Voices@Athena--Balasingam  Shanmugathaasan

"When you give back to society, you’re able to substantially improve the lives of people around you."

Balasingam Shanmugathaasan
Chief Executive Officer
Singapore Statutory Boards Employees’ Co-operative Thrift & Loan Society Ltd.


MBA in General Management Batch 2021

My interest is Volunteering for the elderly-- Helping Hands

I have the opportunity to give back to the community in many ways. These volunteering experiences further opened my eyes to the needs of my community and the many opportunities to serve by volunteering. Helping Hands, a social services organization, has helped my family in the past. Several years ago, my family was struggling with income and Helping Hands was generous enough to help us with school fees and food. I chose to volunteer at Helping Hands because I wanted to do my bit for society. 

The COVID-19 pandemic brought about unprecedented fear and uncertainty, especially among older adults. The elderly rely on social connection more than most of us and they need it desperately now than ever. The elderly and retired sometimes require a helping hand and they also often need to have people around them. With Singapore practicing a nationwide lockdown and social distancing, vulnerable seniors feel more alone than usual.

I participated in the first ever community outreach programme with Reni Ci Hospital. I had a great time with the elderly, playing games, singing oldies, making crafts and above all, spreading love and joy in their lives as we broaden our hearts. I hope to seek more of such opportunities in the future to spread happiness in the community. The reasons are far too many to enumerate here, but the reality is that the senior people who live in such residences feel desperately lonely and out of place, and that takes a toll on both their mental and physical health.

We donated 10,000 surgical masks and 200 reusable masks with GP to thank migrant workers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. SNCF collaborated with Hagar Singapore, an NGO, through a social enterprise to distribute the masks to migrant workers in May 2020.

This year, we had the opportunity to give back to the community in many ways. We are grateful for this chance to distribute festive goodies, food essentials including rice, oil, biscuits, and sugar to residents. It was heart-warming to spend time with them, spreading love and joy.

Next, we distributed food hampers to 550 families in need. The food hampers contained kitchen essentials including rice, oil, biscuits, and sugar. In this regard, donations of more than $20,000 were also distributed to the families to help with their expenses for the Hari Raya celebration.

Most of us are worried for our loved ones who are elderly and living far away from us. 

No matter where you live, there are senior citizens who need your help. A great way to get started is to simply be mindful of opportunities that appear at the moment. 

The importance of giving back to society cannot be understated. When you give back, you’re able to substantially improve the lives of the people around you – your loved ones, the people in your community or the lives of people somewhere else in the world. And finding meaning by giving back to the community doesn’t just benefit others – it benefits you.

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