Jamiyah launches new scheme to help needy couples learn about upgrading and healthy marriages

SINGAPORE - Muslim organisation Jamiyah Singapore launched a new initiative on Saturday for married couples with families in need of assistance.

Under the Empowering and Caring for Families programme, couples will be encouraged to upgrade their work skills and maintain healthy marriages while practising positive parenting.

For a start, 60 people in Jamiyah Welfare's food ration programme will be enrolled. They are from intact families with an average of two school-going children, and have average household incomes of $1,055.

Associate Professor Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim, Parliamentary Secretary for Social and Family Development and Education, said: "The best gift parents can give their children is a stable and strong marriage. A conducive home environment is an important base for children to grow, learn and excel."

He added, speaking as the guest of honour at the launch event for the programme, that capability building and the upgrading and renewal of skills are needed to survive in the future, as emphasised by Jamiyah in the programme.

The new programme, which is supported by the Ministry of Social and Family Development, consists of five modules of two hours each, held over the course of five months followed by counselling and case management. After completing each module, the families will receive food rations and will be visited regularly at their homes to talk about their needs.

Cases seen by Jamiyah's counselling centre suggested that most marriage breakdowns it saw were due to financial issues, which is why the programme aims to motivate participants to take up professional courses to improve their financial standing and become self-reliant.

Jamiyah's community outreach and development department director Abdul Halim Aliman said his department, which was formed in October last year, hopes to work closer with more stakeholders such as family service centres, social service offices, mosques, grassroots organisations, local Members of Parliament, and schools.

"We hope to expand and enhance outreach to the community in the Housing Board heartlands," he said at Jamiyah Singapore's premises in Geylang.