In 2010, YWCA celebrated her 135th anniversary with a dinner at Fort Canning Lodge. The programme included the recognition of past and present volunteers who made significant contributions to YWCA, the launch of a Bursary Scheme to encourage children under our Meals-On-Wheels for Children programme to strive for excellence and the first Bursary Award presentation to those children who met the criteria of the Bursary Scheme.
The third Christmas Bazaar was held and the practice of showing appreciation to our donors with Christmas cakes continued. The 2011 Food Diary was published with the theme of ‘One Pot Dishes’.
Sustenance for Families, a new programme to help the needy was started. It sought to alleviate some of the financial hardships faced by needy families by providing dry rations on a monthly basis. Basic necessities like rice, cooking oil, canned food, milk powder and diapers were distributed to over 500 needy families living in different parts of Singapore in partnership with Realm of Tranquility.
Programmes and activities for the beneficiaries under our Hungry-No-More programmes continued. This included the Cook-Out held as one of the 135th anniversary celebration events, where volunteers planned and cooked one meal for our beneficiaries. With the combined efforts of over 20 volunteers, the cooking and packing of meals for more than 200 persons was completed and delivered.
The Adults Day Care centre was closed due to the high costs of operation.
Fort Canning Lodge enjoyed 92% occupancy in 2010 and its income surplus allowed the YWCA to continue in her community projects. The economy also recovered that year, which brought an increase in the number of guests. As it had been more than 10 years since FCL started operations, upgrades were necessary. Thus, renovations started in the middle of the year.
The renovations of FCL continued in 2011, leading to a decrease of 5% in the income surplus from 2010. External renovation works were carried out, and cracks and water seepage from the external walls were rectified and reconstructed.
The Coffee House at FCL was also renovated and the upgrades included new furniture and fittings, as well as the renaming of the Coffee House to Café Lodge. The Café Lodge reopened for business at the end of December 2011.
The media launch of the Project IngoT Preschool was held at the YWCA Outram Centre in April. Representatives from the Lien Foundation as well as some members of the media attended the launch, which showcased the facilities of the laboratories.
Caring Unit, an extension of Sustenance for Families, was launched. Unlike the Saturday programme, the distribution of dry rations was carried out once a month on weekdays. The dry rations distributed to each family were customised and packed according to their individual needs.
The CARE Programme was introduced in the kindergarten and the child development centres. The purpose of this programme was to inculcate good moral values in the children. Each child development centre had a “CARE” display corner to showcase the children’s drawings, written works and photographs related to the CARE Programme.
Throughout 2011, the regular outreach programmes continued along with the community work of YWCA with her Hungry No More programmes, Financial Assistance Programme and Bursary Scheme. The Cook Out became a popular activity with the Association’s corporate partners.
The Christmas Bazaar was held in December, and was a success with many activities throughout the day. It comprised of over 60 food stalls, handmade goods and performances by the children from the child development centres.
The World YWCA held its quadrennial Council meeting in Zurich, Switzerland which was attended by the then President, Mrs Ma Kheng Min and Board members Ms Janet Tan, Ms Mavis Tsoi and the Executive Director, Mrs Leung Yee Ping. The theme for this Council meeting was ‘Women Creating a Safe World’.
The YWCA continued her growth and community involvement in 2012. The organisation recognised the importance of engaging volunteers and partners to build a greater awareness of our causes, as well as improving the efficient delivery of our services to a wider segment of society. In her 138th year, the YWCA continued to be an active agent of change, and had developed into an established social service agency (SSA) providing a wide range of community services to meet the diverse needs in Singapore society.
The Thank God I’m Female (TGIF) Campaign was a public education effort organised in July 2012 to raise public awareness of prevalent issues faced by young women aged between 13 to 35 years old. Two by-products of this campaign were:
The renovation of the Fort Canning Lodge was completed after work began in 2010. The Lodge was fully reopened in July with all guest rooms and meeting rooms upgraded to offer a new look and better facilities for guests. The external and internal walls were rectified and guest rooms were refurbished with new furniture fittings and furnishings. In addition to the Café Lodge, the main reception counter and courtyard were also renovated. The entire renovations were completed within budget and with minimum inconvenience to guests which was a testimony to the efforts put in by the Fort Canning Lodge Committee, Building Committee, the consultants and staff.
