Volunteering should not be about benefits

Volunteering should not be about benefits

Mr Teo Soon Peng's letter ("Nearest school in different GRC, so volunteer work not recognised"; last Thursday) raises fundamental questions about the nature of volunteer work in Singapore.

First, why should volunteers linked to the People's Association receive such perks and advantages?

There are hundreds of groups and charitable associations run by volunteers who do not enjoy, for example, priority in public housing allocation or children's education.

Second, should volunteer work not be driven by passion and a desire to give back to society?

This is not an idealistic expectation. Many people, including myself, have volunteered with non-governmental organisations because we believe in the causes espoused by such groups and not because we are chasing after benefits.

I appeal to the Education Ministry and People's Association to rescind such rewards to volunteers so that we can reclaim the true spirit of volunteerism in Singapore and enable it to flourish.

Harvey Neo

This article was published on April 21 in The Straits Times.

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