old Rosemawar, life is more fulfilling now. Since
last July, she has been able to attend an IT
course and a baking course, thanks to the South West CDC’s Home Ownership
plus Education (HOPE) financial assistance scheme. With duties at home as the
wife of a warehouse executive and mother of an autistic 11-year old studying in a
mainstream school, she’s now considering setting up a small home business as a
baker with the skills she’s picked up.
“I was notified about HOPE by my son’s former social worker in his special
school, and I applied to be part of it last July. The scheme helps take care of
his school fees and the home mortgage, and it has also helped with my selfconfidence
because I can upgrade myself constantly. Previously, I used to be
home alone with nothing to do,” she says.
For lower-income households in Singapore who qualify, HOPE is
a comprehensive assistance package that aims to help young lowincome
families and their children break out of the poverty cycle. By
signing up for the scheme, these families accede to keeping their
families small so they can focus their resources on giving their
children the best.
Patricia, a 25-year old mother with a seven-year old daughter
and one-year old son, also lauds the scheme for “reducing my
daily worries since December 2007”. The scheme helps pay
her monthly rental, her daughter’s school fees, and her family’s
utilities, which previously put a big strain on her hawker assistant
husband’s salary of less than $1,000 a month. While the bulk of
that now goes towards diapers, milk formula, school allowance
and insurance premiums, their finances are now not as strained.
Patricia also used the scheme’s cash incentive to undergo a ligation
in late July, and intends to attend hairdressing courses.“Without such help, life would be terrible. I am very grateful for the
way the scheme has changed our lives,” she says.
THE GIFT OF HOPE
The HOPE scheme provides many
financial and social benefits. Here’s a
sampling of what it offers.
Available to children from pre-school up to university-level education,
annual bursaries are as follows:
❤ Preschool - $250
❤ Primary - $400
❤ Special Schools - $600
❤ Secondary - $800
❤ JCs/Polys/ITE/Pre-U - $1,200*
❤ University - $2,000**
* For recognised JCs only ** For full-time courses at NUS, NTU and SMU
$50,000 is disbursed in annual instalments into the mother’s CPF account
to help pay for mortgages.
Grants of up to $10,000 are offered per family to allow parents to upgrade
themselves via skills training. This grant is divided equally between the
parents to encourage the mother to acquire new skills and enhance her
A one-off sum of $1,000 is given to help the family offset utilities bills
upon joining the scheme
Mentoring and family support
Social service agencies are on hand to guide and follow-up with the family,
and to link them to other community resources where required
Between $6,000 and $9,000 is offered to help the couple with family
planning, and to fund ligation or vasectomy procedures