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i care! Gala Dinner: Minister Desmond Lee’s Speech on 25 March 2023

i care! Gala Dinner: Minister Desmond Lee’s Speech on 25 March 2023


Dr Lim Hong Huay, Chairman of CaringSG
Parliamentary colleagues, Mayor Denise Phua, Senior Parl Sec Ms Rahayu Mahzam and Ms Rachel Ong
Dr Gerard Ee, Chairman of the Charity Council and Agency for Integrated Care
Board members and advisors of CaringSG
Distinguished guests, colleagues,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

1. Good evening.

2. It is a great pleasure to be among partners, volunteers and well-wishers who are passionate about supporting caregivers in our community.

3. Caregivers are the first line of support for their loved ones.

4. They are the unsung heroes – devoting their time, energy and attention towards caring for their loved ones, without asking for anything in return. But often, sacrificing many of their own life goals.

5.The 2018 Quality of Life (QOL) of Caregivers Study conducted by the National Council of Social Service (NCSS) showed that caregivers took pride in caring for their loved ones and understood the importance of their role.

6. Yet even the strongest individuals need support.

7. More than one in two caregivers surveyed in the study reported that they were “burdened” or “barely coping” and almost half were journeying alone in their caregiving responsibilities.

8. Caregivers need a strong support ecosystem to relieve some of their burden, and help them sustain.

9. Over the years, the Government has enhanced our support for our caregivers, with a range of initiatives under the Caregiver Support Action Plan and the White Paper on Women’s Development.

10. We will also provide more help to ease caregiving costs, with an enhanced Home Caregiving Grant in 2023.

11. Strengthening families is a whole-of-society effort.

12. I am encouraged to see strong community support arising from the work of the Alliance for Action (AfA) for Caregivers of Persons with Disabilities, which is spearheaded by NCSS and SG Enable.

13. One of the projects supported by the AfA is Project 3i, CaringSG’s very first initiative, which aims to strengthen community support for caregivers of persons with disabilities and special needs.

14. Project 3i’s programmes – CAREconnect, CAREbuddy and CAREwell – focus on building a community of support around caregivers, and equipping them with caregiving knowledge and skills.

15. I am very glad to learn about the progress of Project 3i since I attended its launch just over a year ago.

16. Let me share a little more about CAREconnect today.

17. CAREconnect aims to make caregiving a less lonely journey:

a. Caregivers are connected to a support group, where they can receive support and care from fellow caregivers.

b. In addition, they pick up caregiving knowledge and skills through physical forums, webinars, and online resources organised and developed by CaringSG.

18. To date, CAREconnect has reached out to 2,800 caregivers through its events and connected 1,200 caregivers to support groups.

19. These numbers show that the efforts are bearing fruit, and the good news is that we have more hands on deck to help grow the network.

20. CAREconnect brings onboard grassroot volunteers and leaders as CAREkakis, training them to give better support and interact with caregivers and families of persons with disabilities and special needs.

21. CAREkakis & CaringSG volunteers also go on home visits, organise inclusive community events, and form workgroups to develop longer term community plans to support vulnerable caregivers.

22. CAREkaki training has been piloted in two areas – Boon Lay and Kampong Glam.

23. Today, I am happy to announce that the CAREkaki programme and CAREconnect physical events will be scaled up to three more districts – Nanyang, Telok Blangah, and Bukit Batok East.

24. These achievements by CaringSG are only possible because everyone here has put in so much commitment and energy.

25. Many of you are also caregivers. My deepest appreciation to all of you who have been involved in sharing your time and expertise to uplift the lives of caregivers in their journey. You embody the SG Cares spirit.

26. We have also been engaging a broad range of Singaporeans as part of the Forward SG exercise, and have heard many speak of their desire to forge an inclusive and caring Singapore. I am glad to see this strong desire to give back.

27. As we continue to refresh our social compact, and in the spirit of the Year of Celebrating Social Service Partners, I look forward to stronger partnerships among all our important stakeholders and volunteers in the years to come.

