Mercy Relief (MR) and Singapore Polytechnic (SP) have tuned their engines high to propel the nation’s humanitarian vehicle in a challenging race to avert the consequences of much-anticipated hydrometeorological and geological hazards in the region.

Having worked together to provide emergency relief at quake-battered Padang last year, and addressed the needs of poor and disadvantaged communities in Indonesia and Vietnam this year, Singapore’s first polytechnic and first local secular humanitarian organisation sealed their innate collaborative commitment with the signing of a Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) on 28 April 2010.

MOC signing

SP Principal Tan Hang Cheong and MR Chief Executive Hassan Ahmad cement the partnership with distinguished guests looking on

The MOC will see both parties strive to expand their existing cooperation to various strategic initiatives that would contribute to the development of the local humanitarian sector. Innovative programmes aimed towards the promotion of overseas volunteer activities, exchange of expert knowledge amongst the respective industry professionals, and innovation of appropriate technological solutions for rural and disaster-stricken communities have been included in the Cooperation.

SP students and staff from all faculties will be actively engaged and involved in all areas of the collaboration with the objective of providing them with the platform and opportunities to apply their knowledge and expertise to address regional humanitarian needs at MR’s project locations, and in tandem, experience the serving of total strangers appropriately which is an education in itself.  Courses on Humanitarian Affairs are also currently being formulated by a joint MR-SP committee to equip and guide those who are inclined towards the humanitarian sector.

SP’s Principal Tan Hang Cheong expressed his optimism towards a successful collaboration by highlighting that “these projects support our students’ overseas volunteer services to broaden their out-of-classroom experiences and give them a global mindset. They also coincide with MR’s overseas volunteer expeditions of encouraging more youths and adults to volunteer for overseas expeditions. Moreover, SP can work with MR to provide technological advice and support for MR’s international development projects”.

Corroborating Principal Tan’s comment, MR’s Chief Executive Hassan Ahmad, said in his speech that, “As an active implementing regional humanitarian outfit, it is important and fortunate for MR to have a strong and practical partner in SP who will be able to inject invaluable support in terms of development of appropriate technological products and solutions, and professional expertise and consultancy.  In short, MR may be considered as the humanitarian commando unit which effects penetration during emergencies and into poverty-stricken rural areas, whilst SP can be the Research-for-Development (R4D) unit akin to MINDEF’s DSTAR”.

In recognition of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) initial matchmaking role between SP and MR through the CD Lionhearter Club at SP, MHA’s Permanent Secretary Benny Lim graced the occasion as the Guest of Honour. MR’s Chairman T K Udairam, SP’s Governor Teh Kong Leong and Singapore Civil Defence Force Commissioner Peter Lim were also present at the signing.

SP students with distinguished guests

SP student volunteers (in black and white t-shirts) sharing their expedition experiences with MR’s Chief Executive Hassan Ahmad (4th from left), SP Principal Tan Hang Cheong (4th from right) and MHA Perm Sec Benny Lim (extreme right)

An integrated exhibition was also put up to showcase the three partners’ collaborative works thus far.

Perm Sec Benny Lim with SP students

SP students describing their community development projects to MHA’s Perm Sec Benny Lim

About Mercy Relief

Mercy Relief is a Singaporean humanitarian organisation which engages in both disaster relief and sustainable development programmes. It was established in 2003 as an independent non-governmental humanitarian charity responding to the human tragedies in Asia. Mercy Relief’s aid programme focuses on providing timely and effective assistance to disaster-stricken communities and has maintained the delivery of emergency aid within 72 hours from the point of appeal for assistance.  

In the past 12 years, Mercy Relief has disbursed over S$32 million in aid across 40 disaster relief and 53 sustainable development initiatives. Mercy Relief has impacted an aggregate of 2 million lives in 24 countries and areas, namely Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, DPR Korea, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Japan, Laos, Lebanon, Malaysia, the Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal,  Pakistan, Palestine, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam and Yemen.

For more information, you may call us at 6514 6322 or email corporateaffairs@mercyrelief.org