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CDAC pledges $36.4m for needy families hit hard by pandemic

Higher budget to help fund children's education and more activities for seniors

Lower-income families hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic can look forward to more help from the Chinese Development Assistance Council (CDAC) next year.

A budget of $36.4 million has been set aside by the CDAC next year to improve its ongoing initiatives such as tutoring and mentoring programmes for students, as well as physical wellness activities targeted at seniors.

In a statement yesterday, the self-help group said the amount pledged is 8.5 per cent higher than its projected spending this year.

Senior Minister of State for Transport and CDAC board member Chee Hong Tat said the council recognised that more families were asking for help during the pandemic and attributed the increased spending to two factors.

He said: "The first reason is that the CDAC wants to continue to provide support for vulnerable families so that they can provide for their children's education. Second, we are also looking to ramp up the activities organised for seniors to maintain their physical and mental well-being."

Mr Chee was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the CDAC's annual Ready for School event, which provides low-income families and their schoolgoing children help in preparing for the coming school year.

Each of the 8,800 beneficiary families will receive vouchers totalling $200 from FairPrice as well as transport e-vouchers.

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About 17,600 schoolgoing children are also entitled to receive vouchers amounting to $80 that can be used for school-related supplies such as textbooks, uniforms and even spectacles. Up to three children from each family will be able to collect the school vouchers.

The event is taking place over three days, from Dec 4 to 6, in the Singapore Sports Hub library and Nanyang Junior College. Other than handing out vouchers, the CDAC is also extending its help to families that require assistance by increasing the duration of casework support to overcome their challenges.

Students who are academically weaker will also get more help with an increase in the number of tuition sessions from 30 to 33 and one-to-one lessons for those requiring more guidance.

The CDAC will also be organising a range of online activities from Dec 9 till 11 such as a virtual tour of the giant panda exhibit, a qigong workshop and a traditional Chinese medicine talk on acupuncture and dynamic breathing.

A motivational talk titled YOUth Can Do It Too! Courage To Conquer will take place on Friday. It is aimed at children aged 12 and above.

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