Read on for the latest TCTF news, updates on our popular programmes and the various causes the foundation supports.
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May - Aug 2015 | Issue 5

CEO's Message

Young Arts Reporter Project @ NUS Radio Pulze

Catalytic philanthropy is easier said than done. It takes effort and time to nurture potential and to create multiplier impact.
Whilst the foundation supports students through bond-free scholarships and bursaries, we are mindful to also invest in their personal growth. This means how they develop in their character and values, and how they perceive their roles in our community.

To widen their exposure, our Tête-à-Tête Series are open to our scholars. Benefactor and award recipients meet face-to-face, reinforcing values upheld by the founder. They learn about worthy causes and opportunities to volunteer alongside us. Having educators present at this event endorses the importance of this rite of passage from being a TCTF scholarship recipient to a potential catalyst for positive change. 

The same approach applies to organisations that appeal for sponsorship. By leveraging on their strengths, we transform grant recipients into our partners. Illustrating this was the "Tan Chin Tuan Caring Series: An Afternoon of Cantonese Opera" in July. What started out as an appeal for the foundation to sponsor the troupe's performances became a 90-minute charity matinee customised for over 800 senior citizens.

And coming up - a day before Polling Day - 500 children and their families will be treated to our "More Than Words" showcase at ACS (Independent). This event comes after more than 50 hours of speech and drama, music or dance lessons fully funded by TCTF for less privileged children. The aim is to enrich the children's learning curve creatively, so that they blossom in self-confidence. 

The theme for the showcase is "Be The Change We Can Be." We believe transformative philanthropy begins when we walk the talk.

Yap Su-Yin, CEO, Tan Chin Tuan Foundation (TCTF)

TCTF Scholars: Catalysing Change

The scholars from ACS, HCI, MGS and award recipients from Malay charity, LBKM, penned how they can "Be The Change that They Can Be" and contribute to society.

TCTF kicked off its Tête-à-Tête @ TCTF Series comprising dialogues and networking teas, by gathering scholars and principals for an award ceremony and tea at the Tan Chin Tuan Mansion. Read more.

A Positive Attitude, A Happy Life

(L-R) Ms Chew Gek Hiang and Ms Angie Chew gave sound advice to TCTF scholars on how they could make a difference. Also present at the scholars' tea were Puan Sri Helene Tan Chin Tuan Scholars from Methodist Girls' School. Each year, TCTF hosts this event in July to commemorate the late Puan Sri Helene Tan, whose birthday was in the month of July.

Why is happiness elusive for many people? How can they overcome stress and depression? Ms Angie Chew, founder and Executive Director of Brahm Centre tackled these topics at the scholars' tea. The charity, which received seed funding from TCTF, promotes healthy physical and mental well-being. Read more.

Commemorating Puan Sri Helene Tan Chin Tuan

Education, in its widest and true sense, means not only that which we obtain from studying books, but also that which we receive from our training and from our homes; and because of this, we should keep and observe the best we can from books, from homes and from customs.”

Puan Sri Helene Tan 
(Extracted from her essay for the Methodist Message in 1924). 

Scholars Give Back

Read more about TCTF scholar (Ngee Ann Polytechnic) Sharian Shariff's volunteering experiences with TCTF.
During her TCTF internship, Lynette Chen, a two-year Tan Sri (Dr) Tan Chin Tuan scholarship recipient from Ngee Ann Polytechnic, was assigned to produce a Project Cheer handbook, to guide volunteers on how to plan, budget for and execute their community projects more effectively. Read more.

Project Cheer: Seeding Volunteers

ACJC volunteers tested their mettle in customising and executing activities appropriate for children, teens, and senior citizens as part of TCTF's Project Cheer.   
More than 150 ACJC students thought they were simply befriending disadvantaged children and senior citizens. Instead, they honed their project management and leadership skills. For most, it was their first time creating activities to promote multi-generational bonding. They did this by volunteering in the morning at a children's charity and in the afternoon at a charity for seniors, together with the children.

"I learned how to troubleshoot and think on my feet," said Aegan Tan. His class won the top award by excelling in areas of resourcefulness, creativity, enthusiasm, crisis management and execution. "When the elderly got up suddenly to leave, I picked up my guitar. They stayed to listen. The children sat down, we sang together and finished well," he added. Aegan was among 12 student leaders, who shared their takeaways from running Project Cheer in six charities.
(Left) Ms Chew Gek Khim (Deputy Chairman, TCTF), Mrs Choo Hong Kiang (Vice-Principal, ACJC) joined the ACJC students on 21 July for the Project Cheer Closing Tea. 
Project Cheer was organised by the foundation during non-festive periods to encourage volunteers to visit the elderly throughout the year, especially when they have fewer visitors. 
Cheers erupted as students rounded up their learning points gleaned when student volunteers ran Project Cheer in children and elderly-related charities during the March and June school holidays.

