SINGAPORE- With money tight at home, Ms Selviana Chen was planning to get her six-year-old daughter to wear uniforms handed down by her older siblings when she starts at Xinmin Primary School next year.
On Saturday (Sept 29), however, six-year-old Nancelia Tan was presented with a brand new set of school uniform in her size, which costs about $20, in addition to school shoes and socks that were all placed in a blue and pink school bag for her.
It was part of a charity initiative called Bag to School at the Ci Yuan Community Club in Ang Mo Kio-Hougang constituency.
"It really helps a lot , because there are so many other expenses needed when children start school," said Ms Chen, 42, an infant care assistant at a pre-school. The single mother of four children aged six to 13 earns about $1,000 a month.
Nancelia was among 100 kindergarten children entering Primary 1 next year who had received such school bags containing essential items for school at the community club's Ci Yuan Day event. The charity initiative was launched in July this year.
Residents in the constituency raised a total of $4,350 for the school bags and other essentials, which were distributed to the children from needy families in the neighbourhood.
Ang Mo Kio GRC MP Darryl David, who presented the children with the school bags at a ceremony, said the initiative is unique as it is "by our residents, and for our residents".
Each resident pledged a minimum sum of $50, and the funds were used to purchase items for the children, with their pre-school teachers helping to note the sizes required.
Mr G. Chandrasegar, 49, donated more than $1,000 to the initiative. "Having basic things like school bags, a water bottle and shoes can encourage the children and give them the confidence to study hard," said the businessman, who has three children aged 10 to 15.
The Ci Yuan Community Club is looking to continue with the programme as a long-term initiative to support families with schoolgoing children.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, also an Ang Mo Kio GRC MP, joined residents at the event, which also featured a family carnival with attractions such as a bouncy castle and a photo booth, and offered various learning and craft activities for children and residents. Ci Yuan is part of Mr David's division within Ang Mo Kio GRC.
Ci Yuan Day is held annually to mark the opening of Ci Yuan Community Club three years ago. Last year, 2,000kg of brown rice was distributed to four charities as part of a cycling challenge at Ci Yuan Day.