Hit hard by Covid-19 pandemic, they still find ways to give back

In March last year, financial adviser Siti Nur Indra Jalil tested positive for Covid-19 and was warded at Mount Alvernia Hospital for 49 days.

For the first 10 days in hospital, she had a fever of between 39 and 40 deg C, was immobile from sore muscles and joint pains, was breathless and could not taste or smell anything.

Yet, she continued mentoring youth from her hospital bed as she encouraged them online to study hard and pursue a higher education. Ms Indra, 26, was one of three people The Straits Times spoke to who had been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic - and still helped others.

The National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre said its online donation platform,, received $102 million in donations for the financial year from April 1 last year to March 31 this year.

This is more than 2½ times the $39.5 million raised in the last financial year and the highest it had ever collected.

Some, like Ms Indra, contributed in other ways.

She is a volunteer at M3@Jurong. M3 is an alliance of three Malay/Muslim organisations - Mendaki, the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) and the People's Association Malay Activity Executive Committees Council.

Mr Daniel Wee, 65, who was retrenched last October, is a donor. He was a training coordinator for technicians who service and maintain aircraft and had been in the aviation industry for about 40 years.

But Mr Wee, who is single, continues to sponsor children for non-profit group World Vision Singapore, which helps underprivileged children and families globally. He has been a sponsor since 2012.

He now sponsors one child in Mongolia, seven, and a 16-year-old in Cambodia. He donates $45 for each child monthly.

"It was a bit of a struggle, but I don't want to give it up. A child's development is very important. I shouldn't stop just because I'm down with financial difficulties."

Mr Wee, who is looking for a job, now goes out less frequently with his friends and eats at home. "Hopefully, if I get a part-time job, I can take on a new sponsored child."

This article first appeared in The Straits Times.