New centre for all ethnic self-help groups to conduct programmes

A new centre where poor people of all races can attend workshops and enrichment programmes will be set up in Yishun, a collaboration of the four ethnic self-help groups.

Called Self-Help Group Centre, it will organise enrichment programmes for students and parenting workshops, as well as be a space for the different races to bond, Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said yesterday.

DPM Tharman, who is also Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies, announced the centre at an award ceremony for partners of the Chinese Development Assistance Council (CDAC).

The centre will be run jointly by the CDAC, Eurasian Association, Singapore Indian Development Association (Sinda) and Mendaki.

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Such initiatives will help grow the "spirit of mutual support" among the different races, said DPM Tharman.

"These common initiatives by the self-help groups will also help in our efforts to reinforce our Singaporean identity with each new generation, and to build up social resilience in the years to come - in a world where divisive ideologies and political forces are a fact of life," he added.

A pilot centre will be launched initially in Yishun in January before it is rolled out on a larger scale.

BUILDING UP SOCIAL RESILIENCE

These common initiatives by the self-help groups will also help in our efforts to reinforce our Singaporean identity with each new generation, and to build up social resilience in the years to come.

DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER THARMAN SHANMUGARATNAM

While details are being finalised, the four self-help groups said the new centre will offer programmes that are "race neutral".

"Things like parental talks and workshops deal with issues that cut across all races," said Mr K. Barathan, chief executive of Sinda.

CDAC executive director Pok Cheng Chong added that the joint effort would allow the centre to tap the strengths of the different groups.

Danson Cheong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 24, 2017, with the headline 'New centre for all ethnic self-help groups to conduct programmes'. Print Edition | Subscribe