SINGAPORE - The President’s Challenge 2022 is on track to raise more than $15 million to support low-income families from 82 social service agencies.
Seventy-one organisations, including Far East Organization and Sheng Siong Group, were recognised for their volunteering and fund-raising efforts at a dinner reception held on Thursday evening at the Istana.
In her speech at the event, President Halimah Yacob said low-income families have been more affected by the pandemic in the last two years.
For instance, the resident unemployment rate of non-professional, managerial, executive, and technical (PMET) workers stood at 5.1 per cent, higher than that of PMET workers at 3.4 per cent, in June 2021.
“While government support schemes have helped them cope with the financial impact of the pandemic, it is critical that they are empowered to achieve self-reliance and improved quality of life in the long run,” she said.
President’s Challenge 2022 is focused on supporting lower-income families to encourage community efforts to empower these families with skills and opportunities, to mitigate the long-term impact of the pandemic.
Madam Halimah gave the example of how RiverLife Community Services helped Mrs Peh Jin Di, who relocated to Singapore after marriage, but struggled to integrate into the local culture, with a language barrier and limited social support.
The social service agency’s Bless Family programme, which is supported by the President’s Challenge, equips families with life skills and financial assistance.
It helped Mrs Peh’s family cope with their monthly expenses and connected them with volunteers and other families.
The programme also gave her children academic and character development support.
With the increased social support, Mrs Peh’s husband found a full-time job and the family is working towards achieving financial stability, said Madam Halimah.
Another beneficiary is eight-year-old Sofea Aleesya, who could not read, spell or write due to learning difficulties when she started Primary 1 in 2021.
Her mother, Ms Nurazlin Zakaria, 29, said her husband had lost his job as a security guard during the pandemic, and they were unable to afford tuition for Sofea with Ms Nurazlin’s salary as a part-time clinic assistant.
To help Sofea in her studies and provide emotional suppo...