More than 500 Muslim students receive achievement awards from Mendaki in virtual ceremony

Mr Muhammad Ismail Shogo Sahul Hamid, one of the recipients of the Anugerah Gemilang Mendaki (Pinnacle Award). PHOTO: COURTESY OF NUR DIYANA TAHA

SINGAPORE - More than 500 Muslim students and youth received awards for their achievements from self-help group Yayasan Mendaki on Saturday (Oct 3).

The annual event, which was held virtually this year, celebrates students who displayed exceptional academic performance or excelled in a different area of life.

Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs and Mendaki chairman Masagos Zulkifli, who was guest of honour at the event, applauded the recipients for their achievement and urged the community to stay connected with Mendaki so that they may receive information and support that will help them prepare for what lies ahead.

Said Mr Masagos: "Given the uncertain times, some of you who graduated recently may be facing difficulties securing your ideal jobs. As a resilient community, I encourage you to keep an open mind and leverage on available opportunities, such as the SGUnited Traineeship programme, to gain experience, enhance your skills and build your networks and portfolios."

Four recipients were recognised for their contributions to the community. They received the Anugerah Gemilang Mendaki (Pinnacle Award) for embodying character, competency and citizenry. Among them was Muhammad Ismail Shogo Sahul Hamid, a trained befriender at inmate rehabilitation initiative Family and Inmates Through-care Assistance Haven (Fitrah).

Mr Ismail, 26, is currently pursuing a traineeship at the National University of Singapore's (NUS) Centre for Family and Population Research.

As an undergraduate student reading political science at NUS last year, Mr Ismail was keen on understanding criminality and the ground realities of convicts. He signed up for Fitrah's training programme, juggling the sessions with his studies.

Before Covid-19 disrupted operations, Mr Ismail conducted home visits, assessing inmates' needs and working with incarcerated individuals and with families who have members on death row.

Contrasting his experience in the classroom and at the grassroots level, Mr Ismail said: "When we study about rehabilitation or reintegration in university, we take a theoretical approach, but through Fitrah, I was able to understand the issues on the ground and gather new perspective about how to help these vulnerable groups."

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