Assyakirin Mosque provides a safe space for the homeless and a free community pantry for the needy

SINGAPORE – An elderly man spent four months living on a stair landing in Bukit Gombak before being referred to Assyakirin Mosque’s Safe Sound Sleeping Places program for homeless and homeless people.

A nurse over 50, Mr Rahman (not his real name), 76, is now unemployed but takes gigs as a safe distance ambassador from time to time for extra cash.

He occupies one of the five beds in the basement of the mosque. Besides beds, there are basics like toiletries, a microwave, and instant noodles.

Assyakirin Mosque, in Yung An Road, Jurong, is one of a group of four mosques working closely with the Partners Engaging and Empowering Rough Sleepers (Peers) network and the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) to provide a temporary shelter for the homeless. and the homeless.

The mosque started its program during the Covid-19 circuit breaker in 2020.

President Halimah Yacob visited the mosque on Wednesday January 19 to learn more about her initiatives and speak to some of the people who have lived there, such as Mr. Rahman.

Speaking to the media after the community engagement, Ms. Halimah said these programs are rolled out in response to national challenges and issues.

“One of the major national challenges, of course with the pandemic, is that you see people sleeping rough in various places in Singapore,” she said.

On Monday, The Straits Times reported that seven organizations operated healthy sleep programs before Covid-19 hit, and the number rose to more than 40 during the circuit breaker, including religious organizations such as mosques and churches.

Ms. Halimah said the Assyakirin Mosque Community Food Pantry, which provides free groceries to those in need, also meets a growing need.

“People may be between jobs, or during the pandemic they may have taken pay cuts, and there are shortages of certain things you need to cook at home or to eat,” he said. she declared.

The pantry opens twice a week on Mondays and Thursdays, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. It has served 3,000 beneficiaries and distributed over $20,000 worth of food and groceries since its inception in 2019.

Norma P. Rex