Speech By Mrs Lim Hwee Hua, Minister Of State For Finance And Transport, At Charity Carnival 2007 In Aid Of Jamiyah Children's Home, 1 July 2007, 11.00 am At Jamiyah Children's Home, 1 Chin Cheng Avenue02 Jul 2007
Mr. Abu Bakar Maidin, President of Jamiyah Singapore;
Ladies and Gentlemen:
1. I am happy to join you for this fund raising carnival organized by Jamiyah Singapore in aid of its Children's Home.
2. Children are the most important assets of our country. Their welfare and long-term interest are our priority. Hence, we need to nurture and cultivate them so as to help them attain their full potential. Each and every child should be given the opportunity to learn and grow. Hopefully, with the right blend of support and guidance, these children will develop into well educated and socially responsible individuals, contributing to their families, communities and to Singapore.
3. I have three children of my own, and I have experienced the joys of parenthood, caring for them and watching them grow and develop over the years. I also know firsthand how demanding it is to look after them, the amount of attention they need and the energy required to keep up with them as they grow. A strong, stable and supportive family network helps a lot in a child's development.
Helping Disadvantaged Children
4. Sadly, not all children are fortunate enough to have the family support and home environment that they deserve. Some children from dysfunctional families require shelter because their families can no longer provide adequate care for them. Children who are abused, neglected, orphaned or abandoned need society's care and protection.
5. Children are easily influenced by others and tend to be vulnerable through their teen years. Where parental attention and proper guidance are lacking, they can easily become rebellious and come into conflict with the law. But with proper care and guidance, there is hope for disadvantaged children. We can help put them on the right track and help them grow up into responsible adults and contributing members of society.
6. There are currently 20 voluntary Children's Homes that provide residential care for children and young persons in Singapore. Jamiyah Children's Home is one such Home. Since its establishment in 1993, the Jamiyah Children's Home, has diligently undertaken the noble task of caring for disadvantaged children. The Home currently shelters some 85 children, aged 3 to 18.
7. The Jamiyah Children's Home, and other Homes like it, plays an important role in meeting the needs of disadvantaged children by providing them with an education, healthcare, recreation activities, as well as looking after their emotional and mental welfare.
8. I commend these Homes for undertaking the key roles of caring for and guiding disadvantaged children. I hope that in turn the children of such Homes will find the inspiration and motivation to do well in their studies, and become successful individuals and responsible citizens.
A More Cohesive Society
9. I understand that Jamiyah Children's Home currently has Malay, Indian and Chinese children, all belonging to the Muslim faith. Indeed, I am glad to note that the Home welcomes children of not just different races, but different religions as well. I was told that a few years ago, the Home provided shelter to some Christian children for a few months. And in 2005, it sheltered 2 Sri Lankan Catholic girls for 4 months. This is indeed commendable, both from the humanitarian standpoint, but also for its part in helping to foster racial and religious harmony among the children.
10. Equally noteworthy are the volunteers and visitors that the Home attracts. I understand that you have about 50 regular volunteers, comprising professionals, teachers, home-makers and others. Your Home also hosts students from both local and foreign universities on short-term attachments. Significantly, these volunteers and students are of different races and faiths. This exposure and interaction helps to build a sense of community cohesion and bonding in the minds of the young children in this Home. It also enables Singaporeans, and others, to volunteer their time and services to being joy to the needy amongst us. This helps in making us a more caring and cohesive society.
11. The Management, staff and volunteers of Jamiyah Children's Home have spent effort in planning, developing and implementing programmes appropriate for the developmental needs of the children at the Home. Amidst all this, they have found time to put together the Charity Carnival to raise funds for the Home. I applaud their commitment and dedication.
12. I also commend all the donors, supporters and volunteers including the educational institutions and grassroots organizations who have been extending their support to the Home, either by way of donations or by volunteering their time and skills.
13. Finally, I wish you all a fruitful and enjoyable weekend at the carnival. It is a wonderful way to spend the weekend amidst all the happy faces here this morning.
14. Thank you