Sinda volunteers honoured for their contributions

Teacher Prema Subramaniam won an award for eight years of volunteering with the Singapore Indian Development Association (Sinda). -- ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW
Teacher Prema Subramaniam won an award for eight years of volunteering with the Singapore Indian Development Association (Sinda). -- ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

SINGAPORE - Teacher Prema Subramaniam is working on a doctorate in business yet still finds time to teach children who need help with reading.

On Saturday, the 62-year-old won an award for eight years of volunteering with the Singapore Indian Development Association (Sinda). She was the only person to win an award in this category this year.

"I love teaching," she said. "We should share our knowledge, especially through education, and education starts with reading."

Ms Prema was one of about 100 people who received awards at Sinda's Volunteers' Tea, a biennial event that honours its volunteers for their contributions to the Indian community.

Some had taken on mentorship roles, or helped out in Sinda's tuition programmes.

More than 6,700 students go through Sinda's tuition programmes every year, while another 3,500 young people are involved in mentorship programmes.

For the first time this year, awards were given out to those who had volunteered for three years, rather than the minimum five years previously.

Explaining the change, Sinda said: "In recent times, the national volunteering trend is changing and volunteers choose to commit for shorter periods of time."

The awards ceremony was attended by Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong, as well as Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam and Senior Minister of State for Law and Education Indranee Rajah.

The latter two are chairman and president of Sinda respectively.

"Whatever our experience of backgrounds, all of us can volunteer," said Mr Wong, who was the guest of honour. "All we need is a big heart to serve."