Caregivers Alliance Limited (CAL) hosted a memorable Charity Dinner in tribute to our caregivers. Held on 26 October at Orchard Hotel, the event brought together caregivers, distinguished guests, donors and volunteers, with approximately 300 attendees in total. We were also privileged to have Minister for Health Mr Ong Ye Kung as our Guest-of-Honour for the joyous occasion.
Strength in Community
Dr. Chua Siew Eng, Board Director and Chairman of the Charity Dinner 2023 Committee, delivered the opening address. She highlighted the diverse nature of caregivers, noting that they come from all walks of life. A study conducted by CAL found that one in four persons in Singapore is a caregiver to someone with mental health issues. This means that anyone can be a caregiver. The heartwarming video montage that followed introduced us to caregivers from various backgrounds - parents Alex Cheong and Wang Yoke Choo, daughter Mastura Surattee, mother Angela Tan, and son Imran Wee. Though they had entered into their role through different circumstances, they found themselves on a shared path. This common thread unites caregivers, prompting them to foster a community of mutual support and understanding.
One of the highlights of the evening was a special performance by caregivers from our dementia programme and their loved ones, and Voices of Singapore (VOS), Singapore's largest singing organisation. They had participated in Silver Voices, an inclusive singing programme launched by VOS for seniors over the age of 50. CAL greatly appreciates the synergy that underpins such partnerships, whether they are within the community, corporate, or faith-based. These partnerships emphasise our collective commitment to make the journeys of caregivers more resilient and vibrant.
Honouring Our Volunteers
Four of our dedicated volunteers were presented with tokens of appreciation as an acknowledgement of our gratitude towards them. Apart from caring for their loved ones, these volunteers have in turn shown their concern for fellow caregivers, co-facilitating classes and advocating at outreach events. Guest-of-Honour Minister Ong presented the tokens of appreciation to these selfless individuals, generously sponsored by Scent by SIX.
Imran Wee - “The Face of CAL”, for his advocacy for caregivers and mental health, bringing struggles to light through various media platforms.
Teo Siok Cheng Jennifer - “Volunteer Trainer (English)”, for her exceptional dedication in co-facilitating C2C training programmes in English.
Wu Rong - “Volunteer Trainer (Mandarin)”, for her exceptional dedication in co-facilitating C2C training programmes in Mandarin.
Rozana Read - “Caregivers-to-Caregivers Sharing”, for her selfless sharing of her caregiving journey and encouraging other caregivers.
Leong Wai Chin - “Exemplary Outreach”, for amplifying the call for caregiver support through interactions at CAL’s outreach activities, igniting change in the community.
Imran was also invited to share his journey with CAL after the ceremony, shedding light on his role as a caregiver for his mother with dementia. In addition to his active involvement as a volunteer with CAL, Imran has gone above and beyond by leveraging his social media platforms to advocate for increased awareness and support for caregivers and their loved ones.
In her closing remarks, CAL’s Board Chairman Jennifer Fan emphasised the core concept of CAL’s Caregivers-to-Caregivers programmes – 'From one caregiver to another.' These volunteers exemplify this ethos through their heartfelt efforts, making a meaningful impact on the caregiving community.
Empowering Caregivers Together
Apart from the programme segments, the dinner featured sales booths where attendees had the opportunity to purchase items from our partners and masterpieces crafted by our caregivers and staff. These offerings included Nagomi Art bookmarks by Outreach Manager Kathleen Chia, batik and acrylic paintings created by our caregivers, and books authored by caregivers Margaret Ong and Jenny Teo, as well as scents by Scent by SIX.
Both Margaret and Jenny attended our C2C-PMHI programme and detailed their experiences in their books. Margaret, who cares for her husband with schizophrenia, has pledged a portion of the proceeds from her book sales via Word Image Pte Ltd to be donated to CAL. Jenny, a suicide loss survivor and founder of Stigma2Strength (Singapore), committed to gifting net proceeds from her book sales to CAL through her public education ground-up initiative on youth suicide prevention, Stigma2Strength.
The scents from Scent by SIX included the CARE trio - Care to Focus, Care to Relax and Care to Sleep - which was developed in collaboration with our caregivers last year. Founder Jason Lee, who is also an advocate for mental wellness, initiated a series of workshops where caregivers drew from their personal experiences to formulate the scents.
The evening also featured an auction for two unique batik paintings. These works of art were a result of a collaborative effort between staff from the Singapore General Hospital (SGH), National Heart Centre Singapore (NHCS), and Healthcare Services Employees' Union (HSEU) and CAL caregivers. Titled “Colouring Hope”, the paintings symbolised the profound journey behind the lives of those who dedicate themselves to the care of others. The creation of this work was guided by renowned Singaporean batik artist Kamal Dollah, and organised for SingHealth President's Challenge 2023 campaign, “Caring Hands, Compassionate Hearts”.
"It was a powerful experience to hear the personal journeys of the attendees and to witness the strength, resilience, and love that caregivers display. The stories shared at the dinner were a reminder that we are not alone in our caregiving journeys." - Kat Baulu, a participant in the C2C Eating Disorders training programme (C2C-ED).
Make A Difference
A big THANK YOU to everyone who attended our charity dinner! It was truly an evening filled with inspiration and gratitude. You have made it a night to remember for our caregivers. This year also marks CAL's 12th anniversary in serving caregivers of persons with mental health issues, including dementia. Over the years, we have trained and empowered more than 10,000 caregivers. We remain privileged and humbled that we could journey along with these incredible individuals, and are committed to providing unwavering support to them.
On this note, we also used the opportunity of the dinner to raise funds for our mission of training and supporting them. CAL offers our training programmes at no cost, ensuring that caregivers can easily access the help they seek. Through the generous contributions of our donors, we have managed to raise more than $240,000 from the dinner before the matching by the Tote Board. Proceeds from tables purchased also contributed to these funds; we are grateful to those who have purchased them especially for our caregivers to enjoy the night and have respite.
If you would like to make a difference to our caregivers, you can make your contributions via our donation channel: https://www.cal.org.sg/donate-volunteer
To find out how we empower caregivers, watch our video here: https://youtu.be/0NHx-f8J4vk