Annual Ramadan charity drive aims to raise funds and awareness through social media initiative

SINGAPORE - Visually impaired, Mr Mohammad Hassan Abu Bakar, 51, ekes out a living selling tissue paper in Tampines.

But he never fails to donate his Friday morning earnings to a mosque in Tampines.

Such a culture of giving whatever one has, develops the values that bring people forward as a society, said Dr Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim, Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Social and Family Development & Ministry of Education on Friday night (May 4), as he launched an annual charity drive for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Mr Mohammad Hassan is himself one of the beneficiaries of the donation campaign by the Tabung Amal Aidilfitri (TAA) Trust Fund, a collaboration of 17 Malay/Muslim organisations with the mission of helping the poor, needy and less fortunate.

In promoting a culture of giving, TAA hopes to raise $850,000 for this year's campaign, to run until June 30.

Donation boxes have been set up in locations such as mosques, food and beverage outlets, and communal areas.

TAA executive committee head, Mr Harmizan Abdul Hamid, says this year's campaign will use social media to address and increase the awareness of issues faced by the beneficiaries.

Both Muslim and non-Muslim, beneficiaries have a per capita income or total household income of below $500 and $1,500 respectively.

TAA said it has received 3,300 requests for assistance, a 10 per cent increase in the number over last year's (2017).

However, donations from boxes at three prime locations, namely Tanjong Katong Complex, Joo Chiat Complex and Geylang Serai Market, declined by nine per cent last year over the previous year.

This year, TAA is seeking to increase the number of corporate involvements and community support to expand their disbursement to more households.

Getting help through other means is also necessary as increased security policies have reduced the number of donation boxes installed. TAA is looking into developing more secure boxes as a solution.

Mr Mohamed Zahid Mohd Yassin, 36, is a wheelchair user who is both a beneficiary and a volunteer with TAA's fundraising efforts. Expressing his gratitude for the support that TAA has given him and his family, the owner of a pizza business said: "I treat myself as a normal person who wants to contribute to the community as well. I want to give back. I will continue to volunteer as long as my hands can keep me moving around."