[By a former volunteer of Singapore International Foundation in the SIF Commemorative Book published in 2011]
My helping a group of students came about entirely by chance.
I had just relocated from Botswana to Pretoria, South Africa. At a public swimming pool I used to frequent in my free time, I started chatting with some youths who were keen to learn to swim. They were refugees from neighbouring countries Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda.
I’d decided to visit them at their regular student association meetings and met more of their friends. Over time, a handful of these youths shared with me their family backgrounds and the financial obstacles they faced, especially with regard to their education.
Since then, I’ve been only too happy to help these students purchase basics things like stationery and school uniforms, and to tutor them in maths and science. We even have an arrangement where I sponsor sports equipment in exchange for them achieving better exam grades.
Small acts like attending their football games and giving out photos of them at matches are other forms of encouragement I give in the hope of making their goals in life seem just a bit more attainable.
I don’t plan to change the world – I honestly wouldn’t know how. This is just me, doing my little part to help others. Maybe that’s enough.
Do something nice for someone else. It doesn’t have to take a special occasion to start paying attention to the people around you. See someone looking a little discouraged or isolated? Think about what you can do to help. It can be as simple as buying them lunch or starting a conversation with them. A better world is a happier one.