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Student uses $400 Edusave money to buy face masks for 1,500 children

When Sylvia Low received the Edusave Merit Bursary and the Edusave Good Progress Award back in January, she did not consider keeping the bursary and award money for herself, perhaps, in order to buy her favourite fantasy genre books.

Instead, the Secondary 1 student from Pasir Ris Secondary School used the $400 to buy face masks for some 1,500 children from low-income families amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The 13-year-old said she decided to donate the masks when she realised that some families lacked the means to purchase daily essential items for themselves.

“I felt like this was what I should do. I didn’t feel like everybody needed to know,” said Sylvia, who did it without the knowledge of her teachers and peers at school.

She added that her gesture was inspired by her parents, who had taken part in fund raising for the people of Wuhan in China during the early days of the outbreak this year.

“Now that we are in (the same) circumstances, I feel I should also play my part by using the Edusave (bursary and award money) to donate masks to the needy.”

Her father Jeff Low, 50, a visiting professor at Shanxi Datong University and Jiaozuo University in China, said he and his wife supported Sylvia’s decision and was not surprised by her desire to help, as she has been consistently involved in community service at school.

At her father’s suggestion, Sylvia sought the help of Senior Minister of State for Defence and Foreign Affairs Maliki Osman, the Mayor of South East District, who linked her up with families in the area whose children needed the masks.

The South East Community Development Council – which Dr Maliki helms – identified these families with the help of community partners such as CDAC@Bedok, My First Skool@18 Marine Terrace and WeCare@MarineParade.

KNOW ANYONE who has stepped up to fight Covid-19 or who is doing good around the neighbourhood? Write in to gyanhan@sph.com.sg at The Straits Times Newsdesk.

“I am very proud of Sylvia – so young yet with such a big heart to be able to feel for the less fortunate,” said Dr Maliki in a media statement last Wednesday about Sylvia’s kind deed.

“A small gesture coming from such a young girl speaks volumes about the kind of society that we are moving towards,” he added.

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