Free online tutoring for students in need
Singaporeans are coming together to make a difference and help those in need, from giving online tuition to underprivileged students, to photographers selling prints to help virus-hit migrant workers, and hawkers delivering free meals to those who cannot afford one
With four children at home, she was under pressure when home-based learning (HBL) started last week.
The 40-year-old single mother, who wanted to be known only as Madam Lana, told The New Paper she was worried about her children's studies, particularly her oldest son, who was preparing for his N-level examinations this year.
Madam Lana, who is unemployed, said: "They all worry about how HBL will affect their grades. Tuition is expensive, it is a problem for us."
The family received a boost when mum discovered a new initiative offering free tuition for underprivileged children, called Covid-19 Tutoring Support for Students (CTSS).
The programme, launched on April 3 by a group of six young adults, aged 19 to 22, is led by Miss Quek Hui Ying, a history student at the University of Oxford. She returned home as the virus crisis worsened abroad.
Miss Quek, 20, told TNP: "I wanted to start this a while ago. When HBL started, I saw the need and it made things concrete."
The group publicised their initiative online, targeting students from primary to junior college level.
Over 1,300 volunteer tutors have now signed up, with more than 180 students registered. The students have been assigned tutors based on the subjects requested.
Classes started on Sunday and are conducted on a one-to-one basis, through an online tutoring platform.
Aware that the system could be taken advantage of, the CTSS team get tutors to sign a code of conduct before teaching. The tutor and student fill out a form after each class for the team to check what was taught and gather feedback.
Miss Quek said: "There are concerns but I am optimistic. I believe the students who really need the support will sign up."
Madam Lana and her children live in a three-room shelter home in Yishun. The children use tablets and a Wi-Fi router loaned to them by the school.
Said a grateful mum: "I am not very educated in their subjects, so its good my children get help with subjects like mathematics and English."
Miss Colleen Soh, 18, from Tampines Meridian Junior College, believes the tuition could help her. The humanities student, who gets financial aid from her school, said: "Tuition for arts subjects is expensive... with A levels coming, this could help a lot."
Visit covidtutoringsupport.weebly.com for more information.
Singaporean photographers raising funds for migrant workers
Eight Singaporean photographers are selling prints of their old works to raise funds for migrant workers affected by Covid-19 and augment existing efforts to help them with food, mental health and employment.
All proceeds will go to Covid Migrant Support Coalition - made up of several non-government organisations - and the Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics (Home).
The online sale was initiated by photographer Darren Soh in collaboration with Objectifs - Centre For Photography And Film. People can buy prints from Objectifs' online store and collect them from May 19 - provided social distancing measures at that time permit this.
The prints - by Darren Soh, AikBeng Chia, Gareth Phua, James Tan, Jimmy Sng, Mindy Tan, Nicky Loh and Tham Kok Leong - cost from $80 to $500.
Mr Soh, 44, who is known for his photos of local architecture, said: "I've always been very aware of migrant workers' work and how they live... They are not invisible to me."
One of his works is a surreal shot of S11 Dormitory @ Punggol, taken in 2014. It was recently made an isolation area after a spike in coronavirus cases there.
"When all this is done and dusted, hopefully this will be a wake-up call on how we treat migrant workers," he added. - THE STRAITS TIMES
Bengs who care: Young hawkers serve up free meals for the needy
If you are hungry and cannot afford a meal, there are hawkers who will deliver one to you for free.
The co-owners of Beng Who Cooks at Hong Lim Market and Food Centre, Mr Jason Chua and Mr Hung Zheng Long, both 28, started the initiative on April 6.
Mr Chua said this came after a friend messaged him about an old man asking strangers for money to eat at a coffee shop.
"It was heartbreaking knowing that people are going around asking for money during this period," he added.
The Beng Who Cares Foundation started by the duo delivers free meals cooked at the hawker stall to the underprivileged.
The cost of the meals, which are protein bowls, is sponsored by Mr Chua's friend, who wants to remain anonymous.
Each bowl would cost a paying customer $6 to $9.
Those who need a free meal can contact Mr Chua on the Beng Who Cooks Instagram account or Facebook page a day in advance. He estimates the stall has given out about $500 worth of meals.
While many people have sent him "long messages" explaining why they need a free meal, Mr Chua said it is not necessary.
"We don't need any reason why you need a free meal, just give us your address," he said.
- THE STRAITS TIMES