August 24, 2018
Opening Remarks by Ms Indranee Rajah, Second Minister for Education at Sharity Day 2018
1. A good Friday morning to all of you! It brings me great pleasure to be here today, and I am happy to be amongst all our young friends. Thank you to Gardens by the Bay for providing this lovely venue to hold Sharity Day 2018.
2. This is a very special year as we celebrate 35 years of caring by Community Chest. Community Chest was started in 1983 to raise funds to support social service organisations, so that those organisations could focus on what they do best, which is caring for and serving those in need.
3. It has also been 34 years since Sharity elephant was introduced to encourage our children to care and share!
4. The Ministry of Education continues to build an education system that caters to different learning needs and interests, empowering every student with opportunities to excel in their own unique ways, and to care for the vulnerable amongst us. We want integration and inclusivity to be at the heart of our education system.
5. That is why Sharity plays an important role through the Sharity Club School Programme for Primary School students. This programme is aligned with the Character and Citizenship Education curriculum to encourage inclusivity and integration of children with special needs. Through resources such as the Sharity Club school initiatives, school assembly tours, resource kits on the Sharity website and animation episodes, Sharity has reached more than 780,000 students since 2015, giving them practical and relevant tips on how they can be more caring and inclusive in their everyday lives.
6. Today, we come together to celebrate each other’s abilities and demonstrate our support for a more inclusive Singapore. Besides our student emcees, also helping to put today’s event together are student packers from Radin Mas Primary School, who packed the event goodie bags which we all receive at the end of this event. We also have performers from Pathlight School and performers and booth facilitators from Punggol Green Primary School. And of course, all the rest of you here who are making a difference by caring and sharing with your new friends today!
7. I would like to take this opportunity to thank our schools and community partners for their valuable contributions. Six primary and secondary schools have exemplified the values of caring and sharing through their outstanding fundraising efforts for the Community Chest - through the Children’s Day Appeal and Youth Day Appeal to support critical social service programmes and service users.
8. It is also heartening to see so many community partners, and friends of different abilities and backgrounds coming together to make today’s event a successful one. This includes volunteers from DBS who are sponsoring students’ meals and helping out as befrienders and booth helpers. Also, not forgetting our volunteers from Kimberly-Clark, MSF, SATS, and Gardens by the Bay itself. Like-minded organisations such as Green Nudge, MINDS and Sensational Play have also stepped forward to provide resources such as special recycling bins, mineral water and a sensory space.
9. Today’s event is made possible by some very amazing people such as Mr Allan Wong, a deaf horticulturist and actor who will be teaching us sign language, Ms Claire Teo, an aspiring dancer who helped with sound design for the musical, Ms Mui Rui Yi, the designer for today’s event, as well as our wonderful co-emcee Rex from Canossian School.
10. Today’s event reinforces an important message – which is that every one of us can contribute through our different talents and abilities.
11. I hope today’s event will inspire all of us to continue this spirit of caring for and sharing with those around us as we build an inclusive nation – not just during this National Day season but every day of our lives.
12. Thank you and I look forward to joining all of you at the exciting line-up of activities!