President's Challenge 2022 to support lower-income families

The Covid-19 pandemic has had an impact on many lives and livelihoods, and President's Challenge 2022 will be themed "Supporting Lower-Income Families" to focus on the most affected group.

President Halimah Yacob announced this yesterday during her visit to Fei Yue Family Service Centre in Choa Chu Kang, where she noted that lower-income families were disproportionately affected by Covid-19.

She commended Fei Yue Family Service Centre for its range of services to help such families, such as Threads of Courage, which supports lower-income women in earning supplementary income through home-based sewing projects. Madam Halimah also recognised the centre's effort in working with other agencies to get refurbished computers for children from lower-income families for home-based learning.

She hoped the President's Challenge would continue to support community efforts to provide assistance and aid to lower-income families. She said: "It will continue to provide access to resources for children and youth for their education, and also for workers to help them to upgrade their skills, so they can transition to better jobs with better-paying income."

"This is where we can see a close partnership between the people, private and public sectors, which is very important if we want to build a truly inclusive, cohesive and resilient society where everyone supports each other."

Since 2018, the President's Challenge has been focused on providing more customised, upstream support to help the most vulnerable change their circumstances through skills upgrading, capacity building and empowerment. Its previous focus areas were mental health in 2019 and empowering people with disabilities last year.

This year, it is focusing on building a digitally inclusive society.

Madam Fan Bee Eng, 52, a packer, was introduced to Threads of Courage at Fei Yue Family Service Centre in 2018. At first, she was worried that she would not be able to cope, as she did not have any sewing skills. However, with training and practice, she is now able to sew a range of items, such as soft toys, masks and sanitiser holders. She even helped to train other women in the programme.

She said: "I am really grateful for the opportunity. The programme helped to increase my self-confidence. I look forward to learning to sew more items."

Applications for President's Challenge funding can be made from Aug 16 to Sept 17. Agencies with an Institution of Public Character status may visit the website for the application form.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 23, 2021, with the headline 'President's Challenge 2022 to support lower-income families'. Subscribe