President Halimah visits Agape Village

President Halimah Yacob chatting with a group of foreign domestic workers at Agape Village yesterday. She also dropped in at the Mamre Oaks day activity centre for adults with intellectual disabilities.
President Halimah Yacob chatting with a group of foreign domestic workers at Agape Village yesterday. She also dropped in at the Mamre Oaks day activity centre for adults with intellectual disabilities.ST PHOTO: JONATHAN CHOO

She mingles with staff and beneficiaries at the four-storey social service hub in Toa Payoh

Domestic helpers, people with disabilities and seniors with dementia were some of the diverse groups that President Halimah Yacob met yesterday at the Agape Village.

She paid a visit to the social service hub in Toa Payoh yesterday, continuing with her series of visits to such organisations since her inauguration last Thursday.

The four-storey building houses 14 member organisations, which provide help in a range of matters, including counselling, legal aid and career coaching. The organisations come under Caritas Singapore, the social service arm of the Catholic Church here.

After mingling with staff and beneficiaries, Madam Halimah said in a Facebook post: "Thank you Agape Village and Caritas Singapore for the wonderful work in providing holistic and coordinated care to those who require support."

One of her stops was the Mamre Oaks day activity centre for adults with intellectual disabilities, which offers exercise programmes and art and craft workshops, among other things.

She also chatted with a group of domestic helpers and was given a demonstration of the skills they picked up during caregiving lessons at the Archdiocesan Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People (ACMI).

An excited Ms Vicky Del Rosario, 44, a domestic helper from the Philippines, said: "We feel excited and proud to see her. Not everybody can see the President!"

ACMI executive director Esther Chia said "opportunities like these mean a lot" to migrant workers who often feel left out.

Agape Village management committee chairman Teo Jin Lee said the different organisations are looking to do more.

ACMI, which has successfully reached out to domestic helpers, is setting its sights on other foreign workers. Meanwhile, Mamre Oaks chairman Geraldine Szeto said the activity centre can accommodate more people.

Madam Halimah, who had called on Singaporeans to join her in building an inclusive society, spent her first week in office visiting the Association for Persons with Special Needs, the Singapore Association for the Deaf, and a senior activity centre run by Thye Hua Kwan Moral Charities.

She also went to the National University Hospital where she interacted with healthcare workers and patients.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 23, 2017, with the headline 'President Halimah visits Agape Village'. Print Edition | Subscribe