17 March 2019 to 22 March 2019 — From the 17th of March 2019 to the 22nd of March 2019, a team of senior staff members from ULSA2 (Vietnam) visited Singapore to better understand social work practice locally. The delegates included Dr. Pham Ngoc Thanh, Director of ULSA2, Dr. Nguyen Minh Tuan, Head of the Social Work Department, and other senior staff from the Education and Training Division. During this eventful week, the team visited several social service centres in Singapore and learnt about the various social programmes and community initiatives offered locally.
Visit to the National University of Singapore (NUS) Social Work Department
The Vietnamese team began their week in Singapore with a visit to the NUS Social Work Department. There, NUS Associate Professor Irene Ng introduced the team to the social work scene in Singapore, the NUS Social Work Department and the academic programmes offered.
Dr. Thanh also shared about ULSA2 and the social work scene in Vietnam. The exchange proved beneficial for both schools, concluding with the exciting possibility of discussing future collaborations. Mrs. Ann Elizabeth Wee and Associate Professor S. Vasoo, the former Heads of the Social Work and Psychology Departments in NUS, joined in the meeting as well.
Visits to Fei Yue Community Services Centres and South Central Community Family Service Centre
Over the next few days, the ULSA2 team spent time visiting and understanding the work of the various community services in Singapore, including the Social Service Office (Taman Jurong), Fei Yue Early Intervention Centre for Children, Youth Go! Centre and Fei Yue Senior Activity Centre (Holland Close).
The staff at the various Fei Yue centres shared about the work of the centres and the communities they were helping. Whilst the ULSA2 team toured the centres, they learnt how the facilities available were designed to support the intervention programmes, a useful and eye-opening experience for the Vietnamese delegates. In addition, there were lively discussions on the social issues in Singapore and Vietnam.
At South Central Community FSC, the team were exposed to the Asset-Based Community Development model, a novel approach to social work contrasted with the Needs-Based Community Development model. Going beyond the establishment of a service centre, this model emphasises collaboration, cooperation and unity within a community to contribute diverse talents and strengths to help one another, an exciting new method in community building.
The delegates also joined the South Central Community FSC staff to visit some of the community areas within their service boundaries. This trip gave unique insight into South Central Community FSC’s outreach efforts, established upon the objective of building lasting relationships with each beneficiary.
By the end of the Singapore visit, the ULSA2 delegates left with a much more comprehensive understanding of the social work sector in Singapore, and the context of the MOU terms between ULSA2 and OTE.
We also would like to thank Fei Yue Community Services for graciously co-hosting the ULSA2 delegates and planning the visits to the various Fei Yue centres.