1. What is the Words on Wheels project about?

    Words on Wheels (WOW) is a mobile library project initiated and managed by the Singapore International Foundation.

    By providing students and local communities with improved access to free education materials, IT resources and learning facilities, the project aims to inculcate reading and self-learning habits among children and young people to encourage lifelong learning. Volunteers will develop and conduct English and IT lessons to help improve local students’ literacy skills.

    At the same time, a mobile library equipped with books, IT and AV equipment will travel to local schools regularly to meet their informational needs.

2. What are the prerequisites to be a Community Programmes volunteer?

    Our volunteers are key to the success of our programmes! We welcome volunteers who are residing in Singapore such as Singapore citizens, permanent residents or foreigners holding a valid work or study visa.

    Volunteers must be:

    • At least 18 years old and above
    • Medically fit for overseas travel
    • Culturally-sensitive
    • Adaptable and willing to serve
    • Open to sharing and learning
    • A team player with good interpersonal skills
    • Able to engage classes of students aged 6 to 18

    A minimum team size of 4 and a maximum of 8 is required for each for WOW trip to start. Volunteers may apply individually or as a group.

3. I am unable to form a team. Can the SIF help to find or link me up with other like-minded volunteers?

    We will facilitate matching of individuals to form a team based on the dates scheduled and will inform you once we have enough people to start the trip.

4. Do I need to have prior teaching experience or certification to volunteer for WOW?

    As a volunteer, your role is to foster the love of reading and learning in children. As such, you do not need to be a teacher or to have prior teaching experience or certification to volunteer for WOW.

5. I am a foreigner/PR living in Singapore. Can I volunteer in Community Programmes?

    Yes, we welcome all volunteers who are residing in Singapore. Volunteers have to be Singapore citizens, PR or foreigners holding a valid work or study visa based in Singapore.

6. What are the costs involved for volunteers?

    The cost for each volunteer follows:

    Ho Chi Minh City Yogyakarta
    Single: S$1070
    Twin: S$995
    Single: S$1030
    Twin: S$940

    The following items are included in the cost:

    • Return air tickets to Ho Chi Minh City or Yogyakarta
    • Hotel accommodation
    • 2-way airport transfers
    • Local ground transportation to and from project sites
    • Lunches on service days and one welcome dinner
    • Travel insurance and ISOS emergency services
    • Project Administration and Management

    Rates are based on standard itineraries and are subject to fluctuations in flight and in-country costs. They will be reviewed periodically at SIF’s discretion.

7. Does the SIF provide any funding for volunteers?

    All volunteers are required to finance their own volunteer trips.

    This is because the Community Programmes focus on channelling resources to disadvantaged communities and directly addressing their immediate concerns. By having volunteers to take care of their own costs, we are then able to focus resources on the communities.

    You may choose to raise funds publicly or privately among friends and family. Please check with the Commissioner of Charities and the Singapore Police Force for regulations pertaining to public fund-raising as well as applications for fund-raising permits should you choose to do so.

8. Can I extend my stay beyond the volunteer trip?

    Yes. Should you wish to extend your trip, kindly inform us of any variation to the standard itinerary before making payment so that we can advise on additional costs. Additional costs incurred due to personal extensions will be borne by the volunteer.

    Once payment has been made, you will not be able to make any further changes.

9. What is the SIF’s role in organising the volunteering trip?

    The SIF will manage all necessary administrative and logistical arrangements for Community Programmes trips such as booking flights, accommodation, transport and insurance.

    We will also conduct a pre-departure orientation (PDO) briefing and provide volunteers with resources to equip and prepare you for the volunteer programme.

    An experienced SIF-appointed team leader, otherwise known as a Team Leader, will be assigned and will travel with the team to provide on-site assistance during the volunteer trip. SIF staff members will also be available throughout for consultation.

10. How do I register and apply for the volunteer trip?

    You may register your interest by filling in the form here. We will contact you within 3 working days.

11. Are the volunteering trips dangerous?

    There are inherent risks associated with overseas volunteering. The SIF will advise all volunteers on travel insurance coverage and necessary precautions in terms of personal medical needs and safety. As the SIF undertakes to provide a safe working environment to its fullest ability, volunteers are likewise required to take full responsibility of inherent risks when travelling and working at project sites.

12. Will there be any certificates/acknowledgement for volunteering in Community Programmes?

    E-certificates of participation are given out annually in Dec to volunteers who have completed volunteer trips with SIF in the preceding year.

    In addition, you will become part of the community of Singapore International Volunteers and get to enjoy privileges accorded to this community of volunteers.

13. Will I be able to keep in contact with the local community, or visit them independently, after my trip?

    All volunteers are free to maintain contact with and visit the local community.

14. What is your cancellation and/or refund policy?

    Airfare 5 weeks prior to trip departure or upon issuance of tickets, whichever comes first:
    No refund
    Land cost
    (Costs for hotel accommodation, 2-way airport group transfer, local ground transportation to and from the project site, local logistics and on-site assistance, travel insurance and ISOS emergency services)
    15 days or more prior to trip departure:
    50% refund

    14 days or less prior to trip departure:
    No refund

15. What does a typical WOW itinerary look like?

    Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4
    Arrival in host country
    Check-in at hotel
    Team meeting to prepare for activities
    Welcome dinner
    Arrival at School A
    Conduct WOW classroom activities and interact with students at mobile library
    Arrive at School B
    Conduct WOW classroom activities and interact with students at mobile library
    Depart for Singapore
    Or extend your trip

16. Are there any other Community Programmes that we can volunteer in?

    Besides Words on Wheels and Water for Life, we are continuously seeking meaningful projects that will bring Singaporean and overseas communities together. If you are interested in finding out more, please sign up for our E-Newsletter by emailing us at [email protected]. You will receive regular updates on volunteer opportunities.

17. I would like to donate cash or resources to the project. How can I do it and is this tax deductible?

    While we welcome donations of funds as well as resources, we will need more information on your donation before assessing if this is viable for the overseas community, and if it can be tax-deductible.

    Please contact us at [email protected] for further discussion.