Oei Hong Leong donates $250,000 to ST fund

BUSINESSMAN Oei Hong Leong has donated $250,000 to The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund.

He presented the cheque to Singapore Press Holdings chairman Lee Boon Yang in a ceremony held yesterday at the News Centre in Toa Payoh North.

The sum will go towards providing needy school-going children with pocket money.

Mr Oei said: "We can do something to help the less fortunate... The School Pocket Money Fund is a good initiative to help lower-income families, and I hope that more people will support it."

Dr Lee said: "The fund is doing good work and we hope that with more generous support from the public, we can do more. It will make a huge difference to these families and make going to school a much more pleasant experience for the kids."

The fund has raised just over $3 million this year, said its general manager Martina Wong. It needs $5 million to $6 million each year on average.

At last count in June, the fund had 8,880 beneficiaries.

Its largest single donation by a businessman was from Mr Ron Sim, who pledged $5 million over five years in January.

The fund supports about 10,000 children each year.

The charity usually gives out money to each needy child for a period of two years.

Since October last year, however, it has allowed some beneficiaries to extend their receipt of assistance for an additional two years on a case-by-case basis.

This is expected to bump up the total number of beneficiaries to above 10,000 by the end of the year, said Ms Wong, who hopes to draw more regular donors to the charity.

Currently, between 200 and 300 donors give money to the fund on a regular basis.

"If we can get more regular donors among members of the public, it would be more sustainable for us as a charity, since we have children who come to us every month," she said.

chiaym@sph.com.sg