SINGAPORE – Over the past year, the Covid-19 pandemic has greatly affected the lives and livelihoods of many, especially lower-income families.
So President Halimah Yacob has announced that the President’s Challenge 2022 will focus on “Supporting Lower-Income Families”.
The announcement was made after her visit on Thursday (July 22) morning to Fei Yue Family Service Centre (Choa Chu Kang), where she interacted with three beneficiaries and learnt about the centre’s core services and programme.
Madam Halimah said lower income families were the worst affected by Covid-19, and this could be seen in the statistics. The resident unemployment rate of non-PMET workers had increased from 4.7 per cent in 2019 to 6.4 per cent in 2020, she said. PMET refers to professionals, managers, executives and technicians.
She complemented Fei Yue Family Service Centre for its efforts in the range of support services it offers, such as Threads of Courage, which supports lower-income women to earn supplementary income through home-based sewing projects.
Madam Halimah also recognised the centre’s effort in working with other agencies to get refurbished computers for children from lower-income families for home-based learning during the pandemic.
She hoped the President’s Challenge would continue to support community efforts to provide assistance and aid to lower-income families.
“It will continue to provide access to resources for children and youth for their education, and also for workers to help them to upgrade their skills, so they can transit to better jobs with better paying income,” she said.
“This is where I think we can see a close partnership between the people, private and public sectors, which is very important in my view, if we want to build a truly inclusive, cohesive and resilient society where everyone supports each other.”
Since 2018, the President’s Challenge has been focused on providing more customised and upstream support to help the most vulnerable change their circumstances through skills upgrading, capacity building and empowerment.
Its previous focus areas were mental health in 2019 and empowering people with disabilities in 2020. This year, it focuses on building a digitally inclusive society.
Madam Fan Bee Eng, 52, a packer, was introduced to the Threads of Courage programme at Fei Yue Family Service Centre in 2018.
At first, she was worried that she would not be able to cope as she did not have any sewing skills.
However, with training and practice, she is now able to sew a range of items, such as soft toys, masks and sanitiser holders. She even helped to train other women in the programme.
She said in Mandarin: “I am really grateful for the opportunity. The programme helped to increase my self-confidence. I look forward to learning to sew more items.”
Applications for President’s Challenge funding can bemade from Aug 16 to Sept 17.
Agencies with an Institutions of a Public Character (IPC) status that remains valid in the financial year when the funds are disbursed may visit www.presidentschallenge.gov.sg to download the application form.
If they have further enquries on the application criteria and processes, they may contact the President’s Challenge Secretariat at email@example.com.