Mr Edward Chan, (pictured above, forefront) is CaringSG’s Head of Corporate Services and a caregiver of two children with ASD.
This letter to CaringSG members was originally written in Mandarin. We have included the English translation below as well.
二〇二〇年十月, 一群特殊看护者在林方辉医生带领下成立了CaringSG (关护之心). 二〇二一年六月, CaringSG 获得了政府认证为慈善机构, 从而可以向公众认捐. 之前CaringSG 的 运营资金全靠种子资助者（seed funders)来支撑. 除此之外, CaringSG也开始了义工训练（CAREbuddy 与CAREkaki)为接下来工作与服务做准备。
在林医生的不屈不挠的努力下, CaringSG 的三个主要看护者服务, CAREconnect, CAREbuddy 和 CAREwell, 终于找到了资助机构. 有了资金, 每个服务的运做也开始加速, 也开始有新的成员加入了工作团队.
CAREconnect 在二〇二二年一月也开始在文礼区每月与基层人员为当地的特殊家庭与看护者主办活动. CAREconnect的目标是联系当地的特殊看护者, 一起来参加CAREconnect的活动, 让大家彼此认识而建立起互助网络. 同时也让看护者认识基层人员以便以后如需要帮助, 不至于茫然无措.
同年六年, 又添加了甘榜格南区. 主办这些活动并非易事, 期间又因为疫情加剧, 主办团队要确保大家遵守防疫条例,尤其有孩子参与的活动要加强消毒措施. 又因为看护者与其特殊孩子年纪大, 不便来参加活动, 团队就上门拜访. 面对许许多多的挑战, 感恩团队不言败的精神, 把这些困难一一克服了.
踏入二〇二三年, CAREconnect 又添加了直落布兰雅与南洋区. 义工训练正在进行中, 也与当地的基层正在筹备接下来的活动.
如果我说工作没压力, 那肯定是骗人的. 在无数崩溃想放弃的夜晚,一觉睡醒, 又在重生.这种前所未有的自愈能力, 是大家的鼓励与支持给我的力量.
我要感谢林方辉医生, Dr David Ang 与CaringSG Board of Directors 对我的信任, 让我全心全意的投入这份工作.
还有与我一起冲锋的CAREconnect 队友, Jeffrey, Elysia, Chris, Diana, Julia, Xin Ying, Ann Toh, Pei Cheng, Esther, Wendy, Rae, Lilian 以及CaringSG 大家庭； 文礼与甘榜格南的基层领袖们Corrine, Shanthi, Ronnie, Hong Kian, Jeanine 等等. 还有基层顾问Minister Desmond Lee 和Mayor Denise Phua.
感谢你们这一路来的鼓励与支持, 我才有信心与勇气走下去. 二〇二三, 展望CaringSG 再上一层楼, 继续为特殊看护者服务.
Even though 2022 has just passed, the pace for 2023 has already picked up quickly. It is amazing to look back on the work that CaringSG has accomplished in the past two years.
In October 2020, a group of special needs caregivers established CaringSG under the leadership and guidance of Dr Lim Hong Huay. During the initial phase, CaringSG’s operations were solely funded by seed funders. CaringSG was subsequently recognised as a registered charity status in June 2021 where we could receive donations from the public. At the same time, CaringSG also started its volunteer training programmes (CAREbuddy and CAREkaki) to prepare for future work and services.
Thanks to Dr Lim’s tireless efforts, CaringSG managed to secure funding from the Enabling Lives Initiatives (ELI) Grant by SG Enable & Tote Board, Temasek Foundation, and National Council of Social Service to jointly sponsor Project 3i (CAREconnect, CAREbuddy, and CAREwell). With the sponsorship from these funders coupled with the recruitment of new staff to manage Project 3i, the operations of each of these services began to take shape and flourish.
Since January 2022, CAREconnect also began collaborating with Boon Lay grassroots to host monthly activities for special needs caregivers and their families living in the constituency. The objective is to reach out to these caregivers, connect them to other caregivers, and form a support network in the process. These gatherings also allow caregivers to get acquainted with the grassroots so that they know where to seek assistance in the event they require any help in the future.
Another constituency, Kampong Glam, was added in June of the same year. As it was during the Covid-19 pandemic, organising monthly activities for the caregivers was no easy task. For example, the organising committee had to ensure that everyone complied strictly with the COVID-19 Safe Management Measures (SMMs) and stepped up disinfecting efforts, especially for those activities which involved children. In addition, as it was inconvenient for some of the elderly caregivers to attend the activities, the team conducted house calls to them personally. Despite the numerous challenges, the team persevered and managed to overcome all of them.
2023 has been a great start so far as CAREconnect has achieved another milestone with the partnership and support from another 2 constituencies – Telok Blangah and Nanyang. We are glad to announce that the volunteer training is currently underway, and we are also in the midst of discussing upcoming events with the respective local grassroots.
To be honest, the work we have done thus far was not stress-free. In fact, I want to confess that the thought of giving up has come across my mind many times. However, when I think of the encouragement and support that I have received from everyone, it spurs me to work even harder despite all the hardships.
As such, I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to Dr Lim Hong Huay, Dr David Ang, and the CaringSG Board of Directors for their trust in me and for allowing me the opportunity to devote myself and contribute my best to this work.
I would also like to thank my CAREconnect team-mates, Elysia, Jeffrey, Chris, Diana, Julia, Xin Ying, Ann Toh, Pei Cheng, Wendy, Rae, Lilian, and the entire CaringSG family, together with Boon Lay and Kampong Glam grassroots leaders such as Corrine, Shanthi, Ronnie, Hong Kian, and Jeanine. Last but not least, I would like to especially thank grassroots advisors, Minister Desmond Lee and Mayor Denise Phua for believing in CaringSG.
Once again, thank you to everyone who has encouraged and supported me in one way or another during this journey. Without you all, I would have lacked the confidence and courage to go on. With a brand new year ahead, I really look forward to taking CaringSG to the next level and continuing to serve the special caregivers community.
From Caregivers, By Caregivers, For Caregivers