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NEW UPDATES Asean Affairs   20  January 2014  

Social service sector gets S$250m boost

SINGAPORE: The government has set aside S$250 million in matching grants with the target of creating a S$500-million fund to support the social service sector.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said this at the opening of the Thye Hua Kwan Early Intervention Programme for Infants and Children Centre on Friday evening.

He also said that needy and vulnerable Singaporeans will receive more support from the government in the upcoming Budget 2014, which will be announced in February.

Mr Lee explained that the S$250 million of matching grants, together with funds raised by voluntary welfare organisations (VWOs), are aimed at creating a S$500-million fund under the Care & Share Movement - a national fund-raising and volunteerism initiative.

The Care & Share Movement was formed to commemorate Singapore's 50th birthday next year.

The funds will benefit some 250 VWOs and can be used to build new capabilities.

This includes launching new programmes to help the needy, building infrastructure to serve more beneficiaries and training staff.

Mr Lee said VWOs need to go beyond funding operations, and invest more in long-term capabilities.

He said: "In this way, with the Care & Share fund, VWOs can have confidence that they have the resources and backing to deal not just with immediate needs but their long-term challenges and bigger capabilities. The social service sector can continue to play a valuable role in our next phase of nation-building."

Lee Kim Siang, chairman of Thye Hua Kwan Moral Charities, said: "You need social workers, you need the teachers, you need all kinds of therapists. You need people who can co-relate with the families, help families turn around, talk to the community as well, and making sure that all the services that are there should be there. And this money will be wonderfully utilised by VWOs to do all the wonderful work. "

Community Chest, which funds programmes for 83 charities, said it is confident that VWOs will be able to match the S$250-million donation by the government.

A steering committee will have to work out how to distribute funds, so that smaller charities are not left at a disadvantage.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More






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