International Charity World Vision Partners Local Service Agencies to Support Vulnerable Children in Singapore
14 August 2023 - World Vision Singapore has announced that it is extending its outreach to vulnerable children with special learning needs in Singapore through its One Life Fund. As an international humanitarian organisation dedicated to enabling vulnerable children around the world to live life in its fullness, World Vision Singapore established the One Life Fund to support vulnerable children in Singapore. Since 2023, the One Life Fund has enabled children in out-of-home care with special learning needs to have access to specialised learning support.
Working hand in hand with the Dyslexia Association of Singapore (DAS) and Chen Su Lan Methodist Children's Home (CSLMCH), World Vision has identified the first cohort of 15 children. These children are diagnosed with dyslexia and exhibit a range of learning and developmental delays. Many of them are also burdened with the scars of past trauma from a history of domestic abuse or other family circumstances. The impact of the trauma further impairs their learning. These children thus require specialised learning support to cope with the demands of formal education in a manner that is sensitive to their learning and behavioural difficulties.
In this unique tripartite partnership, World Vision Singapore, DAS, and CSLMCH have jointly looked into arrangements and resources that are needed for these children to attend literacy sessions on-site at the children’s home in very small groups. The benefit from the on-site teaching arrangement is that CSLMCH’s case workers can be present to support educational therapists from DAS by calming the children when they display disruptive behaviour during the lessons.
“At World Vision, our vision is to enable every child to live life in all its fullness, where they are given the opportunity to develop their potential. By combining the expertise and resources of Dyslexia Association of Singapore, Chen Su Lan Methodist Children's Home, and World Vision Singapore in this partnership, children with special learning needs are able to receive robust and targeted educational intervention within the safe environment of the children's home. Lessons conducted in a familiar and conducive environment also help these children learn more effectively, lowering the risk of external behavioural triggers. World Vision has begun providing support for 15 children at CSLMCH. We aim to extend our support to 35 more children in out-of-home care with special learning needs. Our aspiration is to be able to do even more to address the needs of vulnerable children in Singapore in the future," said Benjamin Tan, CEO of World Vision Singapore.
According to DAS, every year, one-third of the students assessed by DAS will not be diagnosed with dyslexia, but they struggle to learn because of overlapping learning difficulties.
Lee Siang, CEO of Dyslexia Association of Singapore, said, "Students with overlapping difficulties have increasingly come to our attention as they do not qualify for a diagnosis of dyslexia and are not able to access programmes and funding support to remediate their learning difficulties. It is our belief that every child with literacy challenges regardless of their background and circumstances should have access to specialist intervention and resources to bridge their learning gaps and unleash their potential. This collaboration with Chen Su Lan Methodist Children's Home and World Vision Singapore has thus enabled these children to receive the necessary remediation to overcome their literacy challenges. It also provides opportunities to expand DAS's repertoire of strategies to better support these students in their educational journey."
"We have quite a number of children with special learning needs who require the specialised learning support that is provided by DAS and funded by World Vision Singapore's One Life Fund. Many of these children are still going through a journey of healing from past traumas. The provision of appropriate educational interventions supports them in this restorative process. The educational therapists' enthusiasm, emotional support and stimulating interactions have been important motivators for learning. Children who have begun receiving the support now show an interest in reading and writing and also demonstrate better reading fluency," shared Low Kee Hong, Executive Director of Chen Su Lan Methodist Children's Home.
James1, who is 12 years old this year, is part of the first cohort of 15 children who have benefitted from this tripartite partnership. He has been residing in CSLMCH since 2021. His parents were unable to care for him, and he experienced multiple disruptions under his relatives' care. Apart from being diagnosed with dyslexia, he presents moderate receptive and moderate-severe expressive developmental language disorder . This makes it hard for him to learn in regular classes. He also exhibited self-harm behaviour. His family background and negative early childhood experiences may have also affected his academic performance.
With the support from World Vision Singapore's One Life Fund, James is now able to receive dyslexia-specific remediation in the children's home to improve his reading and spelling abilities. Since he began in May this year, he has gained more confidence in expressing himself in English and now enjoys engaging in social interactions. He has also shown a growing interest in basic reading activities independently.
"Education is the bedrock of a child's development to a brighter future. World Vision remains committed to removing barriers so that vulnerable children can fulfil their potential. We want to help pave a future where children are protected, cared for, and given the opportunities to become all they can be," added Benjamin Tan. World Vision Singapore's One Life Fund covers the fees of learning support programmes for children in out-of-home care with special learning needs, and, where needed, the cost of learning needs assessment prior to enrolment and related transport costs for children in residential care.
Members of the public in Singapore can visit World Vision Singapore's website or Giving.SG to contribute to the One Life Fund:
1Name changed to protect the child's identity
2Moderate receptive and moderate-severe expressive developmental language disorder means that the child’s reading and writing age is below his biological age.