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Let us continue to sayang our community

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Young learners sitting on the classroom floor, participating in educational exercises.

We have been overwhelmed by the generous show of support for our community-driven Sayang Sayang Fund; from private individual and corporate donors who donated to the fund directly or set up their own fund-raising pages, we have far surpassed our initial target.

We have given out transportation vouchers to hospitals and polyclinics and are now looking to support vulnerable communities especially impacted by COVID-19’s precautionary measures.

Like the seven thousand children from low-income families who are now at risk from losing access to meals provided in school with the implementation of home-based learning. That is our focus now.

And that is why the Sayang Sayang Fund remains open: to help make sure no one falls by the wayside during this challenging period.

We aim to achieve this by:

  • Supporting community-based emergency response funds for marginalised communities adversely affected by the COVID-19 situation.
  • Providing innovation solutions and research to better combat COVID-19.
  • Building capabilities that support charities’ operational and/or business continuity processes.

Your heart-warming outpouring of love truly brings to life the community spirit of the Sayang Sayang Fund. Thank you for your continuing support.

*The Sayang Sayang Fund is a community impact fund to care for the vulnerable in our community during times of national crises. To support the Fund, please visit giving.sg or email contactus@cf.org.sg.You can also donate via PayNow. All donations above $50 are tax deductible.

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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

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

John Doe
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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Stories Of Impact

Relaxed Fund – helping SAAC clients through horticulture

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Group examining flora in a garden setting.

CFS donor George Jacobs, who created the Relaxed Fund, advocates a vegan lifestyle. Promoting horticulture is his way of championing this, while at the same time helping the clients at the St Andrews Autism Centre (SAAC).

He has funded three Edible Community Gardens (ECG) through the Relaxed Fund: one at SAAC, one at Metta Welfare Association, and one at the Animal Concerns Research & Education Society (ACRES).

The ECG is a unique programme as it involves multiple parties, including the community, and meets both social and environmental needs.

CFS and George visited the ECG at SAAC late last year. The grant from the Relaxed Fund has supported eight planter boxes in two locations at SAAC. The crops grown include: tomatoes, chilli padi, mint, lemon balm, thai basil, rosemary, mosquito plant, xiao bai chai, kang kong, kai lan and brinjal.

The vegetables have been harvested on a quarterly basis while the herbs are harvested as and when there are requests for them. It was also an opportunity for the donor to meet some clients, parents and a community volunteer, and to receive affirmation from them.

“My wife and I wanted to encourage people to eat more plant-based foods, as these foods boost human health and address global warming issues,” said George. “The reason behind the ECG was to give them a sense of vested ownership. If they grow the fruits and vegetables, they may be more likely to eat them. This programme at SAAC also supports the Singaporean government’s 30 by 30 vision, which is to produce 30% of our own food (up from 10% currently) by 2030.

I am very pleased with the great results of the SAAC Community Garden and would like to credit the parents of the clients as well as the community who have all been a supportive part of this amazing effort,” said George.

SAAC currently has about 66 clients altogether. Twenty two of them are on the horticulture programme, although some of the other clients help out on occasions.

Chloe Phua, Senior Coach for Horticulture at SACC, said there have been huge improvements in the clients: “At the start of the programme, they would only do watering and simple weeding, as they used to do for other plants in the premises. Many had tantrums due to the exposure to heat and extreme aversion to dirt. However, the routine of the chores helped them to adjust to the gardening. Now, with very little prompting, the clients are familiar with various stages of the gardening process, from germination through to harvesting. They have also built up their tolerance levels, being able to go through a quarter hour of gardening before washing their hands at a break.”

She added that, overall, the gardening has helped to improve the social skills and capabilities of the clients, who are now able to do gardening together and even go out to the community to deliver their produce.

It was Rosa Quitadamo, a resident of the nearby Villa Marina Condominium, who bridged the gap between SAAC and Villa Marina. Having started her own community garden within the condominium, she had suggested that SAAC sell the produce from their garden to residents in Villa Marina.

Rosa said: ‘’By selling the vegetables they have grown, it gives the clients a sense of value in their gardening. It also raises awareness of autism within the community in a very personal way.’’

