SINDA increased the number of recipients for the school festival vouchers to 4,200 this year, up from 3,500 in 2020. This is also the largest number of recipients since 2008 when Back to School Festival (BTSF) programme was launched.
This year, SINDA also increased the quantum of the BTSF vouchers, to $200 worth of stationery and shoe vouchers – an increase from $180 in prior years.
Commenting on the increase, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office and Second Minister for Finance and National Development, Ms Indranee Rajah, said: “SINDA has been targeting the bottom 20% in terms of household income. But with Covid-19, the people who need help will extend beyond the bottom 20% and it may extend to the next 30%.”
CEO of SINDA, Mr Anbarasu Rajendran, said: “No student should be deprived of adequate support due to their family’s financial circumstances. BTSF is one part of our holistic, multi-level education support, and we hope that these school kits and increased quantum will be useful for our students and their families.”
Among the recipients of the BTSF vouchers were the granddaughters of Mdm Nisa (not her real name), who became the primary caregiver for them after her two daughters were incarcerated.
These vouchers I receive allow me to go to school with new shoes every year and also buy many of my school essentials.”
– Racheal Yuvarani Ramakrishnan, 15
Mdm Nisa faced tremendous challenges in supporting her grandchildren but after she was introduced to SINDA through the Prison Reintegration Programme in 2020, she has been receiving assistance from several SINDA initiatives – Hello Baby Hamper, SINDA Community Assistance Fund and Festive Gift Packs.
Mdm Nisa said: “With the new school year coming soon, I was worried on how I would be able to purchase the necessary stationeries and school books for my grandchildren but SINDA’s BTSF kits has eased all of those concerns.”
Racheal Yuvarani Ramakrishnan, 15, another beneficiary said: “These vouchers I receive allow me to go to school with new shoes every year and also buy many of my school essentials.”
“I hope and know that soon, I will not be eligible to receive the vouchers because my mother with her determination will continue to progress in her career. But both of us will still be part of SINDA to give back to others,” she added.
All 4,200 families receiving SINDA’s BTSF kits are within a low household Per Capita Income (PCI). Each BTSF voucher contains $140 stationery vouchers and $60 shoe vouchers.
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