Awwa recipients help boost ST Pocket Money Fund

THE poor, the elderly and students with special needs usually on the receiving end of aid from the Asian Women's Welfare Association (Awwa) got a chance last year to pay forward the kindness.

They did this by canvassing for donations and by organising a carnival for others equally in need - the recipients of The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund (SPMF).

On Wednesday, the fruit of their efforts, a cheque for $14,858.23, was handed over to Ms Irene Ngoo, SPMF's organising vice-chairman.

Awwa involved its beneficiaries in this charity exercise last year to mark its 40th anniversary.

Powered by 255 employees and 1,240 volunteers, the voluntary welfare organisation reaches out to 3,360 underprivileged recipients of the aid and services it offers. Its recipients could thus have used the amount raised themselves.

But Awwa president Sandra Berrick said 'helping others lifts the self-esteem of our clients and makes them feel good, rather than simply being helpless. We've been taking from others, so we feel it's time for us to give something back and not be so fixated on helping ourselves'.

Mr Tim Oei, Awwa's chief executive, said Awwa's recipients could not even afford to buy the ingredients needed to make the cookies they wanted to sell at the carnival, so the items were purchased for them, and they did the baking.

About 100 needy students at Awwa's Family Service Centre receive aid from SPMF for their school-related expenses.

Separately on Thursday, Sabana Industrial Real Estate Investment Management Trust's chief executive Kevin Xayaraj Tay presented a cheque for $23,553 to SPMF.

Sabana manages the world's largest real estate investment trust run on Islamic principles. As it is bound by syariah law to channel revenue from non-syariah compliant activities to charity, it picked SPMF, among other charities, as a beneficiary of its non-compliant revenue.

Mr Tay said: 'We like the SPMF because it gives help based on merit and needs, regardless of race or religion.'

To donate to the SPMF, e-mail stfund@sph.com.sg