Participating charities included CARE Singapore, Concern and Care Society, Lakeside Family Services, Lions Befrienders Service Association, St. Luke’s ElderCare and Students Care Service.
Winning volunteers excelled in crisis management, resourcefulness and good planning. The judges comprised Yap Su-Yin, Sharon Song (TCTF), Mervyn Sek and Lye Kit Wan (ACJC). Ms Chew Gek Hiang (TCTF Council Member) and Ms Chew Gek Khim (centre) gave their support to volunteers and charities.

In The News: Project Cheer was featured in Chinese newspaper, Lianhe Zaobao.

Building Capacity

Charity Governance Conference 2015 by SAICSA: (L-R) Chandra Mohan Rethnam (Partner, Rajah & Tann), Lo Chee Wen (General Secretary, YMCA), Kaka Singh, (Chairman & Senior Partner, RSM Chio Lim), Yap Su-Yin, (CEO, Tan Chin Tuan Foundation). (R) Moderator: Graham Owens.

Sharing best practice within the sector helps charities improve. As such, the foundation participates regularly in talks and conferences, the latest being the Charity Governance Conference on 17 August 2015.

Charities in the audience sought advice on how to encourage corporates to be long-term donors. 
YMCA General Secretary, Lo Chee Wen, encouraged charities to move away from the current view of corporates as simply donors of money. Charities should view corporates as partners, and a source of volunteers.

Moderator, Graham Owens, summed the discussion with five words:
  • Professionalism – Be accountable for actions.
  • Partnerships – Foster strong donor relationships.
  • Promotion – Increase visibility to allow for better understanding of cause.
  • Purpose – Clear objectives, rationale and benchmarks.
  • Practicality – Move towards long term self-sustainability.
Sharing factors that affect donor-grantee relations, TCTF CEO Ms Yap Su-Yin illustrated how the foundation cultivated partnerships with charities to understand their mission and purposes. Good governance and active communication between donor and grantee were key to building trust and long-term collaborations, she added.

More Than Words

In line with its focus on education and community development, TCTF initiated “More Than Words” to offer children, under the care of TCTF-supported charities, opportunities to express themselves creatively and grow in self-confidence.

This year, TCTF extended enrichment workshops to social workers and youth counsellors who interfaced with children from vulnerable backgrounds. Close to 600 children and adults from 35 charities joined our “More Than Words” journey in 2015, which will culminate in a book launch and performance on 10 September at ACS (Independent). Themed “C.H.A.N.G.E”, the performance and publication by participants - are our gifts to the children to encourage them to Be The Change They Can Be.

The Cycle of Learning and Giving

To offer extra support to non-profit groups, TCTF added a training-the-trainers component to its More Than Words programme. 

This availed charities' staff of creative ways to connect with the children they worked with, to help boost their ability to inspire and transform the young.

Igniting Curiosity

Capitalising on the Youth Day school holiday (27 June), TCTF partnered Lakeside Family Centre to treat 40 pupils under the charity's care to a tour of the newly-opened Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum at the National University of Singapore. The visit was initiated by TCTF to introduce them to the museum, and also to teach them life skills: how to listen, ask and reflect.

We Hear You!

How would you rate this play? Our little critics have their say.

Expressing one's views can be daunting. TCTF created a Critic's Club for its beneficiaries to expose children to ways of articulating their views on plays, movies and books constructively. Read more.

Young Arts Reporter Project

Change has multiplier impact. As part of our Young Arts Reporter Project, TCTF partnered NUS Radio Pulze, an internet radio station manned by varsity students to show children how they could communicate their views by immersing in a broadcasting experience. Read more.

YARP: Mock Press Conference

Hot Seat: Amateur cub reporters interviewed performers and also learned more about traditional cultural arts from other teens. 

Children and teens from the Career Exposure Programme at Thye Hua Kwan Family Service Centre @ Tanjong Pagar gathered at Goodman Arts Centre on 16 May for a “Press Conference” to interview the cast and crew of  Malay dance group, Sri Warisan.

