UOB pledges $500k to ST pocket money fund

Seven beneficiaries of The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund posed for a picture at yesterday's cheque presentation event with (from left) ST executive editor Sumiko Tan, Mr Eric Tham, Mr Warren Fernandez and STSPMF general manager Tan Bee Heong
Seven beneficiaries of The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund posed for a picture at yesterday's cheque presentation event with (from left) ST executive editor Sumiko Tan, Mr Eric Tham, Mr Warren Fernandez and STSPMF general manager Tan Bee Heong.ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

United Overseas Bank (UOB) has pledged $500,000 to The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund (STSPMF) to help children from low-income families buy textbooks and meals during recess.

Yesterday, Mr Eric Tham, managing director and head of group commercial banking at UOB, presented a cheque to Mr Warren Fernandez, chairman of the fund and editor-in-chief of Singapore Press Holdings' English/Malay/Tamil Media Group.

The amount was part of the funds raised at the bank's annual Chinese New Year dinner in February when 1,200 business owners from the region came together to raise more than $1.6 million.

UOB, which first donated to the STSPMF in 2001, contributed a total of $900,000 to the fund in 2016 and last year.

The fund was set up in 2000 by The Straits Times as a community project to provide children with pocket money for school-related expenses. It now supports over 10,000 children from low-income families every year.

Seven beneficiaries between the ages of seven and 14 were present during the event yesterday, and were given goodie bags filled with stationery.

Said Amin Haqimi, 12: "Right now, I have to take a long walk to school and it's a bit tiring. The extra money will help me to buy a bike and make the journey easy."

The Primary 6 pupil from Xinghua Primary School added that the funds would ease the burden on his father, who works as a delivery man.

Primary 3 pupil Zelfee Sarbani from Yio Chu Kang Primary said that he would save the additional pocket money he gets to enrol in tuition classes for mathematics, a subject that the eight-year-old struggles with in school.

Mr Fernandez said he was grateful to UOB for donating generously and consistently to the fund over the years.

"UOB's dedication to the cause of helping these children is commendable. They share our core belief in wanting to help these children in a very real and direct way. We hope to have their support well into the future."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 30, 2018, with the headline 'UOB pledges $500k to ST pocket money fund'. Print Edition | Subscribe