Coronavirus pandemic

Free student care services to help job-hunting parents

To help ease the financial burden of parents who have lost their jobs, two student care centres here are offering three months' worth of student care services for free.

The centres in Bedok and Jurong are run by the Singapore Muslim Women's Association (PPIS). The initiative is for primary school-going children of all races who may not have after-school care arrangements outside their homes.

"Under normal circumstances, we would be unable to offer complimentary spaces at our centre. However, these are extraordinary times. Many families are facing job and financial uncertainties due to the Covid-19 situation," said Bedok centre supervisor Zaleha Ahmad.

She added that PPIS hopes that parents will have peace of mind while searching for jobs, knowing their children will be looked after and their homework will be supervised after school.

PPIS also hopes to lift their worries about fees while in a difficult financial situation.

The free spaces will be offered for three months and if the need arises, PPIS will continue to assist where possible, she said.

To be eligible, a child has to be Singaporean or have an immediate family member who is Singaporean, and the family's monthly household income should be under $2,400 or under $600 per capita. Parents must be actively looking for a job or already working.

Anyone can apply, though the centres have reserved 20 spaces at both locations for new enrolments, so it will be first-come-first-serve. Existing students who meet the criteria will automatically qualify.

Madam Nadirah Tugiman, 35, who is currently unemployed, will benefit from the free student care services for her three school-going children aged seven, eight and 12.

She said that she was very grateful for the initiative and it would definitely help with the family's financial burden. Her husband Anuar Abdul Karim, 48, works as a logistics driver.

Madam Nadirah said: "With my three children enrolled in PPIS Student Care Centre (Bedok), I am able to focus on looking for a job to support my family.

"I deeply appreciate the empathy that goes into providing such services to help families like mine."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 01, 2020, with the headline Free student care services to help job-hunting parents. Subscribe