A friend indeed for students in need

Mr Mashuthoo Abdul Rahiman was a teacher for 48 years. That allowed him to keep an eye on students who were not faring well in school.

He worked tirelessly to help them improve their grades and paid the fees and provided books to those coming from low-income families.

In the 1970s he also started organising free tuition classes for needy students with the support of fellow teachers, National University of Singapore undergraduates and members of the Singapore Kadayanallur Muslim League.

The programme was a huge success as the students started producing good results. It is now being run under the umbrella of the Tamils Representative Council.

"I wrote eight books and used the proceeds from the sales to fund this project," said Mr Mashuthoo, 71, who received the Singapore Silent Heroes Pioneers of Promise award.

"In 2017 I started the Barakah Fund with $100,000 to help needy students. My aim is to see that the fund grows to $1 million so that we can help more students."

In 2015, Mr Mashuthoo also organised the "Largest Sari in Singapore" event at the Queenstown Stadium which attracted nearly 5,000 people from different races.

The funds raised were given to charities such as the President's Challenge, Thye Hua Kwang Moral Charities, Sree Narayana Mission, Casa Raudha Women's Home and Singapore Council of Women's Organisations.

Mr Mashuthoo has not been out of action even though he retired as a teacher two years ago.

When he saw the usage of Tamil declining among the Tamil speaking community, he mooted the idea of organising a Tamil language festival. This year, he initiated a programme to provide Tamil language classes to adults who did not get a chance to learn Tamil in school.

Mr Mashuthoo reached out to several institutions for assistance, roped in retired Tamil teachers and tailored the classes to the needs of individuals at no cost to them.

"I'm happy to receive the Silent Heroes award," he said. "It's a good recognition of my 50 years of public and community service. I have worked hard to promote Tamil language and culture.

"This award will encourage youngsters to step forward and serve society."



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