$115,000 worth of bursaries awarded to students from low-income families

SINGAPORE - Some 520 students from low-income families received more than $115,000 worth of bursaries at a presentation ceremony on Sunday morning.

They were awarded between $150 and $500 each at the Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC Citizens' Consultative Committees event.

Defence Minister Dr Ng Eng Hen, who heads the Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC, said at the event that the GRC will continue to support students whose families face financial difficulties.

"We believe so strongly in education... Good education will last your children a lifetime," he said.

He added that close to $1 million has been disbursed to students over the past five years.

Addressing the crowd of students and parents gathered at Toa Payoh Central, Dr Ng said many of their MPs grew up poor.

He shared his own experience growing up in a rental flat with three other families.

"My mother worked very hard. She raised six children... but because of what my parents did - focusing on education - my life changed... my children's lives changed," Dr Ng said.

Nanyang Polytechnic student Chan Jia Xin, 21, who was awarded a $400 bursary, said the money will go towards her school fees.

Her mother works at food kiosk while her father is a driver.

"It helps my parents worry less. It's very hard to pay $1,248 every semester," she said.

Cleaner Wendy Low, 46, who has three children aged eight, 10 and 16, said such bursaries come in handy especially in larger families like hers.

Unemployed single mother Nirmasari Salim, 35, who has two children aged 12 and 13, added that the money can help cover her children's' food and transport allowance.

"It really eases the load off the shoulders of a single mother like myself," she said.