Acts of volunteerism are usually associated with food distribution and caring for the elderly. But the COVID-19 pandemic has required volunteer organisations to adapt and move many programmes online. One such organisation is the National Kidney Foundation (NKF).
On Nov 3 last year, the NKF and Republic Polytechnic (RP) collaborated for one such virtual outreach programme. RP students worked with the foundation to produce content educating and raising awareness about kidney health.
Participants played online Kuula escape rooms created by RP students. Khaireen Bin Misrwai, one of the student volunteers, shared that through the NKF project, his awareness of kidney health has increased.
He said: “Knowing the steps to prevent kidney diseases will surely help me and the community in the future.”
NKF’s Corporate Communications and Outreach Executive, Daron Na, said: “We had an amazing experience working with RP students in co-creating the virtual escape rooms, as well as the dialysis centre virtual tour. The students have proactively ensured that all feedback has been incorporated into the project and provided suggestions to enhance the games or tour further.”
She also thanked RP teachers in-charge, Mr Keegan Teo and Ms Leong Phei Phei for their guidance in the project.
According to Ms Kelda Chua, advisor for RP’s Service-Learning Club (SLC), more than 150 service-learning projects organised by RP were launched in January 2020.
When asked how the pandemic has affected service-learning projects, she said: “At least 90 per cent were conducted online since the pandemic hit.”
ADVANTAGES OF MOVING ONLINE
Ms Kelda said virtual volunteerism brings with it many positives during critical times such as a pandemic.
“It allows us to be quickly connected and continue meeting the needs of our community partners,” she added.
Ms Na shared those sentiments: “In this digital era, we are also incorporating virtual content into our physical programmes, such as the new virtual escape room game developed by RP. By adding such virtual elements to physical programmes, we are adding a new dimension to the learning experience.”
She also added that as Singapore moves towards the endemic phase, NKF would be adopting a hybrid model.
Additionally, with the support of RP’s Office of Student and Graduate Affairs (OSG), SLC’s service-learning team has been able to work closely with schools and stakeholders to uphold quality standards of volunteer projects and events.