TCTF partnered Sri Warisan Som Said Performing Arts to give members of the Young Arts Reporter Project (YARP) access to a rehearsal session of Magika Pak Pandir (The Magical Tale of Mr Pandir). They also had a chance to exclusively interview local Malay dance pioneer and Cultural Medallion recipient Madam Som Mohamed Said, and her cast and crew. 

The mock press conference organised by TCTF allowed the young ones to learn how to ask constructive questions and observe productions with a more critical eye. “How much time goes into rehearsing for the production?”; “What made you decide to become a performer?” were some of the questions posed.

When asked what advice she had for them, Mdm Som told her young interviewees: "Do what you love, and love what you do.” 

Tan Chin Tuan Caring Series

Forging Friendships Near and Far

(L-R) Mrs Jeannie Tien (Acre Aces) and Ms Yap Su-Yin (TCTF) shared their favourite scenes from the Cantonese opera with guests.

Caring for the elderly has always been a priority for the foundation. In particular, making the effort to spend time and to do activities together.
On 11 July, as part of the Tan Chin Tuan Caring Series, the foundation rallied 16 charities and volunteers comprising scholars, staff and their families to the Kreta Ayer People’s Theatre in Chinatown.
The charity matinee, sponsored by TCTF, enabled 800 senior citizens to spend a Saturday afternoon enjoying a live Cantonese opera performance.
The Wuchuan City Cantonese Opera troupe from China, invited to Singapore by event partners The Rice Company and Acre Aces, weaved highlights from their evening performances specially for TCTF’s beneficiaries.
Troupe director Mr Zheng Yong Jian said in Chinese, “It was very meaningful to be here to share this traditional art form with more people, and especially those helped by charities. Seeing the elderly so happy was heart-warming.”
Senior citizens in the audience sang along with the soloist, who was accompanied by a live Chinese orchestra. For those who did not understand Cantonese, there were English and Chinese subtitles. The result was a 90-minute medley that made the elderly folk laugh, tear and sing along.

Glimpse the event here.
One of the elderly folks in a wheelchair was so happy to be back in Chinatown. He grew up there but since being wheelchair-bound, he had not been back and is living in the East. This was an opportunity for him to revisit his 'old roots'. The event was very well-organised and the volunteers on hand were wonderful!”

Edmund Hsiung, Centre Director of CHANGE Community Services.

Passing on the Legacy of Cantonese Opera

Photo: Wuchuan City Cantonese Opera Troupe
Mr Zheng hopes to enrol more youth to join the troupe and grow audiences’ appreciation for Cantonese Opera. He plans to entrust leadership to the younger members, when their skills reach an even higher professional calibre. So he is giving them greater exposure and performance opportunities.
Jeannie Tien shares their story here.


Youth Driving Change

Photo: ActionAid International
As part of their training, the young Changemakers ruminated on potential solutions to problems faced in their villages.
One of the foundation’s tenets is to develop young people so they can reach their full potential. In line with this, the foundation funded Action Aid International’s pilot run of its Changemakers Programme in Myanmar’s Chin State, where an estimated 70 per cent of the population live below the poverty line.  

As part of this programme, five youth were identified as potential leaders, and given training in skills such as research and programme management. When ready, they will work with the locals to prioritise needs and develop a “Village Book”. This is a community-designed action plan that addresses the needs identified by the locals themselves. Solutions could include building a new road to access the market or finding ways to increase income for villagers.
“I feel happy because I have an opportunity to participate in development. Before I was concerned only for my family, but now I am concerned for the whole village. Before I attended training, I knew nothing about how to participate in development. After training, I know more about our village… I have more confidence than before. I can facilitate the village meetings easier than before.”

Lal Kross Thangi, 23 (A TCTF-supported Changemaker)
ActionAid’s Head of Philanthropy and Partnerships (Asia) Emma Hanley highlighted how this programme challenged the traditional “aid” model, by seeing communities as inherently resourceful and capable of identifying their own needs, formulating ideas, initiating solutions and leading change.

“We are already seeing the impact that these young people are having and how they have been supporting the emergency response and recovery work in Myanmar during the recent floods,” she added.
TCTF CEO Yap Su-Yin added, “By empowering youth to take the lead in sourcing solutions that improve their communities, those ground-up initiatives can be game-changing and more sustainable in the long run.”

Contact Us: The Secretariat, Tan Chin Tuan Foundation: 42 Cairnhill Road, Singapore 229661
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