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President Barack Obama Was The Keynote Speaker At Education Benefit Gala To Raise Funds For Four Singapore Charities

President Barack Obama shed light on bridging the achievement gap and fostering equal opportunities regardless of background and financial capabilities

Photos by Yana Paskova on Getty Images

Novena Global Lifecare and The Sylvan Group, co-organisers of Education Benefit Gala, held the charity gala dinner on 14 December 2019 for four beneficiaries in Singapore to educate marginalised women and children from disadvantaged families. Amongst the 500 esteemed guests was the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama, who was the keynote speaker of the evening. 

With the aim to alleviate the global education crisis and to foster equal education and opportunities, President Barack Obama shed light on bridging the achievement gap and fostering equal opportunities regardless of background and financial capabilities during the 60-minute conversation moderated by Cheah Sui Ling. 

His attendance invigorated the guests in attendance being a strong advocate of an equal society, President Barack Obama shared the legacy he hopes to leave behind for future generations and encouraged everyone to make a difference.

“Find some young person out there who has talent, but doesn’t have the privileges, connection, or money, and figure out how you can help that one person achieve their dreams. Somebody unexpected, it doesn’t have to be through a formal programme, (it can be) an employee whose child would benefit from a scholarship or just a conversation. Take the time, make some difference.”– Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States during the conversation at Education Benefit Gala

Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States & Cheah Sui Ling

Nelson and Terence Loh of Novena Global Lifecare and co-organisers of the Education Benefit Gala, firmly believe that education is the backbone of society and that everyone has the right to education. Other than spearheading successful ventures in the business world, Nelson and Terence Loh have it in their hearts to positively impact the underprivileged communities. 

“In Singapore, education is compulsory before children turn 15, which has resulted in a literacy rate of 97%. However, there is a minority who are marginalised and fall out of the system for various reasons. On our 10th anniversary, we want to reflect on that and look at how DORR Group can contribute to maintaining the nation’s high education standards now and in the future.” – Terence Loh of Novena Global Lifecare, Co-Organiser of Education Benefit Gala

The appointed four beneficiaries in Singapore – Dreams Academy (South Central Community Family Service Centre), Singapore Council of Women’s Organisations (SCWO) Service Fund, Daughters Of Tomorrow and Persatuan Pemudi Islam Singapura (PPIS) – champion education and training for marginalised women and children from disadvantaged families. 

“Their missions echo our personal belief that circumstances do not define one’s future. We believe that if we put the need for education at the centre of our efforts and respect it as a human right, greater opportunity and greater equality will more than likely come about,” said Nelson Loh of Novena Global Lifecare, Co-Organiser of Education Benefit Gala

Amongst the beneficiaries of the night was Bryan Lee Jing Wen from Dreams Academy, who shared his vision and testimonial in empowering youths from low-income households to break out of the entrapment of poverty and believe they excel if they dare to dream.

“I come from a poor family. Both my parents worked tirelessly day and night to support the three of us. What made it worse was that my dad’s life was controlled by his gambling addiction. It was something he couldn’t escape no matter how much he loved us. Despite the challenging circumstances, I never felt poor. In fact, I always felt that I was lucky because of the support made possible by generous people like yourselves and good friends. I was able to put enough focus on my future and career. I was able to follow my dreams and develop into a productive person and a contributing member of society. I would have missed out amazing opportunities.” – Bryan Lee Jing Wen, beneficiary of Dreams Academy

To close the inspiring evening at the Ritz Carlton Millenia Singapore, guests enjoyed a fine dining experience curated by four celebrated Michelin star chefs, Sebastien Lepinoy, Tetsuya Wakuda, Beppe De Vito and Cheung Siu Kong.

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