The festive season just gone by might have felt a little different than usual. What normally is a time of exuberant, carefree celebration instead shaped up to be a period of sombre reflection for many. And as we now emerge from a year of severe need, kindness and generosity have shown themselves to be the most precious salves of all. While numerous communities in Singapore have taken the brunt of suffering—from our migrant workers to the homeless population living on Singapore’s streets, many have banded together to support and uplift one another.
Of all your New Year’s resolutions for 2021, none could be more worthy than resolving to give back more. Here, find eight good ways to contribute to someone else’s wellbeing, no matter your budget or lifestyle. Remember, no matter how small, every contribution can make a difference.
Empower foreign domestic workers with Aidha
When the nation was stuck in lockdown last year, foreign domestic workers in Singapore had to adapt quickly—not only were they losing their only day off, they now had to manage households that were permanently full. Despite having to be away from their own families in an anxious time, they continued to care for our homes in a time when we needed it most. To help them realise their own dreams, volunteer your time or donate to Aidha, which offers money management and entrepreneurship courses to help foreign domestic workers achieve economic independence.
Celebrate different abilities at The Art Faculty
A social enterprise by Autism Resource Centre (Singapore), The Art Faculty is a café, gallery and store that showcases the abilities of people with autism and related challenges. Here, you can buy everything from face masks to home décor pieces made by artists with autism, who receive royalties for each purchase. As an avid patron, actor Fiona Xie says, “The Art Faculty empowers artists with special talents and abilities to dream, create, and seek meaningful work opportunities. In these unprecedented times, it has never been more important to provide an inclusive and sustainable future for all.”
Help women in need with the AWARE Women’s Helpline
As the only women’s helpline in Singapore, gender-equality advocacy group AWARE’s helpline operates in all four national languages and provides crucial support to women in crisis, from family violence to marital issues. This helpline is the main point of contact for trauma-informed support services like professional counselling, pro-bono legal advice, emotional care and referrals to other organisations. With a donation of any amount, you can help women facing abuse and violence by funding staff training and improving the quality of support the helpline is able to provide.
Donate to the helpline at giving.sg.
Uplift the community with Mutual Aid
Mutual Aid takes a grassroots approach to community support by encouraging people to think about how they can care for those in their immediate vicinity, like the security guard at their condo or the cleaner who goes around the neighbourhood. In Singapore, volunteers have created several spreadsheets (for the general community, or specifically for migrant workers to name a few) to help connect people who need support with people who are able to provide it, whether by providing enough money to buy diapers or by paying off someone’s hospital bills. A volunteer, who prefers to stay anonymous, shares, “Mutual Aid tries to address the needs of people who have been structurally denied help and assistance, which is why it operates outside of formal structures and institutions. Everyone is deserving and nobody should be denied basic needs.”
“In these unprecedented times, it has never been more important to provide an inclusive and sustainable future for all”
Feed essential workers with the Majulah Movement
The Majulah Movement was birthed by a small group of Singaporeans who partner with food businesses (with a focus on the home-grown) to provide delicious meal sets and treat packs for Singapore’s medical staff and migrant workers. With a donation of $10, you can provide up to two set meals or a treat pack with chocolates, nuts, dried fruits and more. Your donation also helps the movement’s restaurant and driver partners by supplementing their pandemic-affected incomes. Singaporean actor and co-founder Paul Foster says, “We are now reaching more vulnerable groups such as lower income families or those who were financially hit post COVID-19. This initiative will extend beyond the pandemic—as there are always people in need.”
Donate to the Majulah Movement here.
Fight animal cruelty with Save our Street Dogs
Grounded in compassion for stray dogs in Singapore who often face rampant abuse, animal welfare group Save our Street Dogs works with a mission to improve their lives through rescue and advocacy. The organisation aims to educate the public, campaign against culling policies, rescue and rehome as many stray dogs as possible, and provide sterilisation services as a humane method for the control of the stray population. Making a donation to Save our Street Dogs could save innumerable lives by contributing to veterinarian bills and shelter costs.
Donate to Save our Street Dogs.
Support Singapore’s seniors with Ye Traditions
Started by a mother-daughter team, Ye Traditions is focused on helping Singapore’s elderly age actively. They work with senior citizen chef-partners who have a passion for cooking their traditional recipes. While often laborious and time-consuming to prepare, these recipes—including red rice wine, oyster cakes and Fuzhou Dumplings, represent a piece of our heritage. Ye Traditions creates packaging for their partner-chefs’ products and helps them to market and distribute the items, while a percentage of the proceeds go back to the chefs. Founder Yap Jinyen shares: “This is a space where seniors can meet like-minded friends, share their traditions and recreate these recipes for generations to come.”