Sugumaran Devaraja
Public Servant / Manager / Middle East & Africa Group / International Enterprise (IE) Singapore
Corporate Sponsor I:
Sunray Woodcraft Pte Ltd
Corporate Sponsor II:
Zero Spot Laundry Service Pte Ltd
Sree Narayana Mission (Singapore) – SNM Welfare Services
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Who are you? Tell us a bit more about yourself!

I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.” – Albert Schweitzer

I’m Sugu, a public servant with big dreams. I enjoy good conversation and love the challenge and robust nature of the business world. I strongly believe that the social and economic sectors of a nation can seamlessly work hand in hand to build a stronger society.

I treasure the company of his friends and love a good cup of chai. I love travelling and believe that every day should be lived to the fullest.

What’s your story? Tell us about a life-changing incident.

I am fortunate to have lived a blessed life and look to give something back to the community as much as possible.

I lost both my maternal grandparents within the space of 3 days last year. Their sudden passing has left a huge void in me and it is a reminder about the importance of family time for the older generation. I fondly remember my grandparents earnestly looking forward to times when the entire family will gather at their home for a festival or even a simple dinner. I chose Narayanan Mission as my charity of choice as it would be my way of continuing the legacy of my grandparents. They had both lived exemplary lives and believed in service to others. I hope that Changemakers can not only inject resources, but also bring about awareness about the needs of the old folks in the centre who have been neglected and forgotten by their own kin for various reasons.

Why 50for50 and why now?

It was entirely coincidental that I came to hear about this. I heard about this brilliant campaign briefly at a secondary school mate’s wedding and after a dinner meetup and hearing more, I was sold.

Why now? If not now then when? I believe that opportunities are meant to be seized as they present themselves and this came at a point in my life when I have the time and energy to dedicate to something that am passionate about.

What gets you up in the morning?

The thought that each that is another opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life. Made to make a difference, each day is an opportunity for change in others and within myself.

Why this cause out of so many causes?

In memory of my grandparents.

Any experiences with charity or non-profit work before?

I used to associate volunteerism with time spent with my father, growing up. I was blessed to be exposed to volunteerism from an early age as my father was heavily involved in serving at the Temple. Volunteerism was not pegged to fulfilling community service hours in school or to boosting my resume, it was pegged to forming enriching relationships with a diverse group of people that I thoroughly enjoyed. My extroverted personality enabled me to initiate those connections and to put myself out there in most situations, however awkward they may have been. These experiences complemented the knowledge I gained through books and moulded my character.

I believe that character is constantly shaped by our interactions with others and the messages we pick up from the environment we live in. In shadowing my father in the Temple, I was exposed to not only working with the influential members of the Indian community or the so called ‘elite’ but also to the Temple staff which comprised of men from India who came to Singapore looking for a better livelihood. In fact, I grew an appreciation for the humble staff working behind the scenes. Their satisfaction came not from accolades but from deep within their souls and that touched me.

What kind of change are you looking to bring about as a changemaker?

Volunteering when done with friends or like-minded individuals can be fun. An amazing agent for personal growth, it can also spread positive energy hope. A great way to gain new skills and develop talents, volunteering can also enable oneself to improve their self-esteem and gain valuable job experience. But even if your volunteer stint doesn’t give you any of the above, should we all not aim to leave the world a better place than how we received it?

What is your big idea on how to raise funds for 50for50?

Watch this space!