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As Singaporeans look forward to a better 2022, after another year made difficult by the Covid-19 pandemic, some may have made new year resolutions to impact society by doing more volunteer work. When one thinks of giving back to society, the Red Cross or donating large sums of money often comes to mind. But there are a plethora of volunteering organisations in Singapore that require support in other ways. For those looking for ideas on where to start, here are some volunteer opportunities that you can consider, either to partake in by yourself or with family and friends.
Besides being able to make a difference and pay it forward, some of these opportunities also incorporate fun and learning opportunities, enriching the volunteering experience as you give back to society.
1. Assist in Hippotherapy at the Riding for the Disabled Association Singapore
As the only charity in Singapore that provides hippotherapy, or equine-assisted therapy, Riding for the Disabled Association Singapore (RDA) provides horse riding sessions for its beneficiaries. Studies have shown that for persons with physical, cognitive or intellectual disabilities, riding a horse allows them to experience a new sense of freedom and independence.
RDA Singapore observed that its beneficiaries have increased self-confidence, sense of balance, as well as better motor coordination after therapy sessions. If you like horses, why not consider signing up with RDA Singapore as a volunteer? Volunteering opportunities include being a side-walker during therapy sessions, doing barn work such as stable maintenance, or even helping out at fundraising events. For side-walkers, training will be provided. To enjoy the volunteer experience without any hassle, be sure to wear the right apparel like sturdy shoes or boots, and avoid dangling earrings and slippers.
2. Help create a decent home environment with Habitat for Humanity Singapore
Habitat for Humanity Singapore (Habitat) is part of an international housing charity that seeks to eliminate poverty housing across the world. This non-profit organisation was first founded in 1976, in Georgia, United States, before gradually growing into an international charity across more than 70 countries worldwide. In Singapore, Habitat started working with low-income communities across Asia-Pacific since 2004, to improve their living conditions.
Habitat has a range of volunteering activities for individuals and even corporations to sign up for. In Project Homeworks, you can help to declutter homes to create safe and sanitary space for vulnerable families with little financial means and social support. If you prefer to do something for the environment, join Litter Red Dot, a community clean-up programme focused on caring for our community spaces.
When overseas travel eventually resumes, you may also like to consider volunteering in neighbouring countries like Batam, Cambodia, Vietnam, and more. While countries like Batam are ideal for an Instagrammable getaway, there is more to this than meets the eye. This is why Habitat for Humanity offers overseas volunteering opportunities such as Global Village and Batam Build. These charity works will help needy families by building safe and affordable houses in the hopes of helping them break out of the poverty cycle.
3. Keeping Singapore’s waterways clean at Waterways Watch Society
Who would have thought that volunteer activities and water adventures would be used in the same sentence? As an island country surrounded by the sea, it is important for Singapore to preserve and protect our waterways, as keeping them clean is crucial to the environment and our health. Through incorporating fun and learning into its volunteering opportunities, Waterways Watch Society aims to foster an appreciation of the nation’s waterways and reservoirs through a briefing at the start of the volunteering session, to instil a sense of ownership for the environment.
You can sign-up for different programmes to get close to the water bodies. Programme and Patrol volunteers must be skilled in cycling or kayaking. On the other hand, General volunteering is open to anyone, of all ages. Most of these volunteering activities revolve around picking up any litter you come across during the session, all while learning about water-related environmental issues along the way. Through such waterway patrols, the organisation hopes to bring people together to love Singapore’s waters and inspire stewardship for our environment.
4. Partake in food drives for the needy with Willing Hearts
Food is one of life’s basic necessities. With a focus on disadvantaged families, the elderly, the disabled and migrant workers, Willing Hearts prepares and distributes more than 10,000 meals every day without fail. The food donation charity also delivers these meals to over 70 locations across Singapore to its beneficiaries.
Running this food drive and cooking such a large number of meals daily requires the help of a good number of volunteers across four shifts a day. As a volunteer, you can help to prepare ingredients, pack meals, wash up, as well as other tasks outside the kitchen such as delivery. If you are looking for a way to give back to society, but find yourself unable to commit to regular/ fixed volunteering sessions, Willing Hearts might just be the option for you. They have different volunteering timeslots across the day, 365 days a year.
5. Protect animals and improve their welfare with ACRES
Have a pet of your own that you constantly shower with the best accessories and supplies? Unfortunately, not all animals are blessed to receive the same care. The Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (ACRES) was set up by a Singaporean who realised back in 2001 that there was no local organisation looking into animal protection issues. Work at ACRES is focused in the areas of tackling wildlife trade, wildlife rescue and rehabilitation, humane education, community outreach and promoting cruelty-free living, giving a voice to animals who cannot speak up for themselves.
Volunteering with animals includes wildlife rescue, where you help to handle a 24-hour wildlife rescue hotline, provide assistance and handle wildlife for the best possible outcome for the animals, or work in a wildlife sanctuary to care for the animals there.
Impacting lives with Changi Airport Group
In addition to volunteering in your personal capacity, you could also volunteer as a corporate employee. For instance, Changi Airport Group (CAG) has a philanthropic wing, Changi Foundation, which was set up to support disadvantaged youth, a social cause that CAG had supported since 2010.
CAG had chosen to support this group as it felt they are receiving less support from the community. Most corporate social responsibility efforts have traditionally focused on either the elderly or young children.
Changi Foundation plans and organises various activities with NorthLight School and Metta School. As our main beneficiaries, CAG drives active volunteerism, as well as curates volunteer programmes to support our beneficiaries’ school curriculum.
Since 2010, CAG has supported more than 5,000 disadvantaged youths through a variety of programmes and initiatives, empowering them for a better tomorrow.
As Singaporeans collectively look forward to a better year ahead, why not gather your family or friends to do good and make a difference to society today?
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