Puppets, photo album, insurance for babies

Mrs Josephine Teo (seated, far left) joins the families in a mass song and dance activity at the inaugural event at Bishan Active Park yesterday.
Mrs Josephine Teo (seated, far left) joins the families in a mass song and dance activity at the inaugural event at Bishan Active Park yesterday.PHOTOS: DESMOND FOO, PEOPLE'S ASSOCIATION

NTUC arm sets aside $28m as part of PA initiative to celebrate births from 2016-19

All parents with Singaporean children born between last year and 2019 will be invited to a community event, where they will each receive gifts and health insurance worth up to $250.

This is part of a new initiative by the People's Association (PA), called the Embracing Parenthood Movement, to celebrate the birth of new Singaporean babies and work towards a society where marriage and parenthood are achievable and enjoyable, the PA said in a release.

NTUC Social Enterprises - the initiative's main sponsor - has added a year's worth of free health insurance for the children, as well as a parent-child activity book.

For the health insurance and activity book, it has set aside $28 million, spread out over four years, or $200 per child, based on an estimate of 35,000 babies born each year. 

The families present received a new PAssion Baby card personalised with their own family photo from the PA too.

The inaugural event was held at Bishan Active Park yesterday for 50 families from nearby blocks who had babies last year. Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Chan Chun Sing and Mrs Josephine Teo, Senior Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office and the Ministries of Transport and Foreign Affairs, were present.


    • A stuffed toy

    •A storybook with finger puppets

    •A photo album

Mr Chan told reporters he hoped the celebrations will have a more lasting effect after they have ended. He said: "What we want to build is the community of support, so... that many of the parents actually come together."

He added that he saw parents exchanging parenting notes and phone numbers at the event.

Mrs Teo, who is also grassroots adviser to Bishan North, said she hoped such events would help new parents build supportive social networks to ensure their children's lives are filled with wonder.

Such celebrations will be held regularly. Each event will involve families within a small cluster of blocks in each constituency.

Similar celebrations, initially for families with babies born last year, will be held regularly nationwide by the end of this year.

Families at the Bishan event were given one of three versions of a gift set worth $50, containing an interactive stuffed toy, finger puppets with an accompanying storybook and a photo album.

The two other versions will be given out at similar events later this month and the next, with the authorities seeking feedback as part of a pilot phase to distribute a total of 3,000 gift sets. Up to 66,000 more may be given out by next March in a move that will cost the PA up to $3.45 million.

At the Bishan event, parents could also get parenting advice and tips at booths set up by the PA's community partners, such as the Singapore First Aid Training Centre. Other partners which were there included the Centre for Fathering and KK Women's and Children's Hospital.

One of the parents, Ms Nurdiana Omar, 28, an administrative officer, said she liked the booths at the event.

"We could find out more about how to cater to the needs of our child and what is best for him," said Ms Nurdiana, who was invited to the event together with her husband, a 31-year-old civil servant, and nine-month-old son.

Parent-child bonding activities such as clay handprint moulding were also available, with Mr Chan and Mrs Teo joining the families in a mass song and dance activity.


Song and dance: Parents and their kids having fun. http://str.sg/4XGu

Correction note: This story has been edited for clarity. We are sorry for the errors.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on April 09, 2017, with the headline 'Puppets, photo album, insurance for babies'. Print Edition | Subscribe