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$50k raised for SJII mee rebus seller

WELL-LOVED: Staff and students said canteen-stall operator Jamaliah is part of the school community.


    May 17, 2016

    $50k raised for SJII mee rebus seller

    THEY noticed that the Malay food stall at their school canteen no longer had the mee rebus that they enjoyed eating.

    During assembly, St Joseph's Institution International (SJII) students were told that the stall operator, Jamaliah Yacob, 61, had severely injured her leg in an accident in February and was recovering in Pearl's Hill Care Home.

    The news surprised and saddened them. Many of them were fond of the stall operator who worked alone and had been selling food at their school since 2009.

    Mitchell Chan, 17 said: "I felt sad... She was a part of our community."

    To help Madam Jamaliah with her expenses, the SJII employees started collecting money, calling it the Aunty Jamaliah's Fund.

    The students, however, had ideas of their own. Groups of friends wanted to organise different events to raise funds so the school put them together into a group of 15.

    Frances Powell, head of service learning for SJII, said: "I felt excited when the students approached me, wanting to do something for the fund... Our students are incredibly service-minded."

    Many of the students were impressed by how Madam Jamaliah was always friendly and they wanted to do what they could to help her. Priscilla Layarda, 15, said: "I could do something, so why not?"

    The fund-raising efforts started last month, with the Scouts organising a car wash in the school driveway.

    The car wash was publicised through the school's newsletter but news spread and even drivers who were not directly related to the school came to contribute.

    The response was better than expected despite the bad weather that day, which cut short the car-washing session to just 30 minutes.

    The Scouts raised over $1,500 from the event.

    The fund-raising continued last Wednesday, with the students selling smoothies in the canteen during break time.

    They did all the planning themselves, even voluntarily paying for the ingredients, with little guidance from Ms Powell.

    Danielle Velasquez, 13, the youngest in the team, said: "I felt really panicky when the sale was under way as there were a lot of students and it got pretty hectic."

    The students managed to sell more than 200 cups at $4 each. The following day was the school's Non-Uniform Day, where students did not have to wear their school uniform to attend classes in exchange for $5 that went to the fund.

    There were also 35 performers lined up for a busking event, entertainment by students for students.

    When news first broke about the music busking event, many students offered their help.

    Priscilla said: "I initially approached some students to perform for the busking, but after the event was announced during assembly, many other students approached me to ask if they could perform."

    The SJII teachers were all pleasantly surprised by the students' eagerness to organise events for the fund.

    A spokesman for the school said that while fund-raising is not over yet, the students have raised at least $50,000 for Madam Jamaliah.

    She added that the fund will be managed by SJII.