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National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre
Photograph: Unsplash

Where to volunteer at in Singapore and get involved

Have you always wanted to make a positive difference to the community? Lend a helping hand to these to these local charity societies in Singapore

Written by
Time Out Singapore editors
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The spike in donations and volunteering since the pandemic began has made it clear: difficult as times have been, it's also opened our eyes and hearts to the vulnerable communities around us. And there's no time like the present to get involved – from assisting migrant workers and caring for children, to helping rescue animals and clean-up drives, there are several local charities that need your help today. So pick one that you feel strongly about and help to make Singapore a better place.

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Habitat for Humanity
Photograph: Habitat for Humanity Singapore/Facebook

Habitat for Humanity

Everyone deserves a decent home environment to live in – that's the belief behind the charity organisation Habitat for Humanity. As a volunteer, you can help the vulnerable in Singapore achieve a comfortable living environment through various initiatives: including a home rehabilitation programme called Project HomeWorks and a community clean-up called UnLitter Red Dot. If you're keen to spread the goodwill beyond our borders, you can even sign up for house building projects with overseas Habitat National Offices. 

Action for AIDS
Photograph: Action for AIDS/Facebook

Action for AIDS

Action for AIDS is on a mission to end HIV transmission and AIDS in Singapore by 2030. As a volunteer, you can do the important work of spreading HIV/AIDS awareness through on-ground and online activities, help with the operations of Singapore's largest not-for-profit syphilis and HIV screening centre, or take up advocacy work to end the stigma against HIV/AIDS through various conferences and platforms. To get involved, visit afa.org.sg.

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Willing Hearts
Photograph: Willing Hearts/Facebook

Willing Hearts

Willing Hearts runs a soup kitchen that distributes approximately 11,000 meals to the elderly, disabled, poverty-stricken and marginalised in Singapore every day. You can imagine the amount of time and effort that takes. Lend a hand by signing up as a volunteer – after which you'll be assigned to help sort and prepare ingredients, cook the dishes, or carry out the deliveries. It's often difficult work, but well-worth the smile that you put on recipient's faces. 

Aidha
Photograph: Aidha/Facebook

Aidha

Are you savvy in financial management, communication, computers or entrepreneurship? Pass on your knowledge and skills to migrant domestic workers and low-income Singaporean women at Aidha, a organisation that's dedicated to helping these ladies to achieve economic independence. If teaching is not your thing, you can always chip in via other means: through operational roles, ad-hoc projects and events, fundraising or research. Every little bit goes a long way.

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The T Project
Photograph: The T Project/Facebook

The T Project

The T Project is the first and only social service for the transgender community in Singapore. Started by Miss June Chua and her late sister Miss Alice Chua in 2014, the organisation provides shelter, creates job opportunities, and sources essential services (such as counselling) for transgender women and transgender people living with HIV. If you want to help out, sign up for The T Project's volunteer recruitment drive, and receive training to support the charity's food ration drives and fundraising programmes. Learn more about The T Project and volunteering opportunities here

ItsRainingRaincoats
Photograph: @itsrainingraincoats/Instagram

ItsRainingRaincoats

ItsRainingRaincoats – the name of this social initiative doesn't make its mission immediately apparent. But its meaning turns out to be heartfelt, symbolising a raincoat protecting Singapore's migrant workers from metaphorical storms. What started as a viral Facebook post by founder Dipa Swaminathan (about her encounter with a migrant worker driven to despair due to unpaid wages), has blossomed into a movement that aims to bridge the gap between Singaporeans and the people that contribute so much to the city. Join ItsRainingRaincoats to distribute gifts and essentials at dormitories and construction sites, organise and facilitate day trips to local attractions built by workers themselves or to be a caseworker; or simply donate to regular fundraising drives to provide for mobile data top-ups and other daily necessities.

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Transient Workers Count Too
Photograph: Transient Workers Count Too/Facebook

Transient Workers Count Too

Migrant workers make up about one-sixth of Singapore's population and form a vital part of our economy, yet too often, their troubles go unnoticed or unaddressed. Transient Workers Count Too (TWC2) works tirelessly to assist low-wage migrant workers when they face difficulty and exploitation, and advocates for better working conditions for them. Signing up to volunteer means you'll go through structured training before being assigned to support in one of a number of areas including casework, communications, meal programmes and research.

Riding for the Disabled Association
Photograph: Guillaume de Germain/Unsplash

Riding for the Disabled Association

The sweet ponies at Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) Singapore are more than just cute – they provide valuable physical and cognitive therapy for the differently-abled, helping them achieve greater balance, mobility and general confidence. As a volunteer, you will first be trained to walk alongside the horse while interacting with the rider to carry out therapy activities. Other responsibilities include barn work, fundraising and administrative tasks. While experience with horses is not needed, it helps to be over 16 years old and generally comfortable around animals.

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National Library Board
Photo: National Library Board

National Library Board

Volunteer with the National Library Board under its kidsREAD programme where you can read to underprivileged children for just an hour a week. It's a great way to start new friendships and also clock in some time for a good cause. 

Silver Ribbon (Singapore)
Photo: Silver Ribbon Singapore

Silver Ribbon (Singapore)

There's been a lot of emphasis on mental lately and Silver Ribbon aims to combat mental health stigma, encourage early help, and facilitate the integration of people with mental illness within the society through innovative means of promoting mental health literacy. Sign up as a volunteer and lend whatever you can to them, whether you're a photographer or graphic designer.

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Love Kuching Project

Love Kuching Project

If you can't commit three or six months to do volunteer work but would still love to help out any time you can – and also happens to love cats, Luv Kuching Project is a small community-based cat rescue group in Singapore that focuses on rescuing cats in need, adoption of cats and educating the public on how to care for cats. 

Babes Pregnancy Crisis Support

Babes Pregnancy Crisis Support

Babes Pregnancy Crisis Support, also known as Babes was launched to be a programme for pregnant teenagers who need support and guidance but has now grown to be a proper organisation for pregnant youths who need help. Volunteering at Babes is generally ad-hoc in nature and highly depends on how you can help with your skillset. Whether it's tutoring Math, copywriting stories, tech support or organising fundraising activities, all sorts of help is welcome. 

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Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (ACRES)
Photograph: ACRES

Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (ACRES)

For birds and monkeys, to sugar gliders and snakes, ACRES leaves no animal behind. The animal protection organisation tackles the illegal wildlife trade, conducts rescues and rehabilitation, community outreach and also educates and raises awareness about animal welfare.

Food From The Heart

Food From The Heart

A good amount of food is wasted constantly being generated but the Food from the Heart programme aims to reduce this. You can join Food from the Heart's Bread Programme by collecting bread from various bakeries islandwide and distributing the baked good to the beneficiaries.

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Action for Singapore Dogs (ASD)

Action for Singapore Dogs (ASD)

Always wanted a dog but can't have one? At Action for Singapore Dogs (ASD), Saturdays are the best days to to take some of its shelter dosgs on a walk. It's also a good reason for you to got out and destress. We can't guarantee that you won't fall in love with one of these cute puppies and eventually bring them home. ASD also welcomes on other days of the week

Singapore Council of Women's Organisations (SCWO)

Singapore Council of Women's Organisations (SCWO)

Centrally located on Waterloo Street, the Singapore Council of Women's Organisations (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.

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Association for Women for Action and Research (AWARE)

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.

Willing Hearts

Willing Hearts

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.

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Voices for Animals

Voices for Animals

Voices for Animals 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

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.

Do good in Singapore

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