Fancy a break from your usual work-eat-shop-play routine? Why not use your time to volunteer towards a worthy cause. Rack up those karma points by lending a hand to those less fortunate. From caring for children and the elderly to helping rescue animals and clean-up drives, there are several local charities that are working tirelessly for a number of causes. So pick one that you feel strongly about and get involved!
Singapore Council of Women's Organisations (SCWO)
Centrally located on Waterloo Street, the SCWO is an organisation that runs multiple programmes to support women in need. It houses the Star Shelter – a secular crisis centre that provides safe temporary refuge for women and children who are victims of family violence.
There is also the New2U thrift shop, where pre-loved clothing, accessories and donated goods are sold to support the shelter and SCWO’s rehabilitation initiatives. Volunteer your time to run the thrift shop or lend support to the shelter by tutoring, training and mentoring the residents or providing child-care for the victim’s children.
Association for Women for Action and Research (AWARE)
Better known as AWARE, the organisation has been tackling women’s issues and advocating equality in Singapore since its inception in 1985. It runs a helpline in four languages and even a Sexual Assault Care Centre that offers free and confidential advice.
Victims are offered counselling, free legal help and the option to join support groups. Get involved by volunteering as a helpliner, or lend your professional skills (lawyer, doctor, writer, IT professional) to support its clinics and initiatives.
At this secular non-affiliated charity, you help to feed those less fortunate. Willing Hearts runs a soup kitchen that prepares, cooks and distributes about 5,000 daily meals to over 40 locations, 365 days a year. It's a mammoth task that is wholly run by volunteers and only a handful of staff. Help is needed from 5.30 am every day for cooking, cleaning and admin. You needn’t be a MasterChef, just be willing to help.
Voices for Animals
This is an animal welfare group takes in abandoned pets and rescues animals – dogs, cats, rabbits and hamsters among others – in distress. Volunteers go around town feeding strays, and actively rehabilitate and rehome pets via adoption drives. Many of their rescues are retired breeding dogs that need a lot of TLC. VFA is run by a small group of animal lovers and is always in need of extra hands to assist during their adoption drives or to adopt and foster rescued pets.
Mummy Yummy Singapore
There are people living among us in Singapore that struggle to even eat a decent daily meal. In order to help those in need, Mummy Yummy distributes packets of cooked vegetarian food to hundreds of families, including elderly citizens, living in rental flats.
How you can help? Gather a group of mates and ‘adopt’ a neighbourhood where you can make monthly food packets drop-offs. Or you could also financially contribute to the food (only $1 each). Volunteering can be a one-off thing or a regular commitment – but every little bit counts.
Cat Welfare Society
Love furry felines? Sadly, Singapore is littered with abandoned kitties often living in HDB void decks and scavenging for food. The Cat Welfare Society helps stray cats in a humane way, providing food in a responsible way, caregiving, sterilising and reporting cases of abuse. It is entirely volunteer-run and funds itself via donations only. So get involved in any capacity you can as a caregiver within your neighbourhood or more.
Old age can be crippling in more ways than one. And the Lion’s Befrienders try to make the golden years a tad easier by forging friendships with seniors and encouraging community participation. This is not an old age home, the ‘befrienders’ are volunteers who conduct weekly (or more frequent) home visits with senior members of the society. Lend support, accompany them to doctor visits or remind elderlies to take their medication are just some of the responsibilities.
Singapore Anti-Narcotics Association (SANA)
Even with Singapore’s strict rules against drug use, the issue is more prevalent than we think. SANA has been around since the 1970s, assisting to combat the problem of drug and narcotics abuse by providing counselling and support services, rehab and aftercare, online chat and helplines and more. Social recovery and reintegration are provided by counsellors at their step-up centre. Volunteer your time to help organise events, or be a face-to-face or helpline counsellor.
National Environment Agency and CGS (Clean and Green Singapore)
Singapore may be one of the cleanest cities in the world but it takes a ton of hard work to keep it that way. You can volunteer with the National Environment Agency to support the numerous workers who tirelessly ensure our city is clean and green. The NEA is always looking for volunteers who can aid their efforts towards dengue protections and cleanliness. Train yourselves to become a Litter Free Ambassador, a Dengue Prevention Volunteer, or a Food Waste Reduction Ambassador.
Movement for the Intellectually Disabled in Singapore (MINDS)
This welfare organisation strives to create a more inclusive society by providing assistance to the intellectually disabled via schools, training programmes, projects and vocational training. It assists intellectually challenged youth, adults and seniors. As a volunteer, you help conduct workshops, impart life skills, conduct home visits or even adopt a MINDS centre to organise outings and specific neighbourhood projects.