President Halimah Yacob, Guest of Honour at the Sikh Welfare Council (SIWEC)’s 25th anniversary commemorative event on 4 December 2021, launched Sarbat da Bhalla (Service to Humanity), a book covering SIWEC’s major milestones and achievements.
Mr Gurdip Singh Usma, Chairman of the SIWEC’s 25th Anniversary Appreciation Day Organising Committee, said: “The key factors that have contributed significantly to our success over the past 25 years were the steadfast community support from individuals, institutions, and corporate donors as well as our dedicated volunteers helping to raise funds and implement programmes.”
Increasing issues during pandemic
Mr Usma also highlighted: “We are already witnessing an increasing complexity of challenges facing clients we support, especially with the intersection of multiple issues in the prevailing context as we transition from pandemic to endemicity.”
We remain concerned about people not seeking help due to concerns about stigma, confidentiality, and anxieties about their future.”
– Mr Gurdip Singh Usma, Chairman of SIWEC’s 25th Anniversary Appreciation Day Organising Committee
He added: “On the mental health front, even as we embarked on our Theek Thak (All OK?) mental health awareness campaign, we remain concerned about people not seeking help due to concerns about stigma, confidentiality, and anxieties about their future. SIWEC will continue to devote attention to this area and develop our internal capacity to help people with mental health issues access the help they need.”
The SIWEC, which was established in 1995, with one staff manning a 24×7 hotline, has grown over the years and has achieved Institute of Public Character status, with full membership of the National Council of Social Service.
It today employs seven full-time staff and operates a diverse range of welfare programmes. These include financial assistance to vulnerable families, active ageing programmes for seniors in the community, psycho-social support for seniors and persons with disabilities in long-term care facilities, community mediation for families facing conflict, education support for children from our client-families, bereavement and grief support for members of the Sikh community, as well as mental health support.
Mental Health Resource Kits
At the event, the Punjabi language version of the Theek Thak mental health resource kit was launched. The English version of the online resource kit was launched on 30 October in conjunction with a panel discussion on mental health. The awareness campaign began in early October.
Hard copies of the mental health resource kits in English and Punjabi are available at various Sikh community institutions for members of the community. This includes all seven Gurdwaras (Sikh temples) in Singapore and the Singapore Khalsa Association. It can also be downloaded.
The hybrid event was hosted at the Singapore Khalsa Association (SKA) and the Sikh Centre (SC) concurrently and was streamed over SIWEC’s Facebook page and YouTube channel.