New support programme for low-income women

WOMEN from low-income families will soon have grassroots volunteers visit them regularly, introduce them to financial management workshops and guide them on skills upgrading.

The visits are part of a new programme called SG50 Women Care launched by the People's Association (PA) yesterday.

The programme will provide low-income families with community support and networks, going beyond financial assistance, said Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State for Health and Manpower.

She also leads the Women's Integration Network Council, a grassroots body for women under the PA.

A key part of the programme is for trained volunteers, who are called the Women's Executive Committee befrienders, to guide the women on the use of their SkillsFuture Credit when it is launched next year.

As announced in the Budget, Singaporeans aged above 25 will receive an initial $500 of SkillsFuture Credit for use on courses to upgrade themselves.

Dr Khor announced the programme yesterday at a carnival organised by the Women's Integration Network for underprivileged women and their families. The 1,700 people who attended took part in games and were treated to local food. Five hundred low-income women were given care packages with food, enrolment passes for courses and supermarket vouchers.

Ms Jessica Ong, 34, one of the 600 befrienders, said the SG50 Women Care programme will let volunteers like herself better inform low-income women of available programmes, especially the financial literacy workshop.

The brand strategist, who has been a befriender for a year, felt the workshops were useful for underprivileged women who often find it hard to manage money.

One of them is Ms Sugimah Adanan, 40, who is looking forward to attending the workshop, which will cost her just $10 after subsidy. The receptionist, who is going through a divorce, takes home $1,600 every month and has to feed four children, her intellectually-disabled brother and a maid, who takes care of her five-year-old son.

Guest of honour Grace Fu, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office, also expressed her get-well wishes for former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew, who has been in hospital since Feb 5 for severe pneumonia.

Ms Fu dedicated an SG50 flower mural to Mr Lee, saying it is a representation of the get-well wishes of Singaporean women for him. The mural was made from 50,000 handcrafted flowers.

This article was first published on March 23, 2015.
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