SINGAPORE - The Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) announced on Wednesday that it is disbursing $10.4 million from zakat funds to poor and needy families this year - an increase of around $400,000 from last year.
Zakat is the annual tithe collection from the Muslim community.
As part of this year's annual Ramadan bonus disbursement, more than $1.34 million from its funds will be given to 9,564 recipients.
However, the number of families eligible for this year's bonus has dropped by 10 per cent from last year. Muis said this is mainly due to a larger number of those who successfully completed its Empowerment Partnership Scheme (EPS).
This helps them become self-reliant through social and educational programmes and religious counselling.
The drop was also a result of fewer new applicants seeking help.
At Wednesday's Ramadan bonus disbursement ceremony held at Hajjah Rahimabi Kebun Limau mosque in Kim Keat Road, about 135 recipients received a hamper filled with Hari Raya goodies.
At the event, Muis president Alami Musa also announced a financial coaching programme for needy families and a "case work" scheme.
The latter, to be rolled out next month, will see 75 families attached to social development officers in selected mosques for two years so they can receive intensive support and guidance.
Among guests at Wednesday's event was former EPS participant Rokiya Camaloudine, 38. The freelance administrative worker had a mild stroke in 2010 and is currently completing her diploma in merchandising and textile with support from the programme. Her husband could take on only ad hoc jobs so he could take care of her and their six children.
She has made steady progress in her recovery.
"The programme gave us the chance to upgrade our skills," she said. "It also gave us the support and confidence to keep our family together."
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