Singapore Indian Development Association launches new fund to help Indian families in need

A new fund was set up yesterday to give a helping hand to Indian families in need.

The ReachAble fund, launched by the Singapore Indian Development Association (Sinda), will help those with one-off needs, as well as others who need temporary assistance to tide them through difficult times.

The fund, worth $114,000, will be administered by the Sinda Family Service Centre which helps over 400 Indian families in need.

It will target three groups.

First, those with one-off needs. Examples could be payment of rental deposit or one-off payment of exam fees at private schools. The bulk of the funds will go towards helping this group.

Second, families who receive help from existing national schemes, but need more to achieve a better quality of life.

Said Ms Renjala Balachandran, head of the Sinda Family Service Centre: "There are some families who don't even have the money to buy a cake to celebrate a birthday, and others who have not taken a holiday - even a short trip across the Causeway - in their lives. We want to help them."

Those who fail means-testing for government assistance schemes can also tap the fund.

"But these funds are meant as a stop-gap measure, an interim until needy families find a long-term solution," Ms Balachandran said.

The $114,000 was raised by new citizen Ramya Nageswaran, 43, and Ms Damyanti Shahani, 40, and Ms Shobha Punukollu, 44, who are permanent residents here. The trio, who were originally from India, raised the $114,000 in about three weeks with over 40 friends, all Indian expats and new citizens, chipping in.

"There are genuine needs in the local community and as new citizens and permanent residents with resources, we would like to do our part to address them," said Ms Nageswaran.

Sinda president Indranee Rajah, who is Senior Minister of State for Law and Education, thanked the donors yesterday.

"It is heartening to see them give back to local society... this bodes well for integration."