Idea for ST School Pocket Money Fund inspired by four Comeback Kids

Former Straits Times journalist Braema Mathi mooted the idea of the fund to help needy students.
Former Straits Times journalist Braema Mathi mooted the idea of the fund to help needy students.

A series of reports on four children living in poverty written by former Straits Times journalist Braema Mathi was the inspiration behind The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund in 2000.

The Comeback Kids - so called because of their tenacity in wanting to get good grades despite their challenging circumstances - prompted an outpouring of concern and public donations.

This led Ms Mathi to moot the idea of the fund to provide pocket money for children of low-income families. She said: "I felt that we had to do more beyond helping these four children. We could not put out story after story; we had to put in place an approach to collect money and help other students."

Now a visiting senior research fellow at the Penang Institute in Malaysia, Ms Mathi recalls the early objective of having a system in place that would make the fund sustainable in the long run.

On Oct 20, 2010, the fund was established as a trust with a board of trustees. It was granted charity status on Nov 14, 2011, with Institution of a Public Character status from Jan 1, 2012.

In 2013, the fund extended its financial assistance to post-secondary students studying in junior colleges, polytechnics or the Institute of Technical Education, who each receive $120 a month.

Noting the growth of the fund through the years, Ms Mathi said: "It is with utmost thankfulness that I appreciate what the fund has done when it became embedded in ST's community effort."

 
 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 01, 2020, with the headline 'Idea for ST School Pocket Money Fund inspired by four Comeback Kids'. Subscribe