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#lifeatPERTAPIS | Sufian Salim

Updated: Oct 17, 2022

Meet Sufian, Head of Home for Pertapis Halfway House (PHH). Since the start of his journey with Pertapis 13 years ago, Sufian has gotten the chance to experience all aspects of the Home's growth.

Q & A with Sufian

What is your role and how did you find your way to your current role at Pertapis Halfway House (PHH)?

I am the Head of Home at PHH, also known as “The Big White House in Geylang Road”.

I started out as a Case Worker in the Home for Probationers for a good 5 years before embracing the challenge to undertake a higher risk resident profile role as a Case Manager of Inmates undergoing rehabilitation and integration processes in the Halfway House.

Looking back at the need of holistic intervention as the Deputy Head of Home - Administration, I was inspired to be involved with advocacy work, resource exploration and policy actualisation. With realist determination and beneficiaries at heart, my personal growth came to fruition as the Head of Home from then - decade of service.

It has been my calling to embrace and drive the ever evolving landscape of rehabilitation and pursuant of human excellence for our community, at 13th year now with Pertapis and am

looking forward to many more meaningful years.

What made you pursue a career in the social service sector?

Having career experiences in sectors which serves the various pockets of society, my encounters as a Patient Relation Executive in the Healthcare environment brings about urges and calling to better serve the community in need, henceforth through the noble services of the social agencies. The vision to build an inclusive and be a contributing member of society spurs my belief and effort to better myself and to serve the society at large.

How would you describe a typical workday at PHH?

My typical day would start from the greetings and “hellos” from the residents in the Home before having a business briefing with all the staff to start the work day. Trust me when I say that there is never a dull day in rehab work.

It won't be considered noon till I have visited the offices and programme spaces in our five floor premise. The interaction with residents and staff is a vital part of rehab. In the afternoons – meetings, collaborations and administrative duties take precedent to sail the ship forward.

Evenings are good times for both staff and residents as they are able to embrace healthy lifestyle activities such as playing futsal, going to the gym and play pool together. After a full day in rehab duty, I look forward to coming home to my dearest family with a content heart having fulfil my service to the community.

What has been the most challenging part of your role and how did you overcome it?

The most challenging part I would say is to shoulder the responsibility of reverting a client back to the prison should one be deemed unfit for the community based programme. As a practitioner, one has to be objective while considering the opportunity cost when making decisions as to be coherent in the rehabilitative perspective of the clients well-being and the community interest.

What would you say is the most meaningful part of your role?

The opportunity to create a platform of growth for positive change to happen is the most meaningful part of my role. To see the change happen in one’s journey is a fulfilling experience that money can't buy. For instance, PHH is proud to say that we have successfully equip 30 plus residents over the last 4 years to attain a Class 3 Driving Licence and thereafter a Class 4 Driving Licence. They were then mentored into progressive partners in the logistic industry. Today, these alumni continue to contribute their part to pay it forward through volunteerism platforms created by the House and Pertapis.

How would you describe Pertapis?

Pertapis has been a prominent Social Service Agency for the past 50 years and makes progressive efforts to stay relevant in the industry. It values partnership and looks towards working with like-minded partners to achieve the common goal of progressive community development.

Being part of a vibrant team of people from various backgrounds and expertise, one could never feel alone in Pertapis. As the poster in my office says, “You Will Never Walk Alone”. Hence, residents and staff assured that the journey of a thousand miles always starts with a step in unison.

How has Pertapis supported you in terms of career growth?

It has always been in my belief that in order to uplift the life of a soul, one (the practitioner) has to build his/her own knowledge and resilience to face what may come. Albeit experience comes with its blessings, continuous learning to stay focus and relevant are an essential need for career growth. As such, I am blessed that Pertapis champions learning and provides the necessary platforms for staff to advance in their career through the continuous skill trainings and also academic programmes and bond support.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start their career in the social service sector?

Although many would think that the social service sector is not for the faint hearted, I would in contrast say it is for the people hearted person who would see people as people and strive to provide the best service that they can give. Like life, should one be able to celebrate small wins and work in retrospect to the less favourable outcomes to achieve betterment for the tomorrows societal matters, then ones heart is in the right place to embark in this humble yet noble service towards humanity.

What is something most people don’t know about you?

I am guessing you would know my favourite soccer team by now. Something that people may not know about me is that I am also a Kayaking Coach with People's Association (PA) and a Referee with Football Association Singapore (FAS). This hobby was something I enjoyed doing with my kids. True enough, it has rubbed off on them as both my daughter and son are coaches and referees themselves.

Get to know more of our passionate and incredible employees at #lifeatPERTAPIS and learn how you can be part of the team!

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