SINGAPOREAN entrepreneur Chew Hua Seng has pledged $100 million to a charitable foundation he set up in his name last November.
The Chew Hua Seng Foundation aims to provide ?the basic necessities? for poor students in Singapore, China and countries around the region.
Over the past 10 months, the foundation has provided education grants and money for victims of the recent Sichuan earthquake. It has also contributed to school-building funds in Singapore. Around $24 million has been set aside for various charitable projects, and about $4 million has been distributed thus far.
The $100 million will be contributed to the foundation over the next 10 years.
Mr Chew, 53, is Singapore?s 12th-richest man this year, with a net worth of $460 million, according to Forbes.
At a media launch of his foundation yesterday, Mr Chew recounted how his humble beginnings give him strength. Born to a fisherman father and a market- stallholder mother, he was one of eight children. His parents struggled to make ends meet. Mr Chew and his siblings would come home from school, then go to help his father fish until dusk.
In his early working life, he entered the timber industry before the establishment of Raffles Education Corporation and setting up its first college in 1990.
"Those difficult early years gave me the resolve to break out of the bondage of poverty. To succeed in life, I realise that we need to have a good education,? said Mr Chew on why he set up his business.
Raffles Education Corporation is now the largest education group in Asia, with total assets of about $915 million. The group operates three universities and 24 colleges across nine Asia-Pacific countries.
Mr Chew set up the foundation to help ?educationally disadvantaged students", he said.
His wife, Mrs Doris Chew, 38, told reporters that the foundation was set up to formalise and professionally administer Mr Chew?s donations to the education sector.
Mr Chew has not forgotten his alma mater, Montfort School, which is one of the beneficiaries of the foundation. Recently, the foundation donated $500,000 to the school to build an indoor sports hall.
"I feel very much indebted to Montfort School for teaching me values that are grounded in my heart," said Mr Chew.
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