Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Need for a more inclusive approach in creating a more inclusive Singapore

Image courtesy of Naypong / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
THE North West District is gathering data on the needs of elderly residents and designing more specific programmes to cater to them ("North West District to start elderly database"; last Saturday).
This initiative, together with the numerous social service offices that the Ministry of Social and Family Development is setting up ("4 more social service offices by next June"; Sept 21), reflects the Government's willingness to develop customised solutions in administering help to the needy, rather than employing a one-size-fits-all approach.
By accumulating more data on the needs of the underprivileged and the elderly, the Government will be able to make more specific and effective interventions.
I am confident this nuanced approach will yield positive benefits.
But what I find disconcerting is that it discounts the possibility of ordinary citizens stepping up to help.
Anyone - not just grassroots volunteers or the Government - can play a part in helping fellow Singaporeans.
I suggest that the Government set up a database so that those keen to volunteer can list down their skills.
The article about the North West District database mentioned how MP Mohamad Maliki Osman tapped his own database to get a nurse and a taxi driver to help an elderly resident with her health-care needs.
With an expanded database on volunteers, there can be more meaningful matches between volunteers and those who need help. This would strengthen the spirit of giving.
The Government is clearly serious about fostering a more compassionate and inclusive society. An inclusive, bottom-up approach, aimed at galvanising citizens to help one another, will be integral in realising this vision.
-Palaniyapan
*This article was published by The Strait Times on 8th October 2013.Looking forward to the responses. 

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