SINGAPORE - An annual charity drive for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan was officially launched at Joo Chiat Complex on Sunday (May 21) afternoon.
The Tabung Amal Aidilfitri (TAA) Trust Fund, a collaboration among 17 Malay/Muslim organisations, installed two donation boxes at the shopping centre in Geylang Serai.
TAA has set a fundraising target of $850,000 for this year's campaign, which runs until June 30 and has the theme "Meringankan Beban, Membina Harapan" (Lightening the Load, Building Hope).
TAA Trust Fund executive committee head Muhammad Harmizan Abdul Hamid said: "TAA, as a body that focuses on providing assistance in the month of Ramadan, can continue to play a role to give hope to recipients of TAA and thus ease the burden on them."
The fund disburses its collection by direct debit to its beneficiaries at the end of Ramadan.
Mr Harmizan also said that TAA is looking into partnerships with other agencies that can give needy beneficiaries assistance year-round.
Last year, TAA raised almost $800,000 for its roughly 3,000 beneficiaries - a record sum for the fund. Out of that, $135,195 came from the donation boxes at Joo Chiat Complex.
In all, TAA will have around 70 donation boxes islandwide, and is also collecting money through appeal letters, telepoll calls and Friday collections at mosques.
The Joo Chiat Complex Traders Association, which has around 60 members, will take part in the fundraising campaign again this year. It has been doing so for the last eight year.
Miss Tan Sai Ngin, 57, who runs Kim Textiles & Garments at Joo Chiat Complex said in Mandarin: "We give according to our ability... People of all religions can give."
In addition to donating to the fund, shopkeepers also help to keep an eye on the donation boxes, such as storing it under lock and key in their premises after hours.
"Sometimes, if the money is sticking out, we will help to push it in, or call TAA to come and collect the funds," said Miss Tan.
The event on Sunday was attended by Senior Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth and Trade and Industry, Ms Sim Ann.