Celebrated on 5 December each year, International Volunteer Day celebrates volunteers and recognises their efforts and contributions in building a better world for all. An annual highlight on the SIF calendar, this year’s event was even more special as we celebrated the resilience and perseverance of the SIF’s volunteer community amidst the pandemic.
As part of the celebrations, over 70 Citizen Ambassadors (CAs) and friends of the SIF gathered online to mark the occasion through an immersive virtual experience at one of Singapore’s best kept secrets – the Intan, an award-winning home-based Peranakan museum. Hosted by owner Alvin Yapp, the participants were shown around his home museum, as he shared fascinating stories about the Peranakan culture through his curated collection of antiques, trinkets, and food. Participants also showed up dressed in traditional outfits and creative Zoom backgrounds in the spirit of the event.
The virtual get-together also included an e-networking opportunity amongst the participants prior to the event, as well as a sharing session by Mr Jaryll Chan, SIF Division Director, Programmes. He took stock of the current pandemic, its impact on SIF programmes, and how the SIF’s community adapted to support the work that SIF does to connect communities. For instance, CAs fronting specialist programmes in the healthcare and education sector nimbly pivoted their efforts online, conducting capacity-building workshops and follow-up sessions for their overseas partners and friends.
The Arts for Good community also rallied together, with CAs such as Arts for Good Fellow Sherry Soon leading various local initiatives that supported vulnerable groups and frontline workers who were most affected by the pandemic. Nominated by the SIF, Sherry’s efforts and contributions were recognised at a national level as one of the Leader of Good Award recipients for the National Volunteer And Philanthropy Centre’s President’s Volunteerism & Philanthropy Awards 2020.
It was certainly a celebration of the vibrant community which enables the SIF’s work in bringing world communities together to collaborate and effect positive change.
CA Mr Seluasundram Nagalingam shared, “The get-together was a commendable effort by the SIF to allow friends to reconnect during difficult times. It was great catching up with fellow CAs and I am encouraged to hear about what the SIF and volunteers achieved in the past year.”
A participant and Friend of Singapore from China, Mr Zhou Ji, said, “I thoroughly enjoyed the virtual tour that showcased a side of Singapore that is rarely seen. I had fun learning about the vibrant Peranakan culture and it was especially heartening to hear about the resilience of the Peranakan community, a trait that is more important than ever in today’s climate.”
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