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4th Quarter 2012 Newsletter

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Care For Dementia Patients Now Closer To Home

When Mr Ahmad bin Salleh, 91, first began to ask the same questions repeatedly and look for food although he had already taken his meals, his daughter, Mdm Umi, thought it was just part and parcel of ageing. It was only when Mr Ahmad was admitted into hospital for a heart attack that was he diagnosed with dementia. Mdm Umi works as a cleaner, living with her father and husband in a rented one-room flat. The family struggles to make ends meet, especially since her husband was diagnosed with an eye condition that could rob him of his sight and his job.

Help came in the form of COMIT, or Community Intervention Team. A project by O'Joy Care Services, COMIT is one of two projects under the Temasek Cares-iCommunity@North partnership. Established in January 2012, COMIT provides counselling therapy and care coordination services to the elderly and their caregivers. Customised intervention plans allow the elderly and their caregivers to better manage dementia and its related issues.

In February, a complementary team, CREST, or Community Resources, Engagement and Support Team, was formed by Thye Hua Kwan Moral Charities (THKMC). CREST provides community outreach and education, identifying elderly individuals with signs of dementia and mental health conditions in order to connect them to the appropriate healthcare service.

Funded by Temasek Cares, this ground breaking pilot programme is the first integrated regional mental health network in Singapore involving partnerships with the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC), Khoo Teck Puat Hospital (KTPH), THKMC and O'Joy Care Services. This pilot programme in the northern region of Singapore will give 300 elderly individuals and their caregivers access to social, community and healthcare services such as counselling therapy that are close to home.
Thus far, the COMIT programme has benefitted individuals such as Mdm Umi. Thanks to weekly visits from a counsellor, Mdm Umi is now able to better manage her father's condition. "The counsellor advises me how to take care of my father and reminds me to take breaks like going for walks so I feel less stressed. They give me a lot of confidence," says Mdm Umi.

Plans are now underway to expand the programme to include a greater pool of care providers.

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Extending Textbook Skills To Benefit The Community

As a second year student in the Institute of Technical Education, Zulayqah Zulkifli had acquired skills necessary for her future career. When she heard about the STEP-ITE Sunburst Outreach Network, Zulayqah jumped at the opportunity to make use of her knowledge to improve the lives of the less fortunate.

The STEP-ITE Sunburst Outreach Network is a three-year programme launched in April 2012 to allow ITE students to make use of their course knowledge to contribute to the community. STEP has committed $180,000 to the programme in its first year. In partnership with various welfare organisations, student volunteers formulate and carry out various projects that aim to improve the quality of life of disadvantaged elderly and youth. Some of the projects include equipping one-room flats with fall prevention and home safety gadgets, as well as organising basic IT and culinary lessons for the elderly.

In collaboration with the Spastic Children's Association of Singapore, Zulayqah and her team used their knowledge of horticulture to design a bonsai planting project which would help students aged 18 to 25 with cerebral palsy to improve their motor skills. These individuals not only gain self-esteem when the bonsai grows well, they may also be able to sell the plants for some additional income.

Reflecting on her experience, Zulaqah said working with the beneficiaries is akin to working with plants. "You need patience, but seeing the improvement gives you a sense of accomplishment. I am happy that I am able to put a smile on their faces and help them do something that they like."

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23 Days Of Chinese Orchestral Music

In conjunction with the 15th Anniversary of the Singapore Chinese Orchestra (SCO), the inaugural Singapore National Chinese Orchestra Marathon (NCOM) was held from 3 to 25 February. Funded by the Temasek Education Foundation (TEF), the event aims to cultivate an appreciation of Chinese orchestral music.

For 23 days, 32 Chinese orchestras held concerts across the island, playing at various locations such as community clubs and the Esplanade. 1,200 musicians from 10 to 74 years old participated in this event, reaching an audience of over 20,000 individuals. The event culminated in the finale concert, "A Music Showcase", held at the SCO Concert Hall.

Joyce Poh, 24, was one of the musicians who performed in the finale concert. A member of the Singapore Youth Chinese Orchestra, Joyce has been playing the dizi for 12 years. "It was a dream come true for me as I had always wished to be able to perform with the SCO," said Joyce. "This event allowed me to gain a very precious learning experience as I got to hear comments and advice from the SCO musicians and teachers during my rehearsals."

Master trainers hard at work during the weeklong course in Singapore

Improving English Teaching Capabilities In China

Over 2,600 middle school teachers from Heilongjiang, China, are now equipped with teaching methods and approaches that will help them deliver their English lessons more effectively.

Funded by Temasek Foundation, the English language pedagogy programme was organised in partnership with the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO) Regional Language Centre, the Heilongjiang Provincial Education Committee and Harbin Normal University.The Temasek Foundation-SEAMEO Regional Language Centre Capability-Building Programme for Heilongjiang Master Teachers of English saw 50 master trainers undergoing a rigorous programme, including a one week Train-the-Trainers course held in Singapore. Training for the 50 master trainers was completed in May 2011.

The master trainers then used their knowledge to develop training programmes for other teachers. With the support of the Heilongjiang Provincial Education Committee, workshops were organised where the master trainers transferred their knowledge to other teachers.

The training programme proved to be a great success, benefitting more than 2,600 teachers instead of the initial target of 1,000.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 22 Oct - Singapore and Bhutan Ink First Infocomm Technology MOU [more]
  • 9 Oct - Singapore Partners Bangalore to Develop Capabilities for Alternate Sources of Water Through Recycle and Reuse of Treated Waste Water[more]
  • 22 Aug - IMH and Temasek Foundation Support Mental Well-Being and Resilience Programme for Asian Communities Affected by Disasters[more]

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