Walking trail app-makers hope to encourage people to give back to society

PHOTO: TIFFANY GOH FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

SINGAPORE - A local firm is rallying people to give back to society as they explore Singapore on foot through 12 charity walking trails.

Developed by LDR Technology, the LocoMole app guides users around major landmarks in a district and raises awareness of work done by organisations such as the Make-A-Wish Foundation or Malay Heritage Foundation.

People can read interesting historical snippets about each landmark, and also get suggestions on what to do there - for example, looking for the statuettes scattered around the Armenian Church's grounds.

The app also gives them a chance to donate money through charity portal giving.sg or volunteer their time.

Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin, who was at Saturday's (Jan 14) launch of the charity trails, said: "It's an opening for us to give and to be involved."

He said that it is not just about contributing in terms of money, though "sometimes that's the easy part". "It's the time that is quite valuable," Mr Tan added.

About 300 people explored the central civic district on foot at the launch.

Among them was 53-year-old regional director Yoosuf Moiz, who enjoyed the stops at historic sites such as the Central Fire Station.

"As Singaporeans, it's always nice to know more about the history of our country," he said.

The app includes 20 walking trails comprising nearly 300 hotspots, although the plan is to bump this up to 400 hotspots and 30 trails by March.

Apart from charity, the trails will revolve around themes such as nature, architecture and lifestyle.

LDR chief executive Png Bee Hin said: "We're trying to help people understand that while Singapore has transformed beautifully, there are always people who have needs."

Whether or not the app will translate into actual donations once people are aware of these needs remains to be seen.

Ms Melissa Kwee, chief executive of the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre, said: "I think awareness is the first step.

"If there's one out of every one hundred (walking the trail) who's moved to support, that would be great."