Welfare

Bursaries help needy children stay in school

Jan 2014    
The Rev Lim Jen Huat, Pastor-in-Charge of Bedok Methodist Church, presenting the bursary award to a beneficiary.

…“The bursary awards enable the children to start the school year with less anxiety; the amount given helps them to buy textbooks, stationery, and uniforms, which can get increasingly expensive.”

Sam* is a single parent to Zoe* and Jon*. Both children are doing well in school – Zoe is in Primary 4 and Jon is in Secondary 2.

Unfortunately, the family has been without income for the past three years, as Sam has not been able to work, due to a severe spinal injury that was not properly treated after he fell at work. He has mobility problems and suffers from constant pain.

To ensure his children’s continued education, Sam applied for and successfully received Methodist Welfare Services (MWS) bursary awards for his children in 2012 and 2013. These awards have gone a long way to ease Sam’s financial burden as he strives to recover from his injury.

MWS has been giving out bursaries every year to needy children since 1987. This is one of our key outreach strategies, as we believe education plays a vital role to overcoming poverty. We help to supplement their education needs with not just bursaries, but also through tuition support, and other programmes which enrich them in areas they would otherwise be unable to access, such as performing arts and sports.

Awards worth $300, $400 and $600 are given out to help primary, secondary and junior college students to defray education-related and other daily expenses. Our aim is to keep the children in school despite the financial struggles their families might be facing.

MWS Service Planning and Development Manager Mel Lee elaborates: “The bursary awards enable the children to start the school year with less anxiety; the amount given helps them to buy textbooks, stationery, and uniforms, which can get increasingly expensive.”

A total of $258,000 has been given out to more than 720 needy children for this year. 20 Methodist churches have partnered with MWS to disburse the bursaries. Some churches organised home visits to the recipient families as well, while other churches held special award ceremonies.

About 100 of the bursary recipients’ families are also in MWS’ Walk With The Poor (WWTP) Programme, involving befrienders from the Methodist churches’ social concerns and outreach ministries. The WWTP Programme provides monthly financial assistance and befriending to over 300 chronically poor families.

As Charis Methodist Church’s Social Concerns Ministry Chairman Teo Khoon Seng points out:
“It is a targeted effort; our befrienders work very closely with beneficiary families to help their children apply for the bursary. Successful applications are an encouragement to the children for the coming school year and we share in their joy when we give out the awards!”

*names have been changed to protect our beneficiaries’ identities

Get involved with MWS’ efforts to help more children and change their futures for the better: * DONATE to the cause * BEFRIEND needy families Contact Ms Mel Lee at mellee@mws.org.sg

Adeline Huang is an Executive (Communications and Fundraising) at Methodist Welfare Services, and worships at Christ Methodist Church.

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