U Care!

10.5 million

People? No la, not another population estimate.

Dollars.

That’s the size of the generosity of donors at this year’s National Trade Union Congress’s U Care fundraising.  This year, our generous donors put together $10.5 million to give out U Stretch Vouchers, Back-to-School vouchers, U Care Education Bursary to 40,000 families and 40,600 children.

Imagine being a single parent with 3 kids to bring up. That’s no easy feat. That’s the story of 53-year-old Operations Executive Segar Muttu Karuppan.  Having to support 3 school-going children with only a single income was tough and he had to rely on all the help he could get to purchase new books and uniforms for his children. When they went on to tertiary schools, they needed laptops and more resources, which added to his financial load. Through U Care, he has been able to support his children in their education. Today, his daughter has started work, his older son is about to graduate from polytechnic, and his younger son has graduated from the Institute of Technical Education and will be serving his National Service soon. With their good results, both of Mr Segar’s sons had received Scholarship awards totalling $450 from the union in 2011.   He also received NTUC U Stretch vouchers to help with his family’s expenses on daily necessities.

At NTUC, we don’t only fight for the rights of workers, but also we strive to help them through various difficulties that they might face. Some struggle to make ends meet, some worry about their children’s education, some live from hand to mouth. We hope to help improve the lives of our low income members and their families; support needy children & youths in their pursuit of excellence; and provide assistance to the elderly in a meaningful way. We want to assure them that they don’t have to walk alone, because we are here to help and support them. Because whatever happens, you are not alone.

Currently, a low wage worker can seek help in different aspects from the following organisations:

• Community Development Council (CDC), for general financial assistance

• Schools, for financial assistance related to child’s education

• Various religious self help groups

• Workforce Development Agency (WDA), for subsidised courses to gain better job prospects

Sometimes it can be frustrating when there are so many places, but one has no idea which one to approach. Sometimes, one has to travel around to the different centres because different kinds of help is required. This can be a labourious and time consuming ordeal to go through, causing some to choose not to seek help at all.

However, with the NTUC’s up and coming U Care centre, which will provide a one-stop solution for low wage workers to seek help for advice on workplace and employment matters regardless of Union Membership. This centre will be up and coming in 2014.

The U Care Fund aims to provide targeted help. Most of those who benefit from the U Care Fund concurrently receive help from the various government agencies or Voluntary Welfare Organisations (VWOs). However, sometimes there are some aspects of their expenses that they still require assistance in. That is where the U Care Fund comes in to fill the gap.

NTUC U Care offers:

U Stretch vouchers

– U Care Back to School vouchers

– Family Recreation & Fun Carnivals

– NTUC Gift Group Insurance

– SLF Hardship Grant

– Donation to NTUC Eldercare Trust

– Donation to NTUC First Campus Bright Horizons Fund

 

To qualify for the U Care fund, one has to be a Union Member. If you are already a Union Member and wonder how to benefit from the fund, you can approach your union leader. For those who are not Union Members, you can approach the Community Development Council for help. There are 5 Community Development Councils spread all around Singapore where one can conveniently seek help from.

About the author

Justina Lee

Justina Lee speaks in Yoda: “No. Try not. Do… or do not. There is no try.”

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