Urban Poverty and How We Can Help

Volunteering is a great way to give back to the community, especially if you have been fighting for a specific cause. One of the most significant issues in Singapore right now is urban poverty. While primarily an ‘invisible’ problem because of the country’s status as a city-state, we can’t ignore its existence, and we have the power to help. As someone who used to suffer from urban poverty, I now try my best to help others through volunteering. Here’s everything you need to know about it and what you can do to help.

What Is Urban Poverty?

Urban poverty refers to a situation wherein someone in the city does not have the means to provide themselves (and sometimes their families) with adequate shelter, food, and other necessities. Singapore has no official poverty line – no official minimum income has been established to be officially labelled in poverty. Instead, the Singapore government has certain thresholds in which they’re able to provide financial assistance to impoverished households. Still, an estimated 12% of all households don’t earn enough to meet their daily necessities.

What Are The Other Problems Caused By Urban Poverty?

Unfortunately, urban poverty isn’t just one problem. It’s the cause of several other issues that make up its whole. Here are the three core effects of urban poverty.
  • Food inequality – Those in poverty lack food security in Singapore. Many impoverished families don’t make enough to meet their needs, so they typically only have enough for cheap, often unhealthy, fast food. Sometimes, some families don’t have enough to eat three meals daily.
  • Education inequality – Children often don’t have access to a quality education because of their poverty. They won’t be able to access tuition centres or schools with good resources.
  • Social inequality – Unfortunately, many still discriminate against others for being of certain social status. This discrimination doesn’t just extend to cruel remarks or bad looks. People often miss opportunities for school or work because they are in urban poverty.

How Can We Help?

Thankfully, there are plenty of volunteer opportunities in Singapore to help impoverished families. I have done my best to take advantage of these opportunities to help people in the situation I used to be in, so here are some that you can look into, too.
  • While not an official volunteering program, educating yourself is the best first step to helping. While I did live through urban poverty myself, I still studied and listened to other people’s stories. After all, many people had it worse than I did.
  • Address the lack of food security in Singapore by donating and volunteering. For example, I spend at least one day a week volunteering at a soup kitchen. I also set aside a small amount of my income every month to donate to food support organisations.
  • Many organisations address education inequality with teaching programs run by volunteers. I often perform reading sessions for underprivileged children and donate old books when I no longer have use for them.
If you’re looking for volunteer opportunities in Singapore to assist victims of urban poverty, The Best of You is an excellent resource for educating and volunteering. Start helping today by visiting their website.