Volunteers Without Borders

“There are no borders when it comes to helping people,” says Mr Thomas Pang, a volunteer with SINDA. The 47-year-old, who has been volunteering with SINDA for close to 2 years, says his experience thus far has given him more opportunities to serve the community in a fruitful way, as well as to spend quality time with his family.

Mr Pang, a Grab driver, first heard of SINDA’s volunteer opportunities through a conversation with a passenger. The idea of helping other people on a variable-time basis appealed to him, and soon he was helping to distribute vouchers and Festive Gift Packs to families during the festive seasons. He also assisted with preparing the vouchers, organising and carrying out distribution drives at residential areas. “I realised that I would be able to volunteer with SINDA, work comfortably and still set time aside for my family,” explained Mr Pang.

During the recent distribution drive, Mr Pang took on more responsibilities; leading groups of volunteers, briefing them on their duties, explaining do’s and don’ts and being on-call to help if any issues arose. Additionally, he has had more volunteers assigned to him to help the newer groups of helping hands.

Speaking of helping hands, Mr Pang has also been volunteering with his family! At first, his children were reluctant to the idea, as they would have to give up playing games on weekends. However, they began to see the merits of helping others after participating in SINDA’s volunteer efforts. Mr Pang’s eldest son, who is 18 years old, has since become a registered volunteer with SINDA as well! As Mr Pang affirmed, “We feel very happy to see people smiling because of what we have done; those smiles are invaluable to us.  As for my family, we are much closer than before, because of the opportunities we received through volunteering to bond with one another.”

There is the oft-asked question – how did Mr Pang find volunteering with an Indian organisation, despite the language barrier? “It wasn’t really a difficult issue, because my goal was to help others. Without speaking the same language, we were all still able to communicate and get work done. When people from different communities help each other, the social fabric of Singapore gets strengthened and diversified. I feel that’s what we should encourage among the future generations – help your fellow Singaporeans and build a system of support and encouragement. I don’t speak Tamil for now – but who knows, maybe in the future?” he quips.

According to Mr Pang, the positive energy he feels from helping others is what makes him continue volunteering. “Needless to say, monetary contributions go a long way. But when one invests their own time and resources into physically helping others, the assistance is so much more meaningful,” he reasons. “Helping the community should go beyond just monetary assistance.”

Through his experiences, the father of four wishes to inspire others to volunteer and make positive differences in their lives, as well as others’. “Volunteering with your loved ones is also a good way to spend time with them. Shopping and dining out are also ways to bond, but volunteering together is a much more meaningful way of spending time together. Your time is spent constructively, you are helping others, and you can concurrently improve your relationships.”