Mendaki gives festive goodies, books to 600 needy families

Left: Dr Yaacob presenting books and food items to Madam Zeenat (far left) and five of her six children yesterday, as part of Mendaki's annual charity drive. With Dr Yaacob are (from left) Mendaki CEO Tuminah Sapawi, Mr Necmettin Eskici, director of
Dr Yaacob presenting books and food items to Madam Zeenat (far left) and five of her six children yesterday, as part of Mendaki's annual charity drive. With Dr Yaacob are (from left) Mendaki CEO Tuminah Sapawi, Mr Necmettin Eskici, director of the Turkish Cultural Centre, and Mediacorp radio personality Zaza Majid.ST PHOTO: LIM SIN THAI
Left: Dr Yaacob presenting books and food items to Madam Zeenat (far left) and five of her six children yesterday, as part of Mendaki's annual charity drive. With Dr Yaacob are (from left) Mendaki CEO Tuminah Sapawi, Mr Necmettin Eskici, director of
Singer Rahimah Rahim and Malaysian actor, Shaheizy Sam, putting on a performance as part of the Hari Raya light-up in Geylang Serai last night. ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

Self-help group Yayasan Mendaki gave children's books to disadvantaged families for the first time yesterday as part of its annual charity drive.

Six hundred families with school-going children each received two or three books, on top of food items such as dates, sardines and festive goodies.

The theme of the Project Joy charity drive this year is "Celebrate Knowledge", and the books are meant to spark an interest in reading, said Minister-in-charge for Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim, who distributed the hampers at an event in Jurong East.

"It is to bring joy to the families, and at the same time to hopefully instil in them a sense of this acquisition of knowledge through reading," he said.

He added that he hopes the move will "initiate a little movement within the Malay-Muslim community".

Madam Zeenat Beve Abdul Malik, 37, a freelance henna artist, who has six children aged between four and 15, was one recipient of the hampers. She was glad that books were included this year. "I'm very thankful. My children love to read, and they read every day. They have three books each now," she said.

A total of 1,800 books for the drive were donated by the National Library Board, a spokesman for Mendaki said.

The event was one of many activities held yesterday in line with the fasting month of Ramadan.

At An-Nahdhah Mosque in Bishan, a "green" iftar, or breaking fast event, was organised by the youth of the mosque. It was held in line with a campaign to offer healthier and greener options to congregants this Ramadan and brought together people of different faiths.

Food with less salt and sugar, more fruits and more fresh vegetables were served, a spokesman said.

Elsewhere, as part of the Hari Raya light-up in Geylang Serai, a "cultural heritage race" was organised by the Hari Raya Light Up 2016 Committee and the Integration and Naturalisation Champions, supported by the People's Association.

Over 20 teams comprising non-Malay race participants had the chance to discover aspects of the Malay-Muslim community, such as its food, dressing and customs.Performances were also held by overseas and local celebrities, including popular singer Rahimah Rahim.

In Chua Chu Kang, Minister for Health and MP for the area Gan Kim Yong, together with fellow MPs Low Yen Ling, Zaqy Mohamad and Yee Chia Hsing, hosted 500 residents to a meal. Mr Gan and his team also served residents porridge, a staple item for breaking fast.

Organised by the Chua Chu Kang GRC Malay Activity Committees and two community partner mosques, the event aimed to broaden cultural understanding among residents, a spokesman said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on June 19, 2016, with the headline 'Mendaki gives festive goodies, books to 600 needy families'. Print Edition | Subscribe