Friday, 18 Sep 2020

Strong family bonds will help Singaporeans through Covid-19: President Halimah

SINGAPORE – Strong familial ties can provide Singaporeans with the strength and resilience needed to tackle the challenges brought by the Covid-19 pandemic, said President Halimah Yacob in a video message addressing the participants at the Chinese Development Assistance Council (CDAC) Family Bonding Day @ Home on Sunday (Aug 23).

“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,” said Madam Halimah.

“The crisis has also reminded us of the importance of cherishing our loved ones.”

The CDAC is a non-profit group for the Chinese community which offers programmes and assistance schemes to help lower-income households.

On the same day, Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Transport Chee Hong Tat, who is also on CDAC’s board of directors,  provided an update on the $10 million the council 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 & Aspiration Programme Grant for post-secondary 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 on the CDAC-Singapore Federation of Chinese Clan Associations (SFCCA) Bursary will not have to reapply but will automatically qualify for the bursary next year.

Primary and secondary students seeking to apply for next year can do so on the CDAC website.


Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Transport Chee Hong Tat addresses the participants of the Chinese Development Assistance Council Family Bonding Day @ Home on Aug 23, 2020. ST PHOTO: SHINTARO TAY

One of the current recipients of the CDAC-SFCCA Bursary is 13-year-old Kenny Tan.

The Secondary 1 student from Serangoon Garden Secondary School and his mother, Madam Chong Chiew Lee, were among the 750 families who bonded over activities such as playing charades and making Oreo truffles during CDAC’s family day.

“(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,” he said.

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