SINGAPORE — The President’s Challenge 2022 is on track to raise more than $15 million to support low-income families through 82 social service agencies.
Seventy-one organizations, including Far East Organization and Sheng Siong Group, were recognized for their volunteer and fundraising efforts at a dinner reception held Thursday night at the Istana.
In her speech at the event, President Halimah Yacob said low-income families have been hit hardest by the pandemic over the past two years.
For example, the resident unemployment rate for workers who do not belong to the professional, executive, managerial and technical (PMET) categories was 5.1%, higher than that of PMET workers at 3.4%, in June 2021.
“While government support programs have helped them cope with the financial impact of the pandemic, it is essential that they are empowered to become self-sufficient and improve their quality of life in the long term,” he said. she stated.
The 2022 President’s Challenge aims to encourage community efforts to empower low-income families with skills and opportunities, to mitigate the long-term impact of the pandemic.
Ms. Halimah gave the example of how RiverLife Community Services helped Ms. Peh Jin Di, who moved to Singapore after her marriage but found it difficult to integrate into the local culture. Ms. Peh faced a language barrier and limited social support.
The social services agency’s Bless Family program, which is supported by the President’s Challenge, provides families with life skills and financial assistance.
He helped Ms. Peh’s family with their monthly expenses and connected them with volunteers and other families.
The program also provided her children with academic support and character development support. With increased social support, Ms. Peh’s husband has found full-time employment and the family is striving to achieve financial stability, Ms. Halimah said.
Another beneficiary is eight-year-old Sofea Aleesya, who could not read, spell or write due to learning difficulties when she started primary school in 2021.
Her mother, Ms Nurazlin Zakaria, 29, said her husband lost his job as a security guard during the pandemic and they were unable to pay Sofea’s school fees with Ms. Nurazlin as a part-time clinic assistant.
To help Sofea with her studies and provide her with emotional support, the Singapore Children’s Society referred her to CampusImpact, a social service agency that supports children from low-income families.