Ramadan hampers for non-Muslim families too

ABOVE: A Spectra Secondary School student from a low-income family receiving a bag of groceries from Minister-in- charge of Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim, as Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Education and Manpower Hawazi Daipi looks on. LEFT: Assoc
A Spectra Secondary School student from a low-income family receiving a bag of groceries from Minister-in- charge of Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim, as Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Education and Manpower Hawazi Daipi looks on. ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN
ABOVE: A Spectra Secondary School student from a low-income family receiving a bag of groceries from Minister-in- charge of Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim, as Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Education and Manpower Hawazi Daipi looks on. LEFT: Assoc
Association of Muslim Professionals chairman Azmoon Ahmad (left) giving groceries to Mr Hazeri Md Saleh, 38, and his family. The association had hosted its low-income beneficiaries in breaking fast.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

For the first time since it started in 2002, those outside of the Malay/Muslim community were included in self-help group Mendaki's annual distribution of Ramadan hampers.

Under the Project Joy initiative, 600 low-income families - of which 100 are not Malay/Muslim - will receive groceries and supermarket vouchers. This inclusivity is in the spirit of the country's golden jubilee, said Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim yesterday.

"In celebration of SG50, we think it is important to widen our scope to ensure that whatever assistance we can give, we give to the needy irrespective of their background," he told reporters before he visited six low-income families in Woodlands.

If there are enough sponsors in the future, Dr Yaacob said Mendaki will continue to include non-Malay/Muslim families in its assistance efforts.

Over in Toa Payoh, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen broke fast with 1,200 residents and spoke about the spirit of giving and inter-religious harmony during the Muslim fasting month.

Dr Ng said such community events were a reminder of how fortunate Singapore is to have multiracial harmony.

Organisations such as the Association of Muslim Professionals also had activities to help the needy. The association, which hosted its low-income beneficiaries in breaking fast at a hotel, gave out groceries and green packets to children and their families.

waltsim@sph.com.sg

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on June 28, 2015, with the headline 'Ramadan hampers for non-Muslim families too'. Print Edition | Subscribe