Needy medical students at the National University of Singapore (NUS) and aspiring Singaporean social entrepreneurs can look forward to support from the Lotus Life Foundation.
The Singapore-based charity has established two new initiatives with the university - the Lotus-NUS Medical Bursary and the Lotus-NUS Fund .
Under the first one, for each of the next five academic years, up to four financially needy students from the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine will be awarded a bursary valued at $33,600 a year.
The second initiative will provide seed funding for social enterprise start-up projects by Singaporean entrepreneurs. From this year to 2021, up to five entrepreneurs or companies annually will be awarded $25,000 in funding each.
The bursaries will start from the 2017-2018 academic year, while the first disbursement of seed funds will begin this May.
The foundation, which focuses on alleviating poverty in Singapore and Nepal, yesterday made a gift totalling $1.2 million to the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine and NUS Enterprise to fund the two initiatives.
The gift was made with the "hope that the individuals benefitting from our gift will continue for the betterment of society", said Mr Nirmal Singh, chairman of the foundation.
He presented the cheque yesterday to NUS president Tan Chorh Chuan at a ceremony at NUS.
Representatives from both beneficiaries were optimistic about the positive impact of the initiatives.
Assistant dean for student affairs (undergraduate studies) at the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine Marie-Veronique Clement said that she was "really thankful" that the bursary accounted for students' living allowances as well as tuition fees.
She said that with the grant, the school would ensure that their students "could study without having to (worry) about anything else".
Professor Wong Poh Kam, director for the NUS Entrepreneurship Centre, was also hopeful that the Lotus-NUS Fund would help recipients apply their "entrepreneurial energies and technical skills to solve social problems".