Back to school support for needy students

Madam Animaton Mohd Tahil with her two sons, Mohammad Danial, 13 (centre) and Mohammad Diniy, 11. The boys received new school bags and bookstore vouchers for the upcoming school term.
Madam Animaton Mohd Tahil with her two sons, Mohammad Danial, 13 (centre) and Mohammad Diniy, 11. The boys received new school bags and bookstore vouchers for the upcoming school term.ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

SINGAPORE - An accident in June left Madam Animaton Mohd Tahil unable to work, and her family of five without a source of income.

Her job as an inventory inspector required her to stand for up to 12 hours a day, which the 46-year-old can no longer do because of a foot injury.

Madam Animaton's husband is unemployed, and the family has been relying on assistance from the Social Service Office. Providing for the couple's three sons, aged 11, 13 and 16, is a struggle.

"Sometimes they will give me words of encouragement or say they want to find a job. When they talk like that, it makes me want to cry," she said.

With a new school year coming up, the family was worried about paying for new supplies, but on Sunday (Dec 16) they received some welcome relief.

The boys were among 166 students from low-income families who received new school bags and bookstore vouchers for the upcoming school term.

The beneficiaries, aged between seven and 21 years old, also received $60 in supermarket vouchers and other items under the Pack My Backpack initiative organised by the Sembawang Community Club's youth executive committee.

"My boys couldn't sleep last night; they were so excited to get their new backpacks," said Madam Animaton.

"I'm so happy, we can use the vouchers to buy stationery and groceries," she added.

A $200 bursary consisting of bookstore and supermarket vouchers was also given out to the families of 137 pre-schoolers aged between five and six, to help them defray schooling and household expenses.

They were disbursed by the North West Community Development Council, which raised the money for 1,400 students across the North West district.

Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan, who is an MP for Sembawang GRC, handed out tokens of appreciation to sponsors including Leong Guan Food Trading.

The event at Sembawang Community Club brought together 100 youth volunteers, community partners and sponsors, and included games and activities to teach the students financial literacy concepts and encourage more residents to go green.

Mr Rahmat Muhamed Abdullah, who works in shipping, was at the event with his wife and two sons, aged three and five.

"My wife and I both work full time so being able to spend quality time with our kids here is great, and the vouchers will help with our expenses," said Mr Rahmat, 33.