SINGAPORE - To help defray expenses for lower-income families with children, more financial aid will be given to those in the Chinese community in the coming months.
The Chinese Development Assistance Council (CDAC) announced on Monday (April 20) that it will be providing further assistance to these families with school-going or young children in two more ways.
A one-time education grant of $300 will be given out to 10,000 beneficiary households with school-going or young children from May onwards. No application is required.
One household that will receive the grant is Madam Yeong, 47, an administrative assistant, her 50-year-old husband, and their three children aged 19, 15, and 10.
“The money can help with buying resources like story books to supplement my children’s studies,” said Madam Yeong, who did not want to give her full name, in Mandarin.
During this period, her husband, who works as a cashier, has been converted from full-time to part-time staff, resulting in a pay cut of almost half.
“Any money now is helpful,” added Madam Yeong, who will also be applying for a bursary through CDAC for her two younger children.
The CDAC's Youth Empowerment and Aspiration Programme Grant, meant to help with educational expenses, will also be given to more post-secondary students.
In March, the number of students set to receive this $720 grant was 3,200.
This number will be increased to 5,000 as post-secondary institutions are invited to nominate eligible students.
The grant will be given to the students through their institutions from June.
In a Facebook post on Monday, Education Minister Ong Ye Kung who is also CDAC chairman, said this would be twice the number of recipients as compared to last year.
“These families and students will also be invited to the CDAC Ready for School project at the end of the year to receive additional support, such as vouchers for transport and school supply,” he said.
“Self-help groups such as CDAC will do the best we can to help Singapore families go through this crisis,” added Mr Ong.
These two moves will be funded by the $5 million grant the CDAC will be receiving from the Government as part of the funds set aside for self-help groups in Budget 2020.
The $5 million will also fund other previously announced CDAC initiatives to help those affected by the coronavirus outbreak.
These include a one-time $100 assistance for those retrenched and reopening bursary applications for 2020.
Earlier this month, Yayasan Mendaki, a self-help group that caters to the Malay-Muslim community, had said that its existing applicants for the tertiary tuition fee subsidies scheme could reapply if their household income had been affected by the Covid-19 situation. They would then benefit from a higher subsidy.
It is also providing an allowance to Institute of Technical Education students who have lost part-time jobs or their parents have lost their jobs, to cover meals and transport when school reopens.
The Eurasian Association has also devised a slew of measures to help its community, including a monthly $500 cash grant for those who had lost their jobs or taken a pay cut, for up to three months, and a one-time grant for urgent and immediate needs.
It also increased its pocket money fund payout to students by $100 a month, capped at nine months, while those on its bursary would receive an additional $75 to $100 a month till September, according to its Facebook page.
The Singapore Indian Development Association (Sinda) said that its current schemes are able to meet the needs of its community.
It is also channelling more resources into these schemes to support more people, and will help on a case by case basis if someone needs help but does not meet the schemes’ criteria.