Strong family ties vital to tackling Covid-19 challenges: Halimah
Strong family ties can provide Singaporeans with the strength and resilience they need to tackle the challenges brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, President Halimah Yacob said yesterday.
"Strong families are the cornerstone of our society. Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, families play an integral role in strengthening our culture of solidarity and cohesiveness.
"The crisis has also reminded us of the importance of cherishing our loved ones," she said in a video message to attendees of the Chinese Development Assistance Council (CDAC) Family Bonding Day @ Home.
The CDAC is a non-profit group for the Chinese community that offers programmes and assistance schemes to help lower-income households.
Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Transport Chee Hong Tat, who is on the CDAC's board of directors, yesterday provided an update on the $10 million the council had earlier earmarked to help families through the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus outbreak.
Speaking to the media, Mr Chee said: "We know families are facing financial difficulties due to the economic and job situation, so CDAC will step up and use some of the resources that we have saved over the years.
"Now is the time for us to use this money to help more families."
The sum will be distributed through existing programmes run by the CDAC, including the Youth Empowerment and Aspiration Programme Grant for post-secondary school students from lower-income families.
Beneficiaries of the $720 grant will nearly double, from 2,600 to 5,000 families.
Furthermore, some 6,000 students currently being helped by the CDAC-Singapore Federation of Chinese Clan Associations (SFCCA) Bursary will not have to reapply for the bursary, but will automatically qualify for it next year.
Primary and secondary school students seeking to apply for next year can do so on the CDAC website.
One current recipient of the CDAC-SFCCA Bursary is Kenny Tan, 13.
The Secondary 1 student from Serangoon Garden Secondary School and his mother, Madam Chong Chiew Lee, were among the 750 families who took part in activities such as playing charades and making Oreo truffles during the CDAC's family day.
Kenny said: "(The bursary) has been very helpful for our family because only my father is working now and I have three siblings...
"A lot of people have lost their jobs due to Covid-19 and some (elderly people) don't have children who can take care of them, so more help will be really good for them."