IMPACT 0436: A HEART TO HELP THE VULNERABLE
Swathi Nair, 21, is a graduating student pursuing a Diploma in Mass Communication at Ngee Ann Polytechnic. One day, she hopes to work in public policy research and implementation, working with government and private agencies to help vulnerable groups.
Besides being a full-time student, she volunteers whenever she can with different organisations such as Meet-the-People sessions at Bukit Batok GRC and was also selected for the GIC Sparks and Smiles (GIC) Award in 2020. Today, she shares more about her journey!
Tell us more about what you do!
I’m a full-time student, so most of my time is spent in school. Apart from that, I do freelance work in media production and I volunteer whenever I can. Some places I’ve volunteered with are my constituency’s Meet the People session as a writer, and Beyond Social Services as a youth worker. I recently initiated a donation drive, “You Are Not Alone”, for an orphanage in Malawi, raising funds and collecting items like clothes and bags to send to them.
What inspires you to do this?
When I was 14, I read an article that changed me. It featured seven women from seven different places in India — all emotionally, physically and sexually abused, some in their own homes by men from their own families. I was confronted: “What did I do to deserve everything I’ve been blessed with?” The only difference between me and those women is that I was born here, and they were born there. Recognising my privilege and thus my position to help those less privileged than me is what fuels my passion for social work.
Have you faced any challenges so far? How did you overcome them?
Finding time has been my biggest challenge so far. My course is project-heavy and rigorous throughout the academic semester, so I sometimes get so caught up with school that I don’t have the time to do anything else. It does get tiring at times, but I keep going because I love doing what I do and I’m someone who will always fulfil my commitments no matter what. Now that school is over, I’ve got a lot more time and I’ve been working on a few new things.
If you could share one piece of advice with your fellow youth, what would it be?
Don’t be afraid to do what you love! Sometimes, we get scared and stick to the path that we think will make us “successful” according to society’s standards. There are so many ways to live life and I don’t believe there’s any one way that’s right. There’s no such thing as a dream too big, so go after what you truly want.
What are your hopes or plans for the future? What do you want to see or perhaps do?
The big dream would be to travel the world and volunteer with different vulnerable communities. The immediate dream is to continue my education and obtain a degree in Public Policy while continuing to take up social work initiatives that I’m passionate about.