THEY WILL ASK thee as to what they should spend on others. Say: "Whatever of your wealth you spend shall [first] be for your parents, and for the near of kin, and the orphans, and the needy, and the wayfarer; and whatever good you do, verily, God has full knowledge thereof." - Al-Baqarah (2:215)

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Our Children Education Fund

When I went to the Buddies Centre last week to get some admin matters sorted out, I saw a printout of the draft Buddies financial statement as at November 2012. At the the bottom of the page was a handwritten note by the treasurer, seeking my help to check the accounting file in the computer, as he was unable to get the accounts balanced.

Actually when I was the treasurer way back in 2007, I had already done a formatted excel file for the Buddies accounts whereby we’d only need to enter the transactions on the first sheet and the other reports on the other sheets would be automatically updated with the figures. If somehow the reports at the other sheets don’t balance, that would mean we must have made a wrong or insufficient entry somewhere on the first page.

So when my treasurer told me he couldn’t get the accounts to balance, I knew it would have something to do with his entries on the first sheet of the financial statement file. Indeed it was, it took me less than 10 minutes to fix the problem.

But what really caught my eye was the amount spent and the balance available under our Children Education Fund (CEF). As at November 2012, we had already spent over RM20K for the children’s schooling expenses and the fund is fast depleting.

Not surprising really. I noticed we’ve been getting more clients needing help for their children’s back-to-school expenses. As compared to previously when our CEF only covers for about 20 children at the most, for 2012 we covered the schooling expenses for more than 50 children.

And that is why I screen through all the schooling claims especially the clients who bought the stuff first and submit the receipts later to be reimbursed. I noticed that a few clients, knowing that they could get reimbursement on their children’s schooling expenses, bought items like slippers and included them in the receipts, or bought 2 separate bags – one as school bag, and the other as tuition bag, or there was another receipt I saw from a client who bought 2 dozens of pens (for only 2 schooling children) at a price of over RM30 (just for the pens!).

I know the price of things have generally gone up. But we are here to help them with BASIC schooling necessities, not pamper them by buying them everything.

That said, many of our clients do need financial assistance for their children’s education. And with more children being covered by our CEF of late, it’s not a surprise that the fund is fast depleting.

We will have to find ways and means to raise more funds for this purpose.

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