Reward for good results: New furniture, clothing

Gayathri Kavidmannan, 11 and in Primary 5, now studies in the quiet of the bedroom she shares with her two siblings.

There, she now has a new study table and a double-decker bed. Out in the living room, where she used to do her homework, sits a new sofa, coffee table and cupboard.

Her family's new acquisitions are her reward for being one of three pupils under a Straits Times' School Pocket Money Fund (SPMF) programme who made significant progress in their grades for English between the end-of-year examination last year and the mid-year one just over.

Under the STep-Up programme, these Primary 5 and 6 pupils from low-income families were tutored by junior college students one-on-one for 11/2 hours each week.

Gayathri, from Mayflower Primary, improved by 14 marks.

Her family and those of two other pupils were rewarded with makeovers worth $2,500 for their homes and themselves.

Under this Great Singapore Sale Fashion & Home Makeover organised by the Singapore Retailers Association, Ms Angeline Tan of hair and body salon Franz de Paris and Mr William Nai of interior design firm Hong Cheng Design visited the pupils' homes; then some members of each family went shopping for furniture and clothing with these experts.

The other two recipients were Siti Nur Aryani Jumade from Jurong West Primary School and Muhammad Hamizan Ramdzan from White Sands Primary School, both in Primary 6.

These pupils' families make $2,000 or less every month and rarely go shopping.

Hamizan, who hopes to go to Dunman High School, said: 'I used to study on the floor. Sitting on a chair, I'll probably have better posture. It feels like a blessing.'

SARAH GIAM