GC WSCS-supported programme benefits 261 students compared to 200 in 2007
EIGHT-YEAR-OLD Imran (not his real name) has once again received the Methodist Welfare Services (MWS) Bursary for 2009, much to the relief of his mother, Madam Hanifah (not her real name).
“At least, my burden is lighter. We have a lot of financial problems because my husband is in and out of jail,” said the 43-year-old housewife. Madam Hanifah single-handedly raises her four children, ranging in age from two to 10 years, in their two-room rental flat. In order to raise some money for their daily expenses she bakes cookies to sell. This time, Imran received $300, $100 more than what he got in 2007 as a Primary 2 pupil. “This is another piece of good news,” said Madam Hanifah, “I am happy and relieved to see Imran receive the bursary. With this money, I can buy him and his siblings school uniforms and textbooks.”
A total of 261 primary, secondary and pre-university students received the bursaries, 61 more than in 2007. However, the number of applicants also increased sharply, from 350 in 2007 to 509 in 2008.
In keeping with the times the MWS and the General Conference-Women’s Society of Christian Service (GC-WSCS) decided to increase the bursaries to $300 for primary students, $400 for secondary students and $600 for pre-university students respectively, up from $200, $300 and $450 in the past few years.
Each student also received grocery vouchers worth $20 sponsored by a generous donor from Grace Methodist Church. Yet another break from tradition saw Methodist churches partnering the MWS in disbursing the bursaries.
Some churches visited the recipients and their families and presented the bursaries in the students’ homes, while other churches hosted parties for the recipients.
This initiative gives churches an opportunity to extend a further helping hand to the recipients’ families.
Mel Lee is the Assistant Manager (Communications) of the Methodist Welfare Services.
A TWENTY-YEAR TRADITION
THE Methodist Welfare Services has been awarding bursaries to students from low-income and disadvantaged families since 1986 to assist students with their school-related expenses, such as the purchase of school uniforms, textbooks and stationery.
By giving the students a leg up with their schooling, the MWS hopes that the students will strive for success.
If you are keen to help students like Imran, here are ways you can get involved: Pray for our ministry.
Volunteer your time, skills or talents. Donate a portion of your blessings to the Methodist Welfare Services. GIRO, cheque and credit card donations are welcome. Donations are double-tax deductible.
Once a recipient, now a big donor
HELPING to sustain the MWS Bursary Awards are individuals such as Mr Terence Wee, who give back to the community that helped them in the past.
The eldest of three children of a factory foreman and housewife, Mr Wee received a bursary from a Methodist organisation when he was in his first year at junior college in 1981.
“Though we were not wealthy, the family always emphasised education for all the kids,” he recalled. Today Mr Wee is the Executive Vice-President of a management consultancy and training development company. His siblings have also obtained higher education qualifications.
The impact of the $300 bursary Mr Wee received 27 years ago surfaced recently as he was thinking of returning the favour. “I was trying to find a meaningful channel, and after some thought the MWS was the fairly logical candidate because of the bursary I had received,” he said.
Mr Wee donated $50,000 towards the MWS Bursary Awards. He also hopes to set up a scholarship/bursary and mentoring programme for junior college students from low-income families to help them have as high an education as possible, instead of dropping out due to financial constraints.
“I want to make an incremental difference to people beyond just giving money,” he said.