Encourage our young to volunteer in the region

The news of a group of Singaporeans coming together to help orphans in Papua province in Indonesia was heart-warming (Kids get fresh start at Batam orphanage; June 13).

As an active volunteer with the Singapore Red Cross, I am involved in both passive and active philanthropy in Singapore and internationally.

In Singapore though, raising funds is relatively easier compared with recruiting volunteers to contribute time to help out in non-profit organisations.

A report by National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre last year, showed that volunteerism rate in Singapore has gone up from 18 per cent in 2014 to 35 per cent in 2016 (More turn to ground-up volunteer projects; March 18, 2017).

On the other hand, donations have almost doubled from $1.25 billion in 2014 to $2.18 billion in 2016 (Kampung spirit revival as more volunteer informally; March 16, 2017).

According to the profile surveyed, more than 64 per cent have volunteered occasionally, with about half going through informal organisations.

A high level of active philanthropy, an increasing number of ground-up initiatives and a self-organising nature to resolve community issues are marks of a civic society.

It is time to consider fine-tuning our community involvement programme and allowing our students to work in projects beyond our shores.

Edward Tay Wee Meng