Continue open-minded approach to helping the needy regardless of race, religion: Tharman

Helping the needy regardless of race and religion is an important ethos which Singapore should continue to uphold, said Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam.
Helping the needy regardless of race and religion is an important ethos which Singapore should continue to uphold, said Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam.PHOTO: ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - The Sree Narayana Mission's inclusiveness in helping the needy regardless of race and religion is an important ethos which Singapore should continue to uphold, said Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam on Wednesday night, at a fund-raising dinner for the charity's new building.

Praising the Mission's "ethos of open-mindedness whilst being rooted in whichever community you come from", Mr Tharman added: "Let's carry on with this open and inclusive path to helping people in our society - never parochial, never close-minded, but always looking out for everyone in need, regardless of race and religion."

The dinner, at which Mr Tharman was guest of honour, was part of the charity's efforts to raise $10 million to fund a new building, the Sree Narayana Mission Care Centre.

"This planned new building will allow our Mission to further expand its welfare and social activities to a wider range of our community in need," said the charity's president Shanavas Vijayan.

The charity currently runs a Home for the Aged Sick in Yishun,the Meranti Home @ Pelangi Village for the destitute, and two multi-service centres.

Its new building will feature a free traditional Chinese medicine clinic with physiotherapy and rehabilitation services, a seniors' activity corner, and a caregiver resource centre.

But besides such new facilities, the new building aims to offer integrated services for families of the aged residents of the Mission's Home, from bursaries and mentoring for youth at risk, to family counselling and referral services.

"We believe that our residents, their families and our society will benefit greatly from integrated support, rather than piecemeal help in a siloed manner," said Miss Swapna Dayanandan, chairperson of the Mission's Building Fund Committee.

Before last night's dinner, about $1.8 million had been raised for the new building. The dinner further raised more than $1 million, to be matched dollar-for-dollar by the National Council of Social Services.

At the dinner, Sree Narayana Mission launched a mobile app called Lost and Found, a science-fiction adventure game which aims to promote interaction between youths and the elderly. The dinner also featured a silent auction of five Golden Jubilee platters, donated by Landex (Singapore) and Luzerne. The Mission will hold a Flag Day on Dec 16 to continue raising funds.