutes of higher learning enrolled in the programme. She was unable to secure internships as part of her studies at the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) as companies told the school she was unsuitable.

The 22-year-old, who has a Nitec in infocomm technology, is working full-time as an assembly technician at precision manufacturing company Grand Venture Technology (GVT).

Young adults with autism lack executive function skills, such as planning and time estimation.

Ms Hillary Lim, who works for Trampolene as a senior job coach, helped create a timetable for Ms You. It details specific duties she must undertake. For example, it says Ms You has to test iron bars for 90 minutes from 8.30am, and “pack silver things in plastic bags and paste stickers on the bags” between 10.15am and 11.40am.

Ms Lim also held Ms You’s hand during the coaching to show her how much strength was needed when using a torque screwdriver.

Ms You needs the timetable to pace herself and manage her time. When she started working in 2022, she tired herself out before lunch as she exerted too much strength on simple tasks.

“At first, I was nervous as I was new to the environment. But I am comfortable with the supervisor and colleagues now. They guided me patiently on the tasks, and were caring and willing to help.”

The Gates programme is the first to be supported by Temasek Foundation under a pay-for-success model.

The $340,000 committed by upfront funders will be repaid if trainees stay in a job for nine months and other outcomes of job training and placement are achieved.

In this funding model, foundations, financial institutions and corporations provide upfront capital to organisations like Trampolene to serve their beneficiaries.

Outcome funders such as the Government repay upfront funders only if the project achieves outcome targets.

Ms Cheok said the pay-for-success model focuses on retention rate, an issue among young adults with autism, who tend to leave their jobs after six months.

Before the job placement, Trampolene assessed Ms You and found her suitable for hands-on work.

Ms Lim also briefed Ms You’s colleagues on how she communicates, telling them that they need to repeat or simplify instructions.

She told them they can also break down the work into small steps and share her responsibilities.

GVT chief executive Julian Ng said one of the main challenges the company encountered was communication. Some staff with autism take what others say literally and have trouble understanding abstract concepts.

For example, Ms You’s colleagues will say “I’ll get back to you by a specific time” rather than “I’ll get back to you later”.

“This improves communication for everyone in the workplace,” said Mr Ng. The company has about 150 employees at its Singapore headquarters, including three with special needs.

Trampolene also works with organisations to redesign the recruitment process and job role. With GVT, it advised the company to use work assessment instead of conventional interviews.

To match trainees with employers, Trampolene conducts tests for specific skills employers are looking for, from motor skills to data entry and quality control.

It then selects trainees able to perform the tasks, said Ms Cheok.

She said Trampolene also considers work planning, hygiene and safety awareness, and sensory challenges.

If a trainee is affected by high-frequency noises even with earplugs on, for example, he might be more suited to an office job than engineering.

Trampolene is aiming to train 70 young adults over 30 months from May 2022.

To date, it has trained 42 graduates with autism and placed 18 of them in jobs, with 13 having stayed with their employers for three months or more.

Aside from Temasek Foundation, some of the other upfront funders are Ishk Tolaram Foundation, Quantedge Foundation and Asia Philanthropic Ventures.

Outcome funders include ECCA Family Foundation and the Diana Koh Foundation through the Community Foundation of Singapore.

Mr Nicholas Tay, who has autism and holds a diploma in pharmaceutical science from Temasek Polytechnic, was hired under the programme as a production worker in ice-cream manufacturing company The Ice Cream & Cookie Co.

He sets up workstations for production, prepares packaging and places products on a conveyor system for printing or metal detection testing.Mr Damian Yip, head of production at the company, said he considered Mr Tay’s basic communication skills, education level and challenges faced at previous workplaces to decide if he was suitable for the role.

Ms Lim said Mr Tay’s main issues are perspective-taking and negative thinking. For example, when the 26-year-old began doing this job, he often felt lousy about himself when he saw others working faster than him.

“A regular person would think, ‘Oh, the person is faster than me because he has been here for a longer time than me, so he is more experienced,’” said Ms Lim.

“However, Nicholas’ thinking was: ‘Oh, that person is faster than me. I have to be as fast, if not I am not good enough to work here.’”

She said Mr Tay’s co-workers often look out for him when he shows signs that he is tired or when work is too difficult for him. They then get him to switch duties, to take the load off him.

But Mr Tay initially thought they moved him because he was not doing a good job.

Ms Lim mapped out Mr Tay’s thoughts and shared with him other possibilities – for instance, that co-workers may move him to other duties because they care about him.

“It helps to widen Nicholas’ perspectives and also lets him try to think in different ways,” she said.

To learn more about the causes CFS supports, please click here.

Source: The Straits Times © SPH Media Limited. Permission required for reproduction

I have always been interested in supporting elder care. But there are many charities doing such work that I do not know of. Through CFS, I learnt about Yong-en Care Centre and having seen first-hand what they are doing, I feel that my money is being well-utilised.

For Yong-en Care Centre, meeting donors face-to-face was a valuable opportunity to deepen their understanding of its unique care model and to engage with them on any questions they may have, says Griselda. In addition, it is also an opportunity to thank CFS donors who have been supporting the charity and build a lasting relationship with them.

CFS assists charities and their underprivileged communities by connecting them with donors who are seeking to support causes and crucial needs that resonate with them deeply.


To find out more about the causes we support, please visit 
www.cf.org.sg/what-we-support/.

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