Bags, vouchers for needy students for the new school year

Madam Animaton Mohd Tahil and two of her sons, Mohammad Danial, 13, and Mohammad Diniy, 11. The boys were among 166 students who received support under the Pack My Backpack initiative.
Madam Animaton Mohd Tahil and two of her sons, Mohammad Danial, 13, and Mohammad Diniy, 11. The boys were among 166 students who received support under the Pack My Backpack initiative.ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

An accident in June left Madam Animaton Mohd Tahil, 46, 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 she 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, the family was worried about paying for new supplies, but yesterday 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," she said.

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.

The event at Sembawang Community Club brought together 100 youth volunteers, community partners and sponsors.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 17, 2018, with the headline 'Bags, vouchers for needy students for the new school year'. Print Edition | Subscribe