Fort Canning Lodge continued to provide its facilities to churches for their functions and space for Wesley Methodist Church and Living Word Fellowship to carry on with their services to the community.
The Care Programme introduced in 2011 was launched with a jingle competition by YWCA in early 2012 to raise the level of consciousness of the need to care for others at an early age for children at the various centres.
A new community service initiative, Workz-On-Wheels (WOW), was created in 2012 to impart useful life skills to underprivileged children and youths aged between five to 18 years staying at various children’s homes in Singapore. A series of workshops were conducted by volunteers from August to December to unleash the children’s creative abilities. Chen Su Lan Methodist Children’s Home was the first home to partner with YWCA and weekly programmes were conducted for the children.
In addition to YWCA volunteers, there were youth volunteers from the Outward Bound School Alumni who supported the project.
The Cookout event attracted two corporate volunteers – Barclays Bank and UPS, who helped out by organising their staff as volunteers to prepare and cook the meals, which were delivered to the beneficiaries of our programmes.
Over the years, the principals of the child development centres have been upgrading their qualifications by acquiring degrees in Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE). Our principals recognised the importance of professional development to help them gain expertise in child development.
The YWCA welcomed important visitors to their childcare premises at Outram Road. We had a fact-finding visit by Mdm Halimah Yaccob, then Minister of State for the Ministry of Community Development Youth and Sports and delegates from the Office for Women’s Development. The visitors were interested to find out more about the range of programmes and services offered by YWCA at the Outram Centre.
Later in the year, the then Acting Minister for the Ministry of Social and Family Development, Mr Chan Chun Sing, also visited the Outram Child Development Centre to find out about its childcare programme. He also used the visit to announce an additional subsidy for child and infant care services for households with a gross monthly income of $7,500 and below.
Childcare centres implemented a new YWCA curriculum in January across the 11 centres. Lesson plans for all subjects promoting interactive learning and hands-on experiences were provided to all teaching staff, as well as designed and printed worksheets and story booklets for all levels.
The YWCA Youth Centre officially opened on 1 March 2013, featuring a mentoring area, recreational area and kitchenette. Its objective is to reach out to youths aged between 13 to 18 years living within the Outram vicinity, to engage them and help them discover and develop new skills. Styled as a ‘home away from home’, it hopes to serve as a sanctuary for youths to hang out, relax and acquire useful life skills such as cooking and sewing. Workshop sessions on life skills including cooking were held at the Youth Centre with participants from AG Home, Prison Fellowship Singapore and Social Health Growth.
The first standalone YWCA Volunteer & Donor Appreciation Night was organised on 8 November at Fort Canning Lodge’s Sophia Cooke Ballroom. Over 100 volunteers and donors from all walks of life were in attendance.
A total of four Cook Outs were held in 2013, providing 150 meals to MOW beneficiaries with the help of volunteer chefs Ms Anne Loh and Mr Jeremy Nguee. Corporate volunteers from Avnet Asia Pte Ltd and UPS Singapore were also in attendance. One Cook Out event organised by UPS Singapore was graced by the presence of the United States Ambassador to Singapore, Mr Kirk Wagar and his wife Crystal.
As in previous years, the annual Flag Day, Christmas Fair, Senior Citizens’ Lunch and Volunteer Appreciation Dinner were held during 2013. A 2014 Calendar was published for sale.
By end of 2013, YWCA was operating 10 child development centres with over 700 students and one Kindergarten in Outram with over 100 preschoolers. A team of four Curriculum Specialists was formed and was tasked to review the current curriculum and to refine it to suit the needs and strength of our centres’ staff. The team was assisted by Mrs Evelyn Chey, an Early Childhood trainer with a wealth of professional experience in this industry. In the same year, Mrs Loh-Chiam Shock Yuen, a volunteer who is a retired architect, visited the centres to recommend a consistent design and image for all the childcare centres, which would be implemented when the centre was due for cyclical maintenance.
