Cruise to nowhere for 60 kids helped by STfund

Children helped by The Straits Times School Pocket Money playing a round of "Guess the song", where the child who sits on the chair first gets to answer a question. This is the second year that Princess Cruises has collaborated with the fund. The cru
Children helped by The Straits Times School Pocket Money playing a round of "Guess the song", where the child who sits on the chair first gets to answer a question. This is the second year that Princess Cruises has collaborated with the fund. The cruise operator has been hosting events for needy children for four years.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

After their mother ran out on them and their father went to jail, sisters Elysha Haris Fadzillah, 11, and Asyiqin Haris Fadzillah, 10, began living with their grandparents.

The couple have been struggling to support the girls for almost six years on the grandmother's freelance masseuse's salary, and the grandfather's cleaner's salary.

Yesterday, however, the girls and their grandmother, Madam Noorma Abdul Rahiman, 59, received a rare treat on a luxury ship.

The girls were among 60 children invited to enjoy a day on the Princess Cruises' liner Sapphire Princess. They are beneficiaries of The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund (STSPMF), which supports more than 10,000 underprivileged children a year with pocket money for school expenses. The children at yesterday's event are from Lakeside Family Service Centre and Beacon Primary School. They toured the ship, played games and had lunch.

Many of the children were astonished by the size of the cruise ship as they had never been inside one before this. Most said the games room was their favourite spot.

Elysha, who is in Primary 5, said: "After seeing this (ship), I would like to go on cruise one day, and I would take my grandparents."

Said Princess Cruises' director for South-east Asia, Mr Farriek Tawfik: "Whenever the home-porting season starts, before the ship sails off (from its home port), I invite the children. I hope it will bless us with safe sailing."

This is the fourth event Princess Cruises has hosted children, in line with its corporate social responsibility programme. This is the second year of collaboration with STSPMF.

Mr Tawfik said he hopes to continue the collaboration.


Correction note: An earlier version of the story said the STSPMF supports more than 1,000 underprivileged children. It should be 10,000. We are sorry for the error.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 28, 2017, with the headline 'Cruise to nowhere for 60 kids helped by STfund'. Print Edition | Subscribe