The Straits Times – PR gives back by boosting senior welfare
After 20 years in this country, which he now calls home and where he was able to start and grow a successful business in water filtration, Mr Govind Bommi thought it was time to give back.
He called his lawyer in 2015, and said he wanted to start his own charity fund.
“My lawyer asked me whether I was ready to put in the time and resources to run my own trust fund,” said the 71-year-old permanent resident originally from Bangalore, India. “He asked me not to rush into it.”
The lawyer asked him to contact the Community Foundation of Singapore instead.
He told the foundation he intended to support eldercare services as he felt an affinity for a sector with growing needs.
“I am also a senior, I feel I can do something.”
Mr Bommi is married to a Singaporean. He came to Singapore more than 20 years ago to work for a multinational and decided to settle down here. He has two children and five grandchildren who are living overseas.
Foundation staff took him around to view nursing homes and rehabilitation centres.
A visit to the Metta Day Rehabilitation Centre in Tampines left an impression. “The centre helps seniors discharged from hospitals get back on their feet. Their work is meaningful,” he said.
In March 2016, Mr Bommi set up a $250,000 fund under the care of the foundation to support the centre.
He has since pledged to increase his donation to $1 million over several years to support programmes run by the centre.
Besides making the donation, he also visits the centre every Thursday morning as a volunteer to keep the seniors company. Having the foundation run his donation fund gives him more time to volunteer at the centre, he said.
“Making a one-time donation is easy, but committing time to volunteering is harder.”
When asked why he volunteers then, he replied with a laugh: “Volunteering is more fun.”
Photo: The Straits Times
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.
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