Friday 16 October 2015

Six win President's Volunteerism and Philanthropy Awards 2015

This year, the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre merged both the volunteerism and philanthropy categories, and awards are divided into group and individual categories.
By Chan Luo Er, Channel NewsAsia, 14 Oct 2015

President Tony Tan Keng Yam presented the annual President's Volunteerism and Philanthropy Awards (PVPA) to six winners at the Conrad Centennial Singapore Hotel on Wednesday evening (Oct 14).

The six were chosen from 106 nominations and were honoured for having impacted lives through their generous giving and acts of kindness and compassion, on top of inspiring many around them to care for the less fortunate.

This year, the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre merged both the volunteerism and philanthropy categories, and awards are divided into group and individual categories.

One of the winners, Ms Fion Phua, won the President's Award for Volunteerism and/or Philanthropy (Informal Group).

Every Sunday at 7.30am, the 45-year-old and her team of more than 50 volunteers knock on the doors of one- and two-room rental flats to deliver porridge to the needy. On top of that, they perform other chores, such as fumigating homes, clearing out bedbugs and helping the elderly to clip their nails.

"We will identify different groups, what are their needs, and we will come back and measure our own ability and we will go on to help them,” said Ms Phua, founder of Keeping Hope Alive. “Take for example, if we come across a family with children and the children have a problem like myopia, because children play with a lot of gadgets. We will arrange for doctors to come down to do an eye check for them."

Ms Phua, who has been volunteering since she was 16, urges people to give time and not just money. She said that's more beneficial for the people they help.

"I want people to come out of their comfort zone and do your best to help the people who need your help, and you are there,” she said. “So I always say, I don't welcome cash, I don't want people to come and give me S$10 or S$1,000 or S$10,000. No, I want you to come down."

Another winner, 76-year-old Mr Ngiam Tong Yuen, shares that sentiment. He won the President's Award for Volunteerism and/or Philanthropy (Senior).

"If you are working with a child or with an older person - just visiting the guy one time with a Christmas present - it doesn't have the same impact as if you see the guy every week, regularly or talk to the person and become a friend and somebody they can depend on for help. I believe that for maximum impact, you need to do it over a long period."

The retiree has been a volunteer for 14 years and is vice-president of RSVP Singapore, a non-profit group of senior volunteers.

They mentor at-risk children from primary school and serve as guides at hospitals and the airport. The organisation also has a training centre which was set up in 2012 to help senior volunteers learn new skills to serve the community.

My congratulations to the 2015 President’s Volunteerism and Philanthropy Awards (PVPA) recipients. The PVPA honours...
Posted by Dr Tony Tan on Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Retired, but keeping busy as a volunteer
Former senior exec wants to kill stereotype that older people are helpless and sick
By Priscilla Goy, The Straits Times, 15 Oct 2015

While most elderly people become less active post-retirement, Mr Ngiam Tong Yuen became the opposite. For about 12 years after retirement, the 76-year-old has been volunteering at RSVP Singapore, an organisation for senior volunteers.

He gives his time as a "senior guide", conducting tours for students at places such as Fort Siloso and the Science Centre. He also trains other senior volunteers.

This year, as a member of RSVP's board, he also helped to organise last month's National Senior Volunteer Month. The campaign aimed to raise awareness of senior volunteerism and attracted about 3,000 sign-ups.

Last night, he was one of six recipients of the President's Volunteerism and Philanthropy Awards, presented by President Tony Tan Keng Yam.

Mr Ngiam's award was in the individual category for seniors above 65. He said: "I want to kill the stereotype that older people are helpless and sick. It is true that older people tend to be sick. But for most of the 20 to 25 years after they retire, they are quite healthy."

He has also volunteered as a mediator at the Tribunal for the Maintenance of Parents, and at groups such as the Institution of Engineers Singapore.

The former director at Exxon Chemical Singapore said: "When I worked, I was in authority, telling people what to do. But when I became a volunteer, I learnt new ways of working with people, like being persuasive."

Besides the award, he had a pleasant surprise yesterday - a cheque for $20,000 for RSVP Singapore, donated by Mr Toh Soon Huat, who won in the individual category for adults (aged 36 to 65).

