If you’re looking to give back and connect with your community, check out our handy list of non-profit organisations with a worthy cause
There’s no shortage of things to do in Singapore, and that includes helping out those in need. If you’re thinking of ways to give back to the community beyond donating your gently used goods, the next step could be sharing your skills and your time for a great cause. Whatever your choice of charity may be – helping those living under challenging circumstances or with extra needs, animal welfare, or supporting gender equality – here’s our round-up of volunteering opportunities in Singapore where you can earn some good karma.
Love horses and volunteering? Combine the best of both worlds at Riding for the Disabled Association Singapore. This amazing initiative provides hippotherapy (horse-riding therapy) to physically and mentally challenged children and adults – and we can’t think of a better way to volunteer. Don’t fret if you haven’t any prior horse-riding experience, on-the-job training is provided. Group and individual volunteers above 16 years old are welcome join.
Very Special Arts (VSA) Singapore has been running successful art programmes, workshops and art exhibitions for disabled children and adults for over 25 years – and the number of volunteers has only been increasing. Have a skill you’d like to share? Have a go at volunteering for dance, yoga, music, singing and drama classes, and watch your students shine at respective exhibitions and performances.
Be one with nature and volunteer with Nature Society. Strap on your boots and embark on a horseshoe crab rescue and research project at the Mandai mudflats or get down and dirty to clear the aquatic vegetation at the Kranji Marshes. No time? Contribute to the feeding records of butterflies and report feeding behaviours whenever you spot one at your nearest park.
Most of us know that HIV/AIDS is still a controversial topic here in Singapore but you have the power to challenge the status quo. A volunteer at Action for AIDS begins with an outreach programme and can advance to a testing counselor for their anonymous testing services. You’ll also get a chance to turn your meaningful work here into a career – head to the job board for more information.
Help create a decent home for the less fortunate with Habitat for Humanity’s Project HomeWorks. This initiative may not be as easy as others (the cleaning can get pretty intense) but anything to give the elderly, low-income families and those with disabilities a safe and sanitary home. Planning to volunteer with the family? Join the UnLitter Red Dot programme for a clean-up at your neighbourhood.
Want to put your creative background to good use? Lend a helping hand to recovering drug users through the Singapore Anti-Narcotics Association’s (SANA) volunteer programmes. You’ll have the chance to provide photography support at major events and design public publicity to raise awareness on drug abuse. Of course, there are various counselling, fundraising and events support open to volunteers.
Want to play a part in breaking the poverty cycle of underprivileged children and youth? Register yourself (or with your mates) and make someone’s day by running an activity for the children, sharing a skill or hobby, hosting an event or simply providing a listening ear to a kid. Beyond Social Services is open to other ideas so just have a chat with the friendly team if you have something else in mind.
What started out as an initiative to help at-risk children has now spawned a multi-service organisation that serves the disadvantaged from the elderly to people with special needs or disabilities. Interested? Check out the volunteering opportunities with TOUCH Community Services or get in touch by emailing email@example.com. Some of their programmes include accompanying the elderly to their medical appointments once a week; or if you have a car, drivers are more than welcome to volunteer for their Meals-on-Wheels programme that delivers meals to homebound elderly.
Voluntary welfare organisation MINDS aims to empower people with intellectual disability and aid their integration into society. How can you help? Through various means: if you’ve got a handy skill to impart (art, music, swimming, etc.), you can volunteer as an assistant teacher or assist in behind-the-scenes work such as administration. Better yet, if you’re in a position to hire, you can offer employment opportunities, or donate your pre-loved items to their thrift shops and support a good cause.
With a mission to alleviate human suffering, the Red Cross is looking for volunteers to help out with fund-raising, ambulance services, at blood donation drives, at the Red Cross Home for the Disabled, in addition to other humanitarian causes.
Ex-offenders might’ve done their time, but that doesn’t mean life is any easier for them as they ease back into society. Your support is vital to fight the stigma associated with ex-offenders, so sign up as a Yellow Ribbon Advocate and/or donate to the Yellow Ribbon Fund. If you’re an employer, take it one step further and register for an account on the online job portal so that ex-offenders don’t miss out on available employment opportunities.
Aside from openings as kettle bell-ringers during Christmas, the Salvation Army has tons of volunteering opportunities for you to get involved. Fundraising, donation drives, workshops, academic mentoring, and organising field trips for various beneficiaries: the sky’s the limit.
A good amount of food wastage is constantly being generated, so why not give them to the needy and help to make their day! You can join Food from the Heart’s Bread Programme by collecting bread from various bakeries islandwide and distributing these yummy goods to the beneficiaries. Looking to help with more? Participate in toy drives and help collate and distribute toys to children.
A budding chef in the making, or simply interested in cooking and preparing meals, especially if it’s for a good cause? Willing Hearts is the soup kitchen to be at! It’s open daily and welcomes all who wish to help, be it through ingredient preparation, packing of food items, cleaning and washing and more.
Aimed at helping out the disadvantaged from infancy to old age, the AWWA has many opportunities for you to help out: you can work with the elderly, children with special needs, or help out administratively. We’ve previously volunteered with the AWWA School as teaching assistants, working with children with autism and it was one of the most rewarding volunteering experience we ever had.
