SEVEN years ago, three-year-old Murthi Mizeer John Mallare lost his mother. Then his father, Anthony, had his left forefoot amputed because of diabetes, which has also robbed him of sight in his right eye and left him with partial vision in the other. Anthony’s kidneys have also failed and he needs haemodialysis thrice a week.
But John is not without help. Now 10, he received a grant to help with his education from The Stedfast Association, Singapore (SA), an organisation formed by alumni of the Boys’ Brigade (BB) in Singapore.
In light of recent economic conditions, and the rising cost of food, transport and electricity, The Stedfast Association, Singapore, will award annual grants to help deserving needy members of the BB and their families supplement their finances.
Starting this year, a $300 grant will each be awarded to 10 Boys. A member whose family earns $450 per capita qualifies.
Only nine deserving BB Boys applied for the “Stedfast Grant” this year, and John was among the nine to receive the grant. Each of the nine BB Boys also received an additional $100 NTUC voucher.
The “Stedfast Grant” was presented to the Boys by the Guest-of-Honour, the Most Revd Dr John Chew, Anglican Bishop of Singapore, at the BB’s Founder’s Day Thanksgiving Dinner on Oct 16, which was also held to raise funds for the grant. About S$3,600 has been raised from the sales of the dinner tickets alone.
Dr Lee Soo Ann, Honorary Vice-President of The Boys’ Brigade in Singapore, pledged to double every dollar raised from the dinner tickets – up to a maximum of S$10,000. With Dr Lee’s contribution, about $11,000 has been raised towards the “Stedfast Grant”.
John Mallare is a member of the 106th Junior BB Company (Gan Eng Seng Primary School) and the youngest recipient of the “Stedfast Grant”. He lives with his elder brother and diabetic father in a rented one-room fl at in Bukit Ho Swee. While the Mallare family gets some assistance from SINDA as well as a church, they still run into a deficit every month.
The most senior recipient was 18-year old Nathanael Foong, who is a Cadet Lieutenant with the 60th Seniors Company (Raffl es Institution). Nathanael, a student at Raffl es Junior College, his younger brother and their widowed mother survive on the $1,200 their mother earns each month as a domestic cleaner.
“Despite his financial difficulty, Nathanael has never used that as an excuse in coping with the high demands at RI or in the BB,” said his captain, Mr Eddie Siow.
Nathanael gives much of his time and energy to nurture and lead younger Boys under his charge, and also performs with the company’s Pipe Band. “I seek to serve because I am able to be blessed by grants such as this. I have been able to use the blessings I have received to help other people in a similar situation,” he said.
The aspiring doctor hopes the grant will help to reduce the financial burden on his mother and allow him to pursue his passions and interests.