In April 2014, the YWCA House officially opened its doors to young ladies between 18 to 25 years old. Consisting of four dormitory-style rooms with 24 beds, the hostel aims to provide accommodation from young women from children’s and girls’ homes who lack a conducive home environment to return to.
The Preschool Division introduced two main new programmes at the Educational Support Unit (ESU); the Integrated Childcare Programme (ICCP) and External Individualized Cognitive and Behaviour Intervention (ICBI). The former supports children from 18 months to 6 years old who have mild learning challenges whilst the latter is an intervention programme for children from 3 to 12 years old who have learning disabilities.
Workz-On-Wheels (WOW) expanded greatly. The workshops shifted focus and are now primarily focused on developing the emotional health of the children and youth. The Association worked with Chen Su Lan Methodist Children’s Home, AG Home, Prison Fellowship Singapore, Sunbeam Place and Care Club.
By December 2014, Sustenance for Families programme had served over 1,300 families, with the numbers increasing monthly. The YWCA is the only welfare organisation that distributes milk powder and baby diapers to beneficiaries, both items being basic necessities.
The YWCA was pleased to work with her corporate partners, Yellow Pages, Ralph Lauren, Standard Chartered Bank, Lunch Actually, Grundfos and United Parcel Service, from which enthusiastic volunteers participated in the packing and distributing of the dry rations.
The biennial Muzikalthon took place in August 2014.
Popular membership programmes included Aqua Aerobics and Aqua Spin.
The YWCA worked with many corporate partners such as United Parcel Service (SCS) Singapore Pte Ltd, Dell Singapore design Centre, Avnet, Chanel, UTC Aerospace Systems, HSBC, Grundfos, and Cambridge University Press.
By 2014, Cook Outs had become a regular corporate social responsibility and team building programme for companies. Four sessions were held with the participation of 134 volunteers from UPS Singapore benefitting over 300 children and the elderly.
The Preschool Division achieved a milestone, with all the YWCA’s educators holding or working towards a higher qualification in early childhood. Over 75% were accredited with a Diploma in Early Childhood Care and Education.
Under the Joy of Reading programme, a storytelling competition was held in October and provided a platform to foster the children’s love for reading in their early years while boosting their self-confidence in public speaking.
The three Integrated Childcare Programme (ICCP) centres which supported 22 children with special needs. In addition, an occupational therapy programme was provided to children aged two to twelve years with mild to severe special needs, and a Therapy Room was set up with special equipment for this programme.
The Preschool Division was reorganised with the consolidation of the administrative functions at Outram Centre. The Preschool Division was divided into three units – Operations, Administration and Curriculum. Two experienced Principals, Mrs Lucy Lim and Mdm Ho Mee Khuen were appointed as Senior Principals.
The curriculum was further enhanced with the introduction of a new Music Programme called TopNotes!, in collaboration with Our Music Classroom.
The annual events – Senior Citizens lunch and Volunteers Appreciation dinner took place in October and November respectively.
From 2014, instead of giving the long service awards at the Annual General Meeting, the long service awards to the staff of the Association were given out at the Staff Dinner as it was a more meaningful platform for the recipients to be acknowledged amongst their colleagues.
2015 marked the 140th Anniversary of the YWCA. Activities were held throughout the year to commemorate 140 years of service to the community.
A therapy room was set up in March 2015 at the Outram Centre with generous donations from United Overseas Bank, CapitaLand Limited, Lee Foundation, and Mrs Wee Kung Ling. The room is fully renovated and equipped with therapy equipment to serve the children with special needs from low to average income families in our community. It is well-utilised by the Learning Support Educators and the Senior Occupational Therapist to conduct intervention sessions, benefitting a total of 58 children to-date.