Mr Toh, 55, who chairs the Sian Chay Medical Institution, a traditional Chinese medicine charity clinic, decided to make the donation within minutes of meeting Mr Ngiam. Mr Toh said: "I was inspired by how he's still volunteering at his age. I think our groups' aims are aligned - we both want to promote good health, even for senior volunteers - so I decided to donate."

This is the 12th year of the awards, organised by the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre (NVPC).

Unlike previous years, there were no separate categories for volunteerism and philanthropy, and the awards for individuals had categories for winners at different life stages - youth aged 15 to 35, adults and seniors. The NVPC said it made these changes as it wanted to inspire people to continue giving throughout their lives.

Legal officer Mohamed Faizal Mohamed Abdul Kadir, 35, won in the individual category for youth. He sets up, and funds, scholarships at his alma maters, Bedok View Secondary and Tampines Junior College.

In the group category, the winners were: CapitaLand; HealthServe, which offers medical help to migrant workers; and Keeping Hope Alive, founded by veteran volunteer Fion Phua. It provides direct help to the needy, such as refurbishing bug-infested homes.

Dr Tan congratulated the winners, saying: "I am confident that our nation will continue to progress in the years ahead as long as we continue to look out for one another and take care of the disadvantaged."

Legal service officer wins President's Award for Youth for volunteer work
He used his law degree to give back to the community through setting up scholarships, workshops and lecturing
By Siti Nur Aisha Omar, The New Paper, 15 Oct 2015

For Mr Mohamed Faizal Mohamed Abdul Kadir, who grew up in a three-room flat in Bedok North, life was not always easy because of his family's tight finances.

Despite this, he graduated with a law degree from National University of Singapore (NUS) in 2005 and, in 2009, earned himself a Masters of Law from Harvard Law School.

And it was the scholarships he received in NUS and his parents' example of giving, such as providing home-cooked food to mosques, that inspired Mr Faizal, 35, to give back to the community in large doses.

His contributions were recognised last night when he received the 2015 President's Award for Youth from President Tony Tan Keng Yam, during the President's Volunteerism & Philanthropy Awards (PVPA) ceremony at Conrad Centennial Singapore Hotel.


Five others also won the award, which honours those who have set benchmarks of excellence in encouraging the spirit of giving in Singapore. The award was given to both individuals and groups. 

On receiving the President's Award for Youth, Mr Faizal, a Legal Service Officer with the Attorney-General's Chambers, told TNP: "I see it as an indicator that I have been able to make some small steps forward to make a difference in the lives of others in the way so many others have made a difference in my life."

About nine years ago, Mr Faizal approached his alma mater, Bedok View Secondary School, and set up the Bedok View Scholarship, which he continues to fund. The scholarship is given to needy students who show promise and have performed well academically.

Mr Faizal set up a similar programme in Tampines Junior College, also his old school, last year.

Since 2005, Mr Faizal has also been contributing to Mendaki Club and served in its executive committee from 2007 to 2011.

In particular, he has been involved in Mendaki Club's Young Minds' Club Program, which provides Malay/Muslim secondary school students opportunities to hone their social and leadership skills and to develop into well-rounded individuals through structured workshops.

Thanks to his legal background, Mr Faizal is a volunteer lecturer and facilitator with the Singapore Mediation Centre, giving mediation, negotiation and conflict resolution training.

Over the years, he has been involved in a variety of training initiatives, including mediation and negotiation courses for students taking the Singapore Bar Examinations and lectures and workshops for mediators in Community Mediation Centres.

Despite his achievements and contributions, Mr Faizal remains modest.

"Giving back is a journey and not a destination and I look forward to being allowed to continue to serve the community and society in the years to come," he said.

President's Volunteerism & Philanthropy Awards 2015

President's Award for Corporate Category


President's Award for Non-profit Group


President's Award for Informal Group

Keeping Hope Alive

President's Award for Youth (Individual)

Mr Mohamed Faizal Mohamed Abdul Kadir

President's Award for Adult (Individual)

Mr Toh Soon Huat

President's Award for Senior (Individual)

Mr Ngiam Tong Yuen

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