SINGAPORE - More than 3,000 volunteers and partners will be brought together under a single umbrella through the MSFCare Network, which was launched on Monday (Jan 24).
The network will operate as a platform to coordinate family-centric programmes by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) and connect individual volunteers with one another, enabling them to share experiences and advice.
The network's launch on Monday coincided with the annual MSF Volunteer and Partner Awards (MVPA), where close to 400 volunteers and social sector professionals were honoured for their service to the community.
During his opening address at the virtual ceremony, Minister for Social and Family Development Masagos Zulkifli thanked recipients for their contributions and for their efforts.
"Volunteers are essential in our work to build strong, resilient families and to support those in need. Many are good-hearted individuals who take on front-line roles, giving their time to deliver practical care.
"While their roles may differ according to their interests and the causes that they serve, each of our volunteers plays a vital role in nurturing and building lives alongside MSF and our partners, contributing towards our mission to strengthen families in one way or another," he added.
Mr Masagos noted that the MSFCare Network will lay the groundwork for new ideas and solutions that impact those in need.
MSF also launched a MSFCare Network portal, to make it easier for the public to explore volunteering opportunities that match their preferred causes and interest areas.
First held in 2009, the MVPA recognises the commitment and dedication of MSF's volunteers and partners.
This year's awards have the highest number of recipients in a given year to date.
One of the recipients is 85-year-old volunteer court mediator Krishna Veerappen.
A retired civil engineer, Mr Krishna began mediating in 1997. Lawyers who had seen his negotiating skills in settling disputes between developers, architects and others during projects encouraged him to attend a mediation course and become a mediator.
Over the last two decades, Mr Krishna has been a mediator at the Singapore Mediation Centre, Community Mediation Centre, State Courts and Family Justice Courts. He received the Long Service Award at the MVPA ceremony.
"My interest in mediation stems from a desire to guide people to a mutual understanding which works for both parties. Sometimes, people whom I have helped come across me in the street and they appreciate the work I did, even if I may not remember them. That is fulfilling," he said.
Mr Krishna, who has a son and three grandchildren, added: "I take the award in my stride and hope to continue mediating for as long as I can."