ST fund set to benefit over 10,000 kids this year

Mr Warren Fernandez, chairman of The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund, receiving a donation of $500,000 from Mini Environment Service Group founder and CEO Mohamed Abdul Jaleel yesterday. With them were Mr Jaleel's son Mohamed Jinna and grandch
Mr Warren Fernandez, chairman of The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund, receiving a donation of $500,000 from Mini Environment Service Group founder and CEO Mohamed Abdul Jaleel yesterday. With them were Mr Jaleel's son Mohamed Jinna and grandchildren (from right) Subhaan, Raihan, Ayaana and Shyaan.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

Arthur Albuero, a Secondary 4 student from Chung Cheng High School (Yishun), previously had to take on part-time employment, such as working as a banquet waiter, for his allowances.

But since the middle of this year, the 17-year-old has been receiving $95 each month from The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund (STSPMF).

He now has more time to focus on preparing for his upcoming O-level examinations.

"I am very grateful for the opportunity to focus more on my studies. My mum doesn't need to worry about our expenses now," he said.

Arthur was among the beneficiaries at STSPMF's annual appreciation day yesterday, held at the Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) News Centre's auditorium in Toa Payoh.

The fund, which gives an allowance to children from low-income families, has helped a total of 150,693 beneficiaries and disbursed $55.3 million over the past 16 years.

At the event, Mr Warren Fernandez, editor of The Straits Times and SPH's editor-in-chief of the English/Malay/Tamil Media group, who is chairman of STSPMF, announced that the fund has disbursed more than $5 million in the first nine months of this year to about 8,000 students, and the amount is estimated to hit $7 million by the end of the year, reaching more than 10,000 beneficiaries.

This is an appreciable rise from last year, when $2.9 million was disbursed in the entire year, according to the 2016 annual report.

The fund started partnering over 200 mainstream schools in disbursing pocket money to needy students this year, and has disbursed close to $4 million through the schools. The remaining sum was disbursed through 71 social service agencies.

Yesterday, Mr Mohamed Abdul Jaleel, founder and chief executive of the Mini Environment Service Group, which provides integrated property and logistics solutions, presented Mr Fernandez with a cheque for a $500,000 donation.

Mr Jaleel has donated about $2.5 million to STSPMF since 2010. "I have benefited from the country that has been supporting me all this while. Contributing back to society is something good," he said.

A new logo for the fund, featuring a cleaner look and a bigger heart, was launched at the event.

Potential applicants may approach disbursing agencies to assess their eligibility and apply for the fund. Application through schools has closed, and will resume in the middle of next year.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 29, 2017, with the headline 'ST fund set to benefit over 10,000 kids this year'. Print Edition | Subscribe