Not only that, it instils a sense of pride and responsibility in the clients who work in the ECG. Aloysius has been gardening at SAAC for 18 months, and he is proud to bring vegetables home for his aunt to cook in a soup or for his family to eat with rice.

‘’I enjoy gardening here,’’ he said, with a glowing sense of ownership of his part in the ECG. ‘’I like the watering and the soil preparation,’’ he added, before going on to describe the latter in great detail.

Even the parents of clients who work in the ECG were full of praises for the programme. Aunty Chin and Uncle Joo, parents of client Dwayne Goh, were impressed and amazed by their son’s progress.

Said Aunty Chin, “Dwayne used to be so scared of getting dirty but now, trained by the coaches and regular gardening, he can plant seeds and even do weeding.  I have seen a lot of improvement in Dwayne because of the gardening and am thankful for the support from the donor.”

“Many people with autism connect better through their senses. Gardening speaks to them as it involves many senses, like smell and sight. It has even changed my wife’s diet! She actually doesn’t really like vegetables but because Dwayne brings back what he has grown, she will eat them! I prefer to get the vegetables from here because it is fresher and they don’t use pesticides,’’ added Uncle Joo.

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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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Events

Lunar New Year 2018 – Celebrating a decade of growing giving to impact

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John Doe
a man holding a microphone speaking

CFS’s 10th anniversary celebrations kicked off to a wonderful start with a Lunar New Year lunch on 1 March.

Themed “A decade of giving and gratitude”, the event was a testament to CFS’s journey from a quiet start-up a decade ago to a thriving organisation today.

Attended by some 120 donors, charities and partners, the room was filled with a spirited sense of bonding. In his opening speech, Chairman Laurence Lien reflected on CFS’s beginnings during the 2009 Global Financial Crisis when few prospects wanted to talk about philanthropy. “Surviving the first five years was an achievement,” he expressed, citing the setting up of the Outing for the Elderly Fund and the S R Nathan Education Upliftment fund as early endorsements of CFS’s capabilities.

Striking a poignant note in his last year as CFS’s Chairman, Laurence also left several memorable parting thoughts – from inviting donors to be part-owners of CFS to encouraging all to embrace collaboration through their own donor communities.

There were endless conversations in a convival atmosphere as old ties were renewed and new connections were made between donors and charities. In the spirit of collaboration, Deputy CEO Joyce Teo provided an update on Colabs – an initiative between CFS and NVPC announced a year ago.. Her speech shone a light on Colabs’ objective of tackling social issues by bringing together diverse players and signalled forthcoming initiatives focused on disadvantaged children and youth, persons with disabilities and seniors.

Rounding off the lunch, CEO Catherine Loh thanked donors for their trust in CFS, which has resulted in many donors embracing new and innovative approaches to philanthropy. She signalled CFS will focus on Collaboration, Legacy and Impact to tackle issues arising from a rapidly ageing population, technological disruptions and income inequality. To this end, CFS will build on its strong foundation to help even more donors experience the benefits of committed and sustained giving.

We look forward to the exciting months ahead as we continue to mark this milestone year and drive community philanthropy forward.

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News

The Business Times – Educational giving vital in breaking poverty cycle: Ng Chee Meng

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John Doe
a man standing behind a lectern giving a speech

“Education is a strong driver of social mobility and is critical to breaking the poverty cycle between generations, a point that was made by Minister for Education (Schools) Ng Chee Meng at the sixth annual global Credit Suisse philanthropists forum on Thursday.

This, as educational giving could enable the next generation to improve many aspects of their lives, be it health or income, he said.

“A key reason why giving is important to me is that it supports and creates a virtuous cycle in our society. Those who give become role models to inspire others who may be younger to do the same and over time, this virtuous cycle lends disproportionate influence over long periods of time.”

Simple acts of charity or strategic philanthropy targeting root causes of social challenges would build a more caring and cohesive society for future generations, said Mr Ng.

Governments could support this cycle of giving through the private sector, he said, adding that in Singapore, non-profit organisations advise donors and help match their donations to worthy causes. For example, the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre and the Community Foundation of Singapore have been promoting a giving culture over the years.” Read more.

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