As Singaporeans, we are fortunate to live in a clean and wealthy country with world-class facilities. However, underneath all the glitz and glamour and money, are real people with real problems. Most of us were not born with a silver spoon, and some of us were born with a smaller spoon. The good news is that you don’t have to be a millionaire philanthropist to help others. Here are some things all of us can do to contribute to our community. No spending required.
# 1 Donate Spare Belongings
Do you really need two laptops or two mobile phones? How about books you don’t read anymore? Your wardrobe is also bursting from all that shopping you did, some of which you’ve never worn but was bought at the GSS years ago… Instead of leaving your things around to collect dust, consider giving them away to people who would find these items more useful than you do.
# 2 Mobilise Your Network
You might not have much to give, but you do have networks of friends, family and colleagues. You can organise a collection drive at your office, your neighbourhood, or mobilise people for good on social media. On the topic of social media, there are movements that have used social media to great effect, such as Hair For Hope, Movember, and others to raise awareness for a cause.
# 3 Pass On Your Skills
You can provide free tuition for kids in need or teach them things like reading, swimming, music, art, etc. You can also contribute to the community by teaching employable skills – from coding to data entry to graphic design. Why stop here? If you are in the position to mentor someone, or offer career guidance/coaching, do it. All of us got to where we are today because we got a little help along the way. Pass it on.
# 4 Gift Your Time
Once you start looking into volunteering your time, you will be amazed that for a tiny place like Singapore, there sure are plenty of opportunities to help out. Food Banks, for instance, regularly needs drivers to operate delivery vans, delivery assistants to collect food, warehouse assistants to pack food, and admin assistants to handle paperwork. Another example would be Habitat, a charity that rehabilitates the homes of elderly folks living alone and require helpers to clean, paint or de-clutter flats.
# 5 Apply For Grants
The Ministry of Social and Family Development has all sorts of grants in place to support underprivileged Singaporeans. However, the people who need these grants may not be aware that these schemes exist. To apply for them, you’ll have to fill up a few application forms and provide a list of supporting documents.
Some people could find the process complicated and time-consuming, or not be able to understand the eligibility criteria. You can support them by assisting them in signing up, or clarifying points they are unsure of.
Unsure Where To Start?
If you would like to help, but don’t know where to begin, you can start by reaching out to a non-profit of your choice. Sites like Giving.sg has made it easy to do volunteer work – by coming up with a calendar that’s constantly updated with the latest charity events, allowing you to volunteer based on your preferred time and location. It is now so convenient and simple to contribute to the community, without even spending a cent. Time to get out there and build a better society for us all to live in!