Skip to main content

Advertisement

Advertisement

More young people take to volunteerism

SINGAPORE — Amid concerns over a decline in volunteerism among Singapore’s youth as they transit from schools to workplaces, some encouraging signs have emerged from a leading volunteerism portal here, which show that more young people are stepping forward to give of their time to help those in need.

More young people take to volunteerism

Ngee Ann Polytechnic students and staff went barefoot to raise funds for typhoon relief efforts last month, as part of Bare Our Feet, Bear Their Pain. Photo: Ngee Ann Polytechnic

SINGAPORE — Amid concerns over a decline in volunteerism among Singapore’s youth as they transit from schools to workplaces, some encouraging signs have emerged from a leading volunteerism portal here, which show that more young people are stepping forward to give of their time to help those in need.

Almost eight in 10 registered volunteers on SG Cares (www.sgcares.org), which matches individuals with volunteering opportunities of their choice, are aged between 15 and 35, according to the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre (NVPC), which manages the portal.

Of the 32,774 volunteers registered on the website, almost 80 per cent, or 25,756 of them are youths — a 16-fold increase from the 1,599 youths registered in 2009.

In recent times, more young people here, some of whom are not part of an organisation or volunteer programme, have also been seen responding to appeals for aid overseas in times of crisis, going beyond serving the needs of the local community. Most recently, the devastation wrought by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines has spurred many young people here to organise ground-up initiatives in aid of the victims.

Humanitarian agency Mercy Relief, for one, said nearly 100 youths and students have come forward so far to spearhead fund-raisers for the typhoon victims. It added that 60 per cent of its volunteers are youth and students.

Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP) alumna Glory Tan initiated a fund-raiser last month at her alma mater titled Bare Our Feet, Bear Their Pain, where more than 150 students and staff went around the polytechnic barefooted to solicit donations. “Going barefooted while collecting donations was a symbolic act of sharing what the victims of Typhoon Haiyan went through during the crisis,” said the 22-year-old student at the University of Bath in the United Kingdom.

The two-day donation drive raised S$28,174 for the typhoon relief efforts through the Singapore Red Cross (SRC).

Shocked by the sheer magnitude of the disaster, another youth, Ms Bevin Ng, turned her 20th birthday party last month into a fund-raiser that featured talks by artists and entrepreneurs, who shared how they had used the “arts or other creative ways to bring positive change to the community”.

The School of the Arts graduate asked each of the 50 guests who attended the party to contribute S$25 instead of a present and raised about S$1,800 in the process.

There is also an upcoming fund-raiser, heART for Philippines (http://www.facebook.com/heartforph), that was initiated by a young artist. With dance lessons and an evening performance featuring those in the creative industry such as violinist Loh Jun Hong and a poetry reading by TODAY Deputy Features Editor Mayo Martin, the all-day event will be held at the Goodman Arts Centre today, with proceeds going to Mercy Relief.

Said the organiser, 23-year-old dance artist Germaine Cheng: “The arts is the best way I know I can help out ... I also know artists to be passionate people and the arts to be a powerful way of bringing people together.”

The SRC has also seen more youth volunteers participating in its humanitarian efforts over the past year, said Secretary-General Benjamin William, although the agency could not provide official figures.

NVPC Head of Volunteerism Hosea Lai noted that the giving landscape has become more “open” with the advent of technology and youths are now “better informed on social and community news than they were before”.

The National Youth Council called for project proposals for Singapore’s first volunteer youth corps earlier this week. Announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in his National Day Rally in August, the corps will “expand opportunities for young people to do projects in our community” and match them with “critical community needs”. The announcement came amid concerns that the volunteering experiences of youth tend to be ad hoc and varied in quality, and are often not sustained beyond their school years.

Ms Tan, who organised the Ngee Ann fund-raiser, said it was “important” for youth to act as agents of social change to help the community, even though they “may often feel too small to do anything”.

“We can influence the lives of others, even if we start small.”

Read more of the latest in

Advertisement

Popular

Advertisement

Stay in the know. Anytime. Anywhere.

Subscribe to get daily news updates, insights and must reads delivered straight to your inbox.

By clicking subscribe, I agree for my personal data to be used to send me TODAY newsletters, promotional offers and for research and analysis.

Aa