A recent article by The Straits Times revealed that youth in Singapore are concerned about social issues such as environmental sustainability and helping the needy. This was revealed at a pre-Budget 2021 dialogue on 13 January 2021, involving 170 Singapore youth and several Cabinet ministers.
As a youth yourself, you may be wondering how you can get involved in these social causes as well. In fact, you may still be trying to find a social cause that you are truly passionate about, beyond mandatory school-based community service. Look no further, because this article will suggest three broad social issues that can help you kickstart your journey in helping the community.
Helping the needy
You may be thinking: “Well, duh. Of course I would help the needy.”
Many people think about this, but most find it difficult to take action. It may be too time-consuming to fit in our busy schedules, or we simply cannot find the resources to start.
However, you do not have to force yourself to commit to an organisation immediately. You can start by setting aside just a few days during your school break to volunteer. Once you find that you enjoy the experience, you are more likely to volunteer regularly and become more acquainted with the people there and their practices.
If volunteering is just not for you, being on the lookout on social media can be a place to start. Often, families in need may post their stories on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, hoping to get their voices heard and receive the help they need. Be a proactive social media user by sharing such posts as often as you can, or even personally contribute some money to help them.
Here are some local organisations you can consider volunteering at or donating to:
Food Bank Singapore — Aims to reduce food insecurity by delivering meals to the less fortunate through collecting and redistributing excess food.
Willing Hearts — Delivers food to households facing food insecurity.
Food From The Heart — Delivers food, groceries, and toys to households in need.
Most, if not all of us have probably heard about Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg, well-known for her radical efforts towards reducing climate change at the young age of 15.
As a youth spearheading environmental activism on a global level, Thunberg is a great example for many youths to start doing our part for the environment. Like Thunberg, you can volunteer for initiatives such as beach clean-ups or recycling drives. Posting about these ventures on social media can help the initiative gain traction among your followers.
On a personal level, you can document your journey towards going green. Shop second-hand instead of fast fashion, and reduce packaging waste by shopping at zero-waste stores such as Eco.Le or Scoop Whole Foods. You can even start your own online business selling clothes you may not wear anymore, instead of tossing them out.
Perhaps one of Singapore’s more hidden sides is the animal shelter industry. Causes for Animals, a local animal shelter, estimates that there are over ten thousand stray animals roaming around Singapore. Stray animals are often abandoned dogs and cats, who run the risk of car accidents, food p oisoning or malnutrition while on the streets.
A great place to start championing the animal welfare cause would be donating or volunteering regularly at registered animal shelters in Singapore, such as Causes for Animals or Animal Lovers’ League. You can help keep these non-profit shelters a clean and safe space for our furry friends as they await their forever home. You can also encourage friends and family members to adopt shelter pets instead of buying puppies and kittens.
While this may seem like an insignificant way to help, your actions could change the life of a shelter animal through simply spreading the word.
Serve from the heart
Above all, the most rewarding experiences arise from an authentic desire to help better the lives of others, be it people or animals. In recent years, more and more youths have put their passion to work and started social initiatives to help make the world a better place. With a genuine heart for service, you could be one of them too.