SINGAPORE: Children from low-income families living in Jalan Kukoh will get a leg up with a new programme known as CATCH Plus.
Targeted at those aged between 7 and 16 years, the programme aims to provide holistic after-school care services and give them a good head start in life.
Other than free tuition classes, the children will also be able to attend reading and computer classes as well as activities such as ukulele and handicraft workshops conducted by professional instructors.
There will also be outdoor activities such as excursions to the zoo, Singapore Flyer and community events.
CATCH, which stands for Children and Teen Community Hub, was initiated by MP for Tanjong Pagar GRC Dr Lily Neo in June 2011.
Now upgraded to CATCH Plus, it provides a wider range of activities for the children to pick up new skills and stay engaged.
Dr Lily Neo said: "We can provide daily activities for our children from our precinct, from the HDB rental homes. From our CATCH programme in the past, we found that we have very good response, because we had about 67 members, and we feel we want to do more for the children here. We want our children to read and write better, we want our children to do well in school and we want our children to be happy, active and confident."
Under the CATCH Plus programme, there will also be an activity centre for the children.
The centre will be run on a daily basis from 2.30pm to 9.30pm.
For 11-year-old Muhammad Zulhilmi Zulkifli, the CATCH Plus programme is a welcome change.
"I'm happy over here (at the activity centre), because at home I have nothing to do," he said.
For the parents, it's about having a peace of mind. "The benefit of having my children here is that they do not spend their time wrongly, loitering around with bad company, at least I have no worries since I know they are in a safe place and they have somebody to teach them for their studies," said Sunarti Satidja, mother of Muhammad Zulhilmi Zulkifli.
For a start, CATCH Plus aims to reach out to 60 children. As more than half of the children are expected to come from Muslim homes, a mosque will also be roped in to provide weekly religious classes to the children under the programme. - CNA/jc/ir
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