From 16 to 29 June, NUS Social Work will be hosting 14 social workers and social service leaders from 12 countries around Asia for the Social Service Leaders Exchange Programme (SSLEP) 2019. The two-week programme, which was established by the Ee Peng Liang Memorial Fund and supported by the Chinese Women’s Association (CWA), will see social workers and service practitioners from Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar, Mongolia, India and Nepal, among others, discussing the best practices and challenges involved in their work.
Delegates will attend seminars on topics including leadership, restorative practices, trauma-informed practice, and fundraising; conduct agency visits; and experience day-long placements at various social service organisations such as AMKFSC Community Services, Children’s Society and TRANS Family Services. The programme has been tailored to the delegates’ areas of work, which will include child protection, female empowerment and medical social services.
“Social work is also known as the profession of hope. It is our job as social workers to bring hope to the down and out. I believe at the end of this two-week exchange…all our special guests will carry a new measure of hope back to their nations. Similarly, all of us Singaporeans will be equally stimulated and enlightened by hope as we interact with and learn from our special guests,” said Professor Esther Goh, Head of NUS Social Work.
At the programme’s opening ceremony on 18 June, Guest-of-Honour Mrs Betty Chen, Immediate Past President and Patron of the CWA, explained how SSLEP benefits both the foreign delegates and local social work practitioners. “We hope that the programme will provide further stimulation of ideas for the participants to share and bring back for possible implementation in their respective countries’ settings. The 14 overseas participants will share ideas of social service delivery in the various countries where they come from. Local practitioners will learn about social work in a different context from their foreign counterparts. It will be good for the local participants to appreciate the use of limited resources to deliver much needed services to meet social standards,” she said.
This sentiment was echoed by the delegates. “I hope to build networks and exchange ideas of practices in Malaysia that might be applicable to other countries, and to better understand social work practices in Singapore with regards to children,” said Ms Tuan Noor Hasini Tuan Omar from Yayasan Chow Kit, a Malaysian non-governmental organisation that offers services and programmes for at-risk children in Kuala Lumpur.
Also in attendance at the opening ceremony were Dr S Vasoo, Chairman of the Ee Peng Liang Memorial Fund and Associate Professorial Fellow at NUS Social Work, SSLEP organising committee members, and embassy officials.
Since its inception in 2016, SSLEP has benefited 60 social service leaders from across Asia.