SIF Celebrates International Volunteer Day
It was a time to gather, share perspectives and make new friends.
While many people in Singapore rush to book their tour packages when vacation time is drawing near, some sign up with us for a different kind of experience, one that involves travelling to help uplift lives and build a better world for communities in the region.
This year alone, more than 330 Singapore International Volunteers (SIVs) participated in nearly 30 capacity building projects in 12 countries in Asia.
To mark International Volunteer Day in December, we organised an evening gathering at which, over dinner and a movie screening, SIVs, their friends and like-minded individuals shared insights and ideas gained from their experiences.
“It’s so good to be in each other’s company where we can truly contribute our individual’s experiences and build on the shared knowledge. I came to this networking session to find out about other volunteer opportunities,” said Melesio R Mercader Jr, who volunteered for our Water for Life project in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
In keeping with the idea of uplifting lives, the movie chosen for the evening was The First Grader, the true story of an 84-year-old Kenyan former freedom fighter fighting for his right to attend school.
“The movie is a touching revelation of life in Kenya. What I learnt from it is that when a dream becomes the focus, the obstacles fade into insignificance,” said Simone Chong, also a Water for Life volunteer.
To wrap up the evening, which was held on 30 November at Hotel Fort Canning, Esther Joosa, an arts education consultant, demonstrated the power of visual arts as a healing agent. Esther had worked in India as an SIF volunteer using art to support children and women infected with HIV/AIDS.
“Literacy is not just about reading and writing words. It applies to visuals too. They can mean different things to different people, depending on their background, culture and personal perspective. Though we may not know or speak each other’s language and culture, visual literacy helps bridge the gap between world communities and brings people together,” Esther elaborated.
Margaret Thevarakom, Director for International Volunteerism in SIF, said, “These regular networking events enable our volunteers to share the rich and diverse experiences they have gained on their volunteering journeys. As strong advocates deeply committed to making a difference to developing communities in the region, they are the best people to inspire and motivate others to reach out to the region. We deeply appreciate and celebrate their priceless contributions to countless lives overseas, and invite more Singaporeans to join us in building a better world."
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