Murali seeking volunteers to be potential student mentors

Murali seeking volunteers to be potential student mentors
Mr Murali Pillai
PHOTO: The Straits Times

The People's Action Party (PAP) candidate for the Bukit Batok by-election is on the lookout for volunteers and voluntary welfare organisations to be part of a youth mentorship programme that he wants to start if he is elected.

Lawyer Murali Pillai, 48, told reporters yesterday morning that he hopes to have a pool of volunteers to mentor students to help them reach their maximum potential.

He has started taking down names of potential volunteers during his walkabouts.

"The mentoring programme is to make sure our children remain on the path to maximise their opportunities and potential," said Mr Murali.

"Alternatively, they are not given the support to do well in school. These are the issues we need to tackle through a proper mentoring scheme," the head of commercial litigation at law firm Rajah and Tann added.

The volunteers can provide help on two levels. For families with young children, they can guide the parents to strengthen parenting skills while older teenagers can be directly mentored.

For the latter group, Mr Murali hopes to have "volunteers from the school of hard knocks to inspire the children".

The mentorship will focus on children from low-income backgrounds, though he hopes to open it to as many residents as possible.

He also hopes to adapt what is being done at the nearby Jurong GRC to the Bukit Batok constituency. Over there, non-profit welfare organisation Loving Heart reaches out to students studying in the area through sports, tuition and a mentorship programme.

Executive director of the Society of Sheng Hong Welfare Services Sara Tan, a personal friend of Mr Murali, has agreed to advise him in her personal capacity to tailor a programme for Bukit Batok residents.

The proposed mentorship initiative will complement the Dr Ong Chit Chung Bursary Fund for Bukit Batok residents.

Mr Murali had helped set up the fund, named after the late Bukit Batok MP, after he died in 2008.

It targets children from disadvantaged homes who are ineligible for Edusave awards.

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