New initiative in Marsiling to offer more help to underprivileged

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Minister of State for National Development and Manpower Zaqy Mohamad penning their best wishes at the annual Marsiling Community Day yesterday, when the Marsiling Cares initiative was launched.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Minister of State for National Development and Manpower Zaqy Mohamad penning their best wishes at the annual Marsiling Community Day yesterday, when the Marsiling Cares initiative was launched.ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

An initiative launched yesterday will provide Marsiling's underprivileged residents with even more support by stringing together a series of new and existing programmes in the estate.

Marsiling Cares aims to foster a neighbourly community in the area.

Led by Marsiling grassroots volunteers and community partners, the programmes include tuition for less privileged children in English and mathematics, and the setting up of a social service hub to help vulnerable families

The initiative was launched by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who was joined by Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC grassroots organisations' advisers Lawrence Wong, Zaqy Mohamad, Ong Teng Koon and Alex Yam at an event at Marsiling Park.

Mr Zaqy, who is also Minister of State for National Development and Manpower, said: "Marsiling Cares strings together many of our help initiatives so that we can leverage on our resident outreach and make available to them a range of initiatives depending on what they need."

Marsiling will be among the estates where the first four Community Link hubs will be set up over the next two years, as announced by Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee in Parliament last Tuesday.

The other estates are Boon Lay, Jalan Kukoh and Kembangan-Chai Chee. These locations were chosen as they have a sizeable number of families with children living in rental flats.

CARING FOR OTHERS AT 80

We should do our part to help others who are not as fortunate. I will continue to help until my body is not able to do this any more.

MR HUANG LIANG RUI, an 80-year-old retiree who has been helping out for the past two years. He collects unsold bread from a nearby bakery as early as 5am each day and distributes it to elderly residents who live alone.

Community Link, which aims to provide customised support for vulnerable families, will include spaces for the community, including businesses and residents, to run programmes or deliver services to help those in need.

A local work group will pinpoint the needs of the Marsiling community and plan for services at the programme space.

Among the other programmes under the initiative is the Marsiling Progress Class, where about 40 volunteers, including teachers, offer tuition to underprivileged children at the Marsiling Community Club every Sunday.

The children are grouped according to their level and learning speed so that they can learn better within small groups.

Another existing programme, KelasMateMatika - a collaboration between three key Malay/Muslim organisations, Mendaki, the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore and the People's Association Malay Activity Executive Committees Council - equips low-income families with techniques they can use to help their pre-school children grasp basic maths concepts.

It is intended to help these children have a good start in education. During the sessions, children are exposed to maths concepts like numbers and shapes, while parents pick up techniques they can use to help their children improve.

Yesterday's launch was part of the annual Marsiling Community Day, which saw more than 2,500 residents and their families participate in activities ranging from batik painting to cultural performances.

In his speech, Mr Zaqy commended residents who have helped to build a caring community.

One such resident is Mr Huang Liang Rui, who collects unsold bread from a nearby bakery as early as 5am each day and distributes it to elderly residents who live alone.

The 80-year-old retiree, who has been helping out for the past two years, said: "We should do our part to help others who are not as fortunate. I will continue to help until my body is not able to do this any more."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 11, 2019, with the headline 'New initiative in Marsiling to offer more help to underprivileged'. Print Edition | Subscribe