Occupational Therapy is a therapy programme introduced by the YWCA Educational Support Unit (ESU) in April 2015. It serves children from age 18 months to 12 years old with disabilities or disorders through a 1-to-1 therapy session, once or twice a week, 1 hour per session. The objectives of this programme are to improve child’s sensory perceptual skills, gross and fine motor skills, motor planning, visual perceptual skills, handwriting skills, behaviour, executive functioning, developmental plays skills and self-care for both functional and educational integration performances in the community. Currently, one Full Registered Occupational Therapist is serving a total of 11 children under this programme.
On 18 and 19 September 2015, YWCA organised a conference on “Person-centredness and inclusive early childhood education”, in particular various early intervention pedagogy and strategies. The conference provided an excellent platform for early childhood special education practitioners to dialogue with researchers in these fields and how the importance of relying on rigorous evidence-based research to enhance the quality of special education in Singapore.
For the past several years, focus was placed on children through the Kids’ Club and Workz-on-Wheels programme. In celebration of the YWCA’s 140th anniversary, the YWCA decided to organize a project to boost the self-esteem not only of the deserving mothers, but of their children as well. This idea evolved into the Empowering Mums project which ran from June to August in partnership with Daughters of Tomorrow. The pilot Empowering Mums project focused on equipping back-to-work mothers from low-income families with the relevant skills they need to be employed. The project targeted motivated women who are actively seeking employment but may face barriers due to their disadvantaged backgrounds.
The project involved first engaging the mothers in a six-week Confidence Curriculum to help them with personal discovery, confidence building and self-presentation skills to make a positive first step towards successful employment. The mothers and their children who needed child-minding by volunteers were transported to the workshops mostly held at the Fort Canning Lodge every Friday and dinner was provided as well so mothers could undergo the workshops with peace of mind. At the end of the workshop series, they were each treated to a sponsored hair and beauty makeover to complete their transformative journey before joining a general career fair.
16 mothers eventually graduated from the pilot Empowering Mums project and were invited along with other low-income general jobseekers from family service centres island wide to participate in the first ever Be Empowered! Career Fair which featured 25 Employment Partners dedicated to hiring with a heart and providing flexible and permanent employment opportunities. These partners came from diverse sectors such as Food and Beverage, Beauty, Hospitality, Crafts and others and underwent a special poverty simulation exercise to better engage them with the realities of journeying out of poverty.
It is hoped that by providing the Empowering Mums graduates with the skills, support and chance they need and nurturing their confidence, they can secure better employment for themselves, becoming empowered to provide for and inspire their families. By creating a network of support for them with community partners, event partners, employment partners and various volunteers and resources, these many helping hands come together to reach out to our mothers and their multi-stress burdens can be better understood and alleviated, giving these women the boost they need to lift their families and enabling their children to have the brighter future they deserve.
The Singapore Pre-school Accreditation Framework (SPARK) aims to encourage pre-school providers to strive for excellence in the development of young children in kindergartens and childcare centres. Launched by the Ministry of Education (MOE) in 2010, SPARK is an accreditation framework that examines 5 core values – Child Our Focus, Leadership with Vision, Professionalism with Impact, Partnership for Growth and Innovation with Purpose.
This year, three of our Child Development Centres (CDCs), namely, Outram CDC, Pasir Ris CDC and Jurong East CDC have applied for the SPARK certification. The SPARK assessors conducted their assessment sometime between July and end September 2015.
Preparation for SPARK assessment has brought about a review and change in the curriculum, resulting in better alignment with the Centre’s long-term learning goals, and its vision, mission and core values. Changes we have endeavoured on our SPARK journey included curriculum refinement, teacher training and numerous sharing sessions between Centre leaders and staff. It is about how processes are put in place to enhance teaching and learning, and how the leadership and management bring the programmes, teachers and resources together.
As part of the drive to keep childcare affordable, the Government introduced a new Partner Operator (POP) scheme in the first quarter of 2015. The scheme aims to support child care operators to keep fees affordable, build capabilities to raise quality, and improve career prospects for Early Childhood (EC) professionals.
