It is hard to be a student advocate in Singapore especially if you are a self-made advocate rather than one attached to a school's co-curricular activity (CCA).
A year ago, I founded a student-initiated group called Haoshuo Shesays to advocate for gender equality. We faced tremendous challenges as a group without an official endorsement.
Non-governmental organisations are not willing to work with student initiatives.
After all, who will bother to support and guide a student initiative that may have been started in a rush?
Of course, we can simply join a CCA , but they do not encompass every issue students are passionate about. At least in my school, there is no CCA working towards gender equality. Additionally, the CCA system is so structured that setting up a new club by oneself is nearly unheard of.
The National Youth Council does offer grants, but what we need is not a grant but a simple endorsement.
More support should be provided for student-initiated organisations. This will allow students to champion positive causes and make a tangible impact on the community.
On the other hand, if society is unreceptive towards such efforts, young people's passions may wear off.
Education is meant to cultivate active citizens - an objective that could be better achieved with more support for student-led initiatives.
Chen Anni, 19
Junior College Year 2 student