If you’ve always help make the world a better place, but aren’t sure how to go about it, here are some organisations right here in Singapore where you can get started.
Volunteers from roject: One More Thing at the Society for the Aged Sick
Cause: Making abandoned elderly people feel wanted
Charity: Project: One More Thing is a brand new local initiative dedicated to fulfilling the wishes of old, lonely folk; wishes that could be their final ones. Whether the wish is for a plate of duck rice, an electric fan, or to locate long lost kin, Project: One More Thing tries to satisfy.
Cause: Helping addicts regain independence
Charity:We Care caters to those suffering from dependencies that are destroying them and their families, from narcotics and alcohol to gambling, overeating and sex addictions. Their programmes create awareness of the consequences of addiction, plus teach addicts how to control themselves and cope with life so they don’t fall back on addictions when things get a bit tough. We Care even facilitates relevant research and training for professional caregivers and counsellers, and has a drop-in centre that serves as a haven for recovering addicts.
Get involved: Visit www.wecare.org.sg or call 6471-5346.
A rescued baby monkey
Cause: Supporting animal rights and welfare
Charity:Acres, founded over a decade ago in Singapore, works to improve the plight of animals the world over. Unafraid to step on human toes to save animals, they’ve gone undercover to discover and uncover illegal trade in animal parts and prosecute offending traders. They’ve also raised awareness about animal cruelty to help people make informed choices about buying goods or visiting tourist attractions, as well as supported animal rescue and repatriation initiatives, and lobbied to raise living standards of animals in captivity.
Cause: Being a friend to migrant workers
Charity: Dedicated to helping put-upon migrants of all sorts, including foreign workers suffering abuse, victims of human trafficking and forced labour, and once even women abandoned at sea, Home’s (Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics) helps by arranging shelter, running helpdesks that provide legal and practical advice, conducting vocational, enrichment, computer and language classes; as well as periodic seminars to educate both migrants and the Singaporean public about the dangers and pitfalls affecting our foreign friends in Singapore.
Volunteers from Ground-Up-Initiative
Cause: Reconnecting with nature
Charity:Ground-Up-Initiative (GUI) is a friendly volunteer community that believes the root of many evils; such as social indifference or even unkindness towards the environment; comes from a disconnect with the land. Rediscover that connection at GUI’s Sustainable Living Kampong at Yishun’s Bottle Tree Park, where anyone from students to executives can till, weed and compost with people from other walks of life. Or pop into the Sustainable Living Lab where volunteers create innovations to serve small communities, such as the iBam (eco and pocket friendly audio speakers made from bamboo). GUI also organises trips to areas of natural beauty, and goes on rescue expeditions, such as when they recently saved a fallen tree in Orchard Road.
Get involved: Visit www.facebook.com/groundupinitiative for more information or to get in touch.
Cause: Supporting local arts and culture
Charities: If you’re believe in the beauty and importance of local arts, lend a hand to theatre companies like W!ld Rice, The Theatre Practice and Teater Ekamatra, and dance companies like Singapore Dance Theatre and Bhaskar Arts Academy, or even the Finger Players who specialise in puppetry. Or if you’d like to assist performers in another way, donate to the Emma Yong Fund (www.emmayongfund.org), set up in memory of the lovely late singer/actress Emma Yong, to give financial aid to theatre practitioners suffering from critical illnesses.
Get involved: Visit the websites of these arts groups companies to find out how to donate or volunteer.
Cause: Provide sustenance to the less fortunate
Organisations like Willing Hearts are always on the look out for helpers for their soup kitchens. The volunteer-run charity prepares, cooks and distributes about 3,000 packs of food daily to the needy, such as elderly people who are often referred to the organistion through residents’ committees, and rely on handouts to survive.
Get involved: Visit www.willinghearts.org.sg or head down to #04-06 Cideco Bldg, 50 Genting Ln | Tel: 6476 1098 or 6476 5822 | Open: Daily 6am-4pm.
Cause: Cheering up children
Charity: There are several local child-focused charities, but the Children’s Society is the broadest, helping children from all backgrounds in comprehensive ways. Their services include caregiving facilities, family-focused counselling and camps, developmental programmes, anti-bullying initiatives, helplines, public awareness campaigns, rehabilitative services and financial aid; and even webcam stations that allow children of prison inmates to chat with their parents. The society always needs teachers, facilitators, administrators and befrienders, and of course, donations.
Guide Dogs Association of the Blind
Cause: Promoting guide dogs for the blind
Charity: The Guide Dogs Association of the Blind aims to assist the visually-impaired in Singapore gain greater independence. It provides various services, from giving the blind orientation and mobility training to pairing blind people with specially trained guide dogs. The Association also continues to raise awareness about the need for guide dogs, an effort which has already led to a change in rules so that such dogs are now allowed in HDB flats, on public transport and in government-owned establishments.
Get involved: Visit www.guidedogs.org.sg to find out how you can donate or volunteer.
Cause: Keeping hearts health
Charity: Singapore Heart Foundation operates funds and programmes to help those recovering from or are at risk of heart attacks, and is dedicated to improving Singapore’s dismal out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrest survival rates by creating an environment where more people know CPR and where medical equipment such as defibrillators are more accessible. Because prevention is better than cure, the Foundation also creates awareness of and encourages heart-healthy habits through its campaigns around Singapore.
Get involved: Visit www.myheart.org.sg
Cause: Sheltering homeless and abused women
Casa Raudha provides a haven for women who are abandoned, abused or otherwise have nowhere to go. These women, and their children, have a computer room, an art therapy room and a playground at their disposal, and get access to financial aid, counselling and a medical and legal clinic. Also provided are life skills training, entrepreneurship programmes and various workshops for adults and children. Both male and female volunteers are needed to help in their various programmes and day-to-day operations, especially with baking, sewing, landscaping, gardening and general repair and maintenance work.
Jo Tan is a professional freelancer whose cv includes wedding singing and selling fish. She actually likes salads and tofu, and doesn't eat chicken because she had two as pets (their names were Bubbles and Joveranter Cat.) However, she is not a hippie because she is bad at yoga and like most of Singapore, expects to slave her whole life to pay for her new HDB flat.