More S’poreans volunteer abroad

The young Singaporean, whose volunteering mission in Uganda ended with a nasty adventure, is not alone in seeking out far-flung places for charity work.

A check with various organisations found that an increasing number of Singaporeans are going further afield for volunteer work or helping foreign beneficiaries with their donations.

YMCA of Singapore had 1,250 volunteers involved in 56 International Service Programme trips last year.

From 2009, the number of volunteers increased 79 per cent, the number of trips increased 36 per cent and the number of beneficiaries increased by 110 per cent, said Stephen Loh, president of YMCA of Singapore. He added that the trips were to countries like Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Laos, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam.

The National Youth Council supports an average of 200 teams made up of 15 to 20 youth each year, said a spokesman.

Since its launch in 2000, Youth Expedition Project has supported more than 27,000 young people and 1,300 expeditions to ASEAN, India and China.

Singaporeans choose to volunteer overseas for a variety of reasons, said Mercy Relief’s spokesman. “Some want to…experience life in a developing country, some want to go to help the disadvantaged, some go for self-discovery, to see if they can handle living in tougher conditions,” she said.

Student Lim Ching Ying, 18, said: “By setting aside time to travel overseas and volunteer, it emphasises the amount of commitment you have to your cause.”

“When you’re overseas on a definite mission to help others, you’d be more focused on your task than if you were volunteering on the sidelines in Singapore.”

She has been on three service-learning trips to Chiang Mai, Batam and Ho Chi Minh City in three consecutive years, from 2009.

Source: My Paper