YWCA was invited by ECDA in August 2015 to participate in the POP Scheme and the Board agreed to accept the invitation as we are committed to our social mission of caring for our children. This will help to ensure that our services remain affordable for the families, quality is assured and the capabilities and career prospects of our staff are enhanced.
A Gala Concert of all our child care centres was held on 28 October 2015 which showcased the talents of our children. The child care centres performed the story of YWCA from the time when it was first started by Ms Sophia Cooke to the present day.
World YWCA Council Meeting
The 28th World YWCA Council meeting held in Bangkok from 11 to 16 October 2015 was attended by a delegation comprising of the President, the Executive Director and 2 senior staff. The delegates were as follows:-
|Tan Kee Leng
|Leung Yee Ping
|Senior Manager (Services)
|Senior Executive (Services)
The theme of this Council meeting was “Bold and Transformative Leadership: Towards 2035”
The Association continued with her regular community services – Meals on Wheels for the Elderly, for the Children and for the Disabled. The Works-On- Wheels programmes with our partners, Chen Su Lan Methodist Children’s Home, Prison Fellowship Singapore, Sunbeam Place, New Town Primary School, Punggol Primary School continued, to serve the children from underprivileged homes and to build the children’s emotional health. The Sustenance for Families continued with an increasing number of beneficiaries.
The YWCA Hall is scheduled for renovation next year so that more space can be provided for the support the community services and the Cook-Out programmes with our corporate partners.
The 2016 Recipe Calendar was completed and was available for purchase from October 2015.
YWCA House, the hostel for girls aged 18-25 years who have no place to go after graduating from the girls homes, continued. Activities were organised for these girls so that they would feel at home.
Two major events were held in 2015 – the Bazaar on 20 June 2015 which raised over $30,000 and the Flag Day on 15 August 2015 which collected over $85,000. The monies raised will be used for our Community Services.
As at August 2015, YWCA had 76 Life members, 259 Ordinary members and 423 Associate members. The Senior Citizens lunch was held in October and was free for members above 60 years.
Consideration was also given to a review of the Constitution and a special committee was set up under the chair of Ms Anne Chua. At the same time, with the increase in competition in the hospitality industry and the challenges ahead, a special committee on assets management was set up in June 2015 under the chair of Ms Tan Kee Leng to evaluate and explore the use of the assets of the Association, particularly to examine the current and future use of Fort Canning Lodge, as plans to re-develop the neighbouring Park Mall building had been announced which will affect the business of FCL.
On 23 March 2015, the founding father of Singapore Mr Lee Kuan Yew, passed away and his passing was a great loss to the nation. YWCA mourned the passing of Mr Lee at the tribute site set up at Tanjong Pagar community centre and the President, Ms Tan Kee Leng, sent a condolence message to the Prime Minister, Mr Lee Hsien Loong, who acknowledged receipt.
23 March 2015
YWCA of Singapore Letter of Condolence to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong
Dear Prime Minister Lee,
I would like to express my heartfelt condolences on the passing of your beloved father Mr. Lee Kuan Yew. As Singapore’s founding father, Mr. Lee was an extraordinary visionary leader who led Singapore through five decades of sustained success. He will be remembered for his profound and tireless dedication in personally molding our country into the great and prosperous nation that it is today. He was a devoted public servant who truly loved his people and his country.
Mr. Lee will be missed dearly by all but his spirit will live on forever, and the YWCA of Singapore will strive to carry out his legacy in our commitment to touch and transform the lives of the needy in the community.
Together with my Board of Management, YWCA members and all at YWCA, we extend our deepest sympathies to you and your family during this time of bereavement.
Please accept our most heartfelt thoughts and prayers.
May he rest in peace.
Tan Kee Leng, PBM
Young Women’s Christian Association of Singapore
As in the past, our volunteers and donors were appreciated and thanked at a special “Volunteers and Donors Appreciation” dinner event on 27 November 2015.