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Keeping It Local

Bigger isn’t always better as these niche charities in Singapore prove.

When it comes to devoting time or precious resources to charity, more often than not it can be easy to get lost in a myriad of associations, foundations and organisations. Moreover, with large corporations having such large overheads in today’s world, how do you choose where your dollars will really count? With that in mind, here are four niche Singapore-based charities we stand behind to make a difference.


Autism Association Singapore

While there is not an accepted single cause for autism, it is generally agreed that it can be caused by abnormalities in the brain’s function or in its structure. With that in mind, the Autism Association of Singapore doesn’t work to find a cure, but it is committed to helping provide the best life for those affected with autism and their families. It offers various programmes for children of different ages and autism levels. This includes The Eden Children’s Centre, for children aged two to six, whereby children are equipped with the relevant skills to be able to enter school; and The Eden School, which is a fully equipped autism-specific school helping the children learn with dignity and independence. The Autism Association also boasts an extremely innovative charity initiative in the form of The Art Centre, where students at the school are able to sell artwork and crafts they have made to the general public, with profits going back into providing education and equipment for the students.


Singapore Committee for UN Women

The Singapore Committee for UN Women was set up in 1999 with the aim of helping women who could not help themselves. It was created with a belief that overcoming the challenges that face these women would not be achieved without empowering them. It works by supporting local, regional and global programmes that provide women with access to economic independence to help them work towards achieving a life free from violence and abuse. It holds several fundraisers, including the annual SNOW Gala, as well as many events throughout the year aimed at raising awareness and helping women be more aware of their rights in society.


TOUCH Community Services

TOUCH began in 1986 as a service to help children of low-income families by providing them with a positive environment where they could spend their free time. From then, TOUCH has grown into a multi-service organisation with a range of 18 services, 19 centres and 24 children’s clubs across Singapore, including in Bukit Merah, Clementi and Serangoon. While the charity might have expanded greatly over the past 24 years, its core values of helping families that cannot help themselves remains the same. Since its launch, TOUCH has expanded its services to help people of all ages, races and religions with needs ranging from daily help to elderly healthcare.


Singapore Council of Women’s Organisations

The Singapore Council of Women’s Organisations (SCWO) was established in 1980 to act as a coordinating body for women’s organisations in Singapore. To date, SCWO has more than 50-member organisations and serves more than 500,000 women, seeking to help them work towards ‘ideals of equal space, equal voice and equal worth’. Thanks to a board of all-female, highly educated and highly respected women (including Dr June Goh, who sits on the Association of Women Doctors; and Ms Trina Liang, who is involved with The United Nations Development Fund for Women), the SCWO helps women and women’s initiatives throughout Singapore in a variety of ways. A prime example of this is Star Shelter, which was founded in 1999 and is the only secular crisis centre in Singapore that aims to provide refuge for women and children who are victims of abuse.

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