Covid-19 pandemic did not stop youth from serving the community

President Halimah Yacob speaking to youth who were part of the Youth Corps Leaders Programme on Jan 22, 2022. ST PHOTO: GIN TAY

SINGAPORE- The Covid-19 pandemic did not stop a group of youth from serving the community, despite disruptions to volunteering operations.

Some of the volunteering projects, such as those reaching out to seniors, continued, and were highlighted by President Halimah Yacob at the Youth Corps Singapore Leaders Programme Commencement Ceremony 2022 on Saturday (Jan 22).

Speaking at the Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre on Saturday, Madam Halimah said the pandemic and its disruptions may have caused a "double whammy" for the community in need.

Fortunately, the Youth Corps quickly adjusted its programmes so that young people could continue volunteering while still adhering to Covid-19 rules. This includes moving their activities online.

Madam Halimah presented certificates to youth who were part of the Youth Corps Leaders Programme in 2020 and 2021, together with Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong, who was also at the event.

As part of the leadership programme, youth aged between 17 and 25 take on projects that last between nine months and a year. A total of 400 youth were part of the programme in 2020 and 2021.

One of the projects, Project We+65, aimed to address social isolation among seniors by organising activities for them.

It did not come without its challenges for Ms Deirdre Ng, a first-year student from the Nanyang Technological University.

Ms Ng, 19, who has chronic kidney disease, had to juggle between monthly hospital visits and volunteering.

"Having to manage my health, my mental state and this project, it was quite a struggle at first. I took about one to two months to really adjust and to prioritise whatever I could to make sure this project was a smooth-sailing one," she said.

Ms Deirdre Ng Jie Min (left) and Ms Nur Haziqah Binte Mohd Yazib at the Youth Corps Singapore Leaders Programme Commencement Ceremony, on Jan 22, 2022. ST PHOTO: GIN TAY

Ms Nur Haziqah Mohd Yazib, 22, a third-year psychology student at the National University of Singapore, had worked with people with mental health conditions at a wellness centre under the Singapore Association for Mental Health.

"Exposure to this programme made me realise how people with mental conditions are really not different from the rest of us, and we shouldn't treat them any differently," said Ms Haziqah.

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