Making someone’s wish come true is easier than you think. Help Make a Wish Foundation grant wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions by donating, volunteering to be a Wish Granter or assisting with the foundation’s administrative work. For more info, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Singapore’s leading gender equality advocacy group AWARE is always on the lookout for more volunteers to do anything from manning crisis hotlines to dishing out legal aid. For those who need a little flexibility on volunteering hours, this one’s for you. You can choose to volunteer from home, do part-time or even full-time work.
Want to help improve the lives of foreign domestic workers and low-income women via greater financial literacy? Aidha provides classes in money management, computer literacy etc, and you can volunteer to mentor for Aidha’s Sunday classes and empower the lives of these students.
Animal Welfare Shelters/Animal Welfare Advocacy Groups
Volunteering with animals isn’t always the most glamorous job as there’s some very practical jobs that need to be done, but it’s also one of the most fulfilling jobs, and there are plenty of furry/feathered/scaly friends who will be thankful. Animal lovers, time to roll up those sleeves and take your pick from the myriad animal welfare causes around. Want to work with dogs? Check out Oasis Second Chance Animal Shelter (OSCAS), HOPE Dog Rescue, and Action for Singapore Dogs. Friends with felines? Try Cat Welfare Society and Love Kuching Project.
If you adore both, hit up SPCA, Animal Lovers League or consider joining ACRES as a volunteer. Opportunities include rescuing wild or abandoned animals, fundraising, stray feeding, or helping out at public outreach programs.
Migrant workers in Singapore face many pressing issues, which you can help alleviate. Show your support by volunteering for ongoing projects like The Cuff Road Project (a free meal program for out-of-job workers), fundraising, lending legal aid, or working with various outreach programmes. Volunteer with TWC2 or HOME.
Join the SWCO as a volunteer across various scopes, including volunteering regularly with the Star Shelter, a temporary refuge for women and children who are victims of domestic violence – You can offer tutoring services, child-care support and more. Or volunteer with the New2U Thrift Shop, which aims to raise funds through retail to support the Shelter and other SWCO initiatives. Other ad-hoc opportunities are also available for those who prefer more administrative duties.
Got a love for the written word? Storytellers can put their oratory skills to good use by volunteering as readers to underprivileged children at public libraries and community clubs around Singapore through the kidsREAD Clubs. Email kidsREAD@nlb.gov.sg for more details.
Here’s another wonderful cause that aims to promote reading and writing amongst kids – Volunteer with the ReadAble community that champions literacy for children through weekly reading and language arts classes! It’s been featured across various social media for the awesome work done, and you can contribute as a teacher or simply sponsor items to facilitate classroom sessions and excursions.
Pregnancy can be one big thing for many women, and especially so if you’re young and confused. Volunteer at Babes, a service which provides support to pregnant teenagers: you can be involved in ad-hoc duties, organising fundraising activities, or simply be present as a friend to these girls.
If you’re dedicated to eradicating poverty, reducing child mortality, empowering women, and combating HIV/AIDS, this cause is for you. There are many ways you can contribute to the ONE Singapore causes: from donations to signing petitions, sponsoring a child’s education, and ad hoc volunteering.
If you’re a big believer that love is love, be a part of this non-profit movement that supports the LGBT community. Their annual event, Pink Dot, is exponentially growing as one of the biggest events to watch out for in Singapore, and extra pairs of helping hands are always in need to spread the message of acceptance.
There’s nothing more rewarding than bringing smiles to children. Be a part of Club Rainbow where you can bring joy to the lives of terminally ill children through donations or sign up as a volunteer. But be prepared: you’ll be regarded as a mentor for these kids and it requires a high commitment on your part. Alternatively, volunteers are relied on to help run their various fund-raising events and support programmes such as the annual Camp Rainbow.
With 11 service centres across the island, Singapore Children’s Society offers help and services to children and families in need, and you can help by volunteering at one of the service centres. There’s always ad-hoc programmes that you can participate in, from giving weekly tuition, to assisting with talks and workshops, or just helping out with administrative duties.
Rock that iconic pink pin and be a part of a movement to eradicate breast cancer – the most common life-threatening disease among women in Singapore. There’s plenty of volunteering opportunities to choose from, as BCF relies on volunteers to carry out campaigns, events and educational seminars to spread awareness about early detection of breast cancer.
As Singapore’s first autism-focused school, Pathlight School combines a mainstream academic curriculum with life readiness skills. It’ll be great if you can commit long-term, as they are looking for regular volunteers to help out with the school, including organising events for the kids, helping with fundraisers and library assistance.
Established in 1987, Rainbow Centre supports children with special needs, and you can do the same by volunteering as classroom support, or take the kids out on weekly outings. Those with professional expertise are welcome to provide their services, such as helping to run medical check-ups or conducting therapy sessions.
Volunteer with Fei Yue, a not-for-profit welfare organisation, to help the elderly in Singapore. Befriend them through home visits, join them in outdoor activities, or you can help to pack and distribute rations. Ad-hoc volunteering opportunities in administrative work are also available for those who prefer to work behind the scenes.
At Singapore’s largest home hospice care provider, there are many ways you can volunteer and offer your services at HCA Hospice, including befriending the patients, accompanying them to medical appointments, helping out with game and therapy sessions and organising events for the patients and their families. Simply contact the volunteer coordinator who will arrange for a chat, followed by an orientation and training programme.
Like this story? Check these out…
Animal charities: Where to volunteer to help animals in Singapore
Where to donate your used goods to charity
Flea markets in Singapore: shop for second-hand goodies
This retail space welcomes clothes swapping