Singapore

More than 100 people helping lower-income kids in Chai Chee

A diverse group of more than 100 people - students, retirees, housewives and professionals from fields such as law and technology - is helping children from lower-income families in Chai Chee.

The volunteers are part of KidzCare@Kembangan-Chai Chee, an initiative under the Kembangan Chai Chee Youth Network.

It was founded seven years ago by two friends - Mr Jarel Tang, 25, a management consultant, and Mr Fung Chun Chang, 28, a business development manager at an artificial intelligence start-up.

Mr Tang said: "Not every child may have the same starting point in terms of family resources. Our hope is that we can provide the children with some additional support so that every child has the opportunities to succeed in life, and along the way, provide their families with a better future as well."

FREE PROGRAMMES

The group, one of several helping children in need, serves about 150 children through its free programmes, including its first - a homework club where students can get help with their schoolwork from volunteers - and tuition programmes for Primary 5 and 6 pupils and lower-secondary students.

It also has a reading programme for kindergarten and lower primary pupils.

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, the group also organised excursions to places of interest for the children several times a year. Earlier this month, this resumed with a trip to Jurong Bird Park.

When the group began, the homework club was held using foldable tables and chairs at an open-air pavilion near rental blocks in Chai Chee.

ESR-Reit, which operates Viva Business Park in the area, has now allowed the group to use air-conditioned classrooms in the building for free, said Mr Tang.

Through the programmes, the children have been able to cope better in school, as well as develop self-confidence and values like discipline and respect for others, said Mr Tang.

"We don't want to be a tuition centre or a daycare centre, but a community - or a kampung - which comes together to help those among us who need a bit more support," he added. - THE STRAITS TIMES

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