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Remarks by Ms Indranee Rajah, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office, Second Minister for Finance and Education at the Launch of We Are Young Singaporeans (WAYS) Carnival on Sunday, 4 August 2019, Potong Pasir Community Club

04 Aug 2019
Mr Sitoh Yih Pin, Member of Parliament for Potong Pasir SMC

Mr William See, Chairman, Calvary Community Care Management Board

Mr Chua Kian Meng, JP, BBM (L) Potong Pasir CCC Chairman

All of you who are here

1. Thank you for inviting me to join you here today. It is a great pleasure to launch the We Are Young Singaporeans (WAYS) Carnival here at Potong Pasir. 

2. I am delighted to see so many of you come together, wanting to build a caring community to support youths and others.

3. Last year, as you know, the Ministry of Education (MOE) announced that we have the UPLIFT taskforce, which is an inter-agency taskforce to strengthen support for students from disadvantaged families, to enable them to reach their true potential. This is something I believe very strongly in. Every individual has the potential to achieve something, and not everyone has the same talents or strengths. The key thing is how do you enable each individual to reach their fullest potential. Some come from better advantaged backgrounds, so it becomes easier for them. Some come from less advantaged backgrounds, and it is more difficult for them. And so, they need some help and that is what UPLIFT is about. To do that, we need volunteers, we need people who are willing to come forward and help. So, at the Committee of Supply debate in March this year, I announced the following initiatives: 

a) Strengthening after-school care and support through school-based student care centres (SCCs) and after-school programmes in secondary schools.

b) Enhancing collaboration between schools and the community.

c) Setting up the UPLIFT Programme Office to drive these initiatives and to coordinate them.

4. What you are doing fits into that framework as well, because what you are doing sits in the community. The community will be doing things that complement what the schools are doing. The child or student gets the structured framework in school, but some of it comes from the community. It may be academic, like reading programmes. But there’s a good part of it that contributes to resilience, that has to do with families, that has to do with knowing just how to behave in society, with other people, because your background doesn’t allow that. These are things we need your help with. Uplifting individuals from different backgrounds can’t be achieved by MOE or the Government alone. It needs the collective effort of schools, community partners, and individuals like yourselves.

5. Community partners like Calvary Community Care (C3) play a very important role in inspiring our youths. By being on the ground and connecting with youths from all backgrounds, you are able to hear their needs, understand their challenges and provide timely support through counselling, mentoring and other interventions. Mentoring is key, because young people do need more of this. Young people do need somebody to talk to, when they have doubts and fears. Young people sometimes may not be able to get all the emotional support and validation that they need at home, in which case having a mentor or a friend can make a world of difference. With C3 doing what it does, together with schools, grassroots organisations, families and their friends, we will be able to nurture support for youths.

6. I am glad to hear that C3’s youth programmes have helped students from age 13 to 20 build resilience, self-confidence and motivation. Your collaboration with schools is very much in line with the UPLIFT spirit and initiatives.

7. I understand that C3 runs not just youth drop-in centres like in St Andrew’s Secondary School but also a community-based youth centre in Potong Pasir CC. Catering to an average of 30-40 students, the youth centre in Potong Pasir CC is strongly supported by Mr Sitoh and CCC Chairman Mr Chua. 

8. I am pleased to announce that a second community-based youth centre will be opened in Marsiling CC later in September 2019, riding on the success of the first. I want to congratulate C3 for its efforts and good work in reaching out to the youths within the community.

9. To every young Singaporean here, I hope you will get a sense of the support network available for you to realise your potential. Today’s WAYS Carnival offers a glimpse of how community partners like Calvary Community Care are committed to building a safe and nurturing space for youths to share their problems, learn from each other’s experiences and thrive in life. And of course, to show their talents as we saw just now. I thought that was a great performance.

10. I want to applaud the volunteers from C3, MSF probation branch, Singapore Association of Mental Health YouthReach, The Boys’ Brigade, St Joseph’s Institution Senior School and the Potong Pasir community for investing in the lives of the youth. Such ground-up volunteerism and active community support inspire more Singaporeans to step forward to care for and look out for one another, which is very much in line with what DPM Heng talked about on SG Together. We are a nation that moves as one. We are a nation that moves, with each other, supporting each other and working with each other.

11. As we celebrate 54 years of independence in Singapore, let us continue to build a society of opportunities for all.