28. Thank you.

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i care! Gala Dinner: Dr Lim Hong Huay’s Speech on 25 March 2023

i care! Gala Dinner: Dr Lim Hong Huay's Speech on 25 March 2023


Minister Desmond Lee
Mayor Denise Phua
Parl Sec Ms Rahayu Mahzam
Ms Rachel Ong, Advisor from Telok Blangah
Dr Gerard Ee, Chairman of the Charity Council and Agency for Integrated Care
Board members and advisors of CaringSG
Distinguished guests, colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good evening. Thank you for joining us at CaringSG’s “i care!” Charity Gala Dinner. Your presence tonight is an immense encouragement to the team at CaringSG, and I believe to all the caregivers and families of persons with disabilities.

In 2021, CaringSG was born out of the fire of COVID pandemic. Despite the unprecedented challenges we faced, I am deeply grateful that when we caregivers stepped forward, YOU, came behind us.

For the Project 3i pilot programs, the CAREconnect, CAREbuddy and CAREwell, we received strong support from the Temasek Foundation, NCSS, and the Enabling Lives Initiative (ELI) Grant funded by Tote Board, managed by SG Enable. Project 3i is also the key pilot project under the SG Together Alliance for Action for Caregivers of Persons with Disabilities, formed by NCSS and SG Enable.

In addition, we matured as a charitable organization through the support of the Majurity Trust’s Maybank Momentum Grant, the Tan Ean Kiam Foundation, the ONERHT Foundation, Micron Technology, William Blair International and many generous donors and supporters. Many of you are here among us today. We are now an Institution of Public Character.

CaringSG is here today, because you believe in caregivers, you believe in a Singapore who says “i care!” Thank you for caring together with us!

As we exit the pandemic and settle into this new era of Caring Together, I am excited to share that the CaringSG team has lined up amazing new programs this year.

To name a few, we will be scaling up our flagship Project 3i programs to reach more caregivers and better support them. We will also be launching the STEP ONE program in July. This is a training and support program for new caregivers of young children with developmental needs.

It is funded by SG Enable, and we aim to reach 400 caregivers in 1 year. The program will provide caregivers with knowledge and skills about early intervention, so that they are better equipped to help their children develop and grow. This will help more caregivers to be more effective as equal and collaborative partners with the early intervention teams for their children.

In addition, the STEP ONE program will connect caregivers to other caregivers through support group sessions. In addition to STEP ONE, in November’s caregiver month, we will re-start our signature CAREcarnivals again. The first CAREcarnival at Enabling Village was a huge success in 2019 before the pandemic hit us.

This November, we will be collaborating with the Agency for Integrated Care, the National Council of Social Service and SG Enable to organise a National CAREcarnival and Conference. So stay tuned to our CaringSG channels as we will have more exciting news for you!

For now, let me bring you back to tonight’s exciting program! To help us to care for more caregivers and their loved ones, the “i care!” campaign aims to raise $500,000 by 31 March. So tonight, we really need you to be extra extra extra generous.

The CaringSG team has put together a wonderful program for you tonight. I am sure you have enjoyed the piano recital by Dr Patrick Ang in the Auction gallery during the cocktail earlier, and the heartwarming opening performance by our Very Special Choir. Please give Dr Patrick and the VSC families another round of big applause again!

In addition, tonight you will also enjoy a guitar duet, vocal solo, guzheng and piano duet lovingly put together by our CaringSG youth, families, and friends. In between the performances, we will also have lucky draws with big prizes generously sponsored by the Carlton Hotel, so please remember to drop your lucky draw tickets in the box if you have not done so.

There’s also something exciting happening in silence behind the stage! That’s our Silent Art Auction. I am sure you have seen the amazing artworks displayed outside the gallery. If you have not done so, please feel free to pop out to have a good look and put in your bid either through the online bidding form or the hardcopy form available at the auction desk in the gallery.

Each of these specially curated art pieces is the one and only unique piece of its kind. You cannot find them anywhere else and there is no reproduction. They have been generously donated by our artists, whom you can read more about in our Project i care! microsite. Please support and bid generously. Winners will be invited to take pictures with our guest of honor, Minister Desmond Lee and artists at the presentation later.

Last but not least, if this is still not enough to show how big your hearts are for caregivers of special needs children and people with disabilities, please donate through our “i care!” campaign page. You can also donate via cheque donation.

Please feel free to scan the QR codes on your table to access the gala dinner microsite, auction, and donation information.

Last but not least, thank you for being part of this “i care!” family. Please enjoy yourselves thoroughly tonight. Let the shows begin!

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