Red Cross Youth reimagined: Service learning, mental wellness, social entrepreneurship and technology in new curriculum

New leadership, new plans for 70-year; 11,000-strong Youth Movement

Singapore, 4 November 2023 –  In line with its goal to empower humanitarians of tomorrow, the Singapore Red Cross Youth (RCY) will revitalise its curriculum - encouraging a social service-oriented mindset with ample learning opportunities with the Singapore Red Cross’ humanitarian services; and leveraging digital learning opportunities. 

RCY will introduce mental wellness as one of its core subjects in the revamped curriculum. Other elements of the curriculum include, First and Psychological First Aid, Disaster Management, Youth Ambassadors of Blood Programme, Service Learning and Red Cross Knowledge. As part of its efforts to engender service learning, RCY will engage its members in visits to the Red Cross Home and Day Activity Centre for the Disabled, outreach to the elderly community, first aid duty in parks and events, and fundraising, including exposure to social entrepreneurship with SRC’s charity shop.

In addition to social service learning, RCY will support the National Blood Programme through the new Youth Ambassador Blood Programme, and hold learning journeys at the various Bloodbanks throughout Singapore. Cadets can also participate in one-day on-the-job training attachments to enrich their learning experience. Through this programme, SRC hopes to see an increase in youth blood donors to take the first step forward on their journey as a blood donor.

In line with the Ministry of Education's EdTech strategy to nurture future-ready digital learners, RCY introduced a new curriculum featuring Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and drones for their cadets.  This will prepare them to participate and even spearhead humanitarian operations in future.  The exposure will also help them to develop competencies that stand them in good stead to chart the course and venture into the digital space for their personal and professional development. 

The objective of these changes is to develop the strength of character and imbue soft skills in the RCY youth. It will also set them on a journey of giving back to society, and helping to enhance overall community resilience.  

These developments were announced at RCY’s inaugural Red Cross Youth Convention on 4th November 2023. The theme for this year’s RCY Convention is “Empowering Future Humanitarian Leaders''.

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SRC’s Assistant Secretary General (Operations) Ms Charis Chan affirmed, “The Singapore Red Cross has been championing humanitarian innovation, and has catalysed opportunities for youth to innovate for a better cause. Today, the world faces a slew of pressing crises: the pandemic, looming climate and environmental disasters, global conflicts, and geopolitical tensions. These challenges necessitate innovative solutions by people from all walks of life. To equip the cadets of today and tomorrow with creative and innovative skills, the new leadership has refined the curriculum of the RCY.”

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New RCY (UG) Director Ms Durga Naidu enthused, “With these exciting changes to the curriculum, RCY leadership has been visiting schools to create greater awareness of RCY’s programmes and its appeal to the youth of today. We aim to hone personal and professional competencies to increase the competitive edge of the youth, and to nurture enthusiastic changemakers who are capable of contributing towards solving societal challenges.”  

Since its establishment in 1952, RCY offers youth volunteers a seamless transition as they progress from student life into adulthood. Through its curriculum, activities and programmes, the RCY imparts youth with essential life skills and character development, and provides meaningful platforms to hone their leadership, teamwork, discipline, resilience and perseverance.  Today, RCY has a strong presence of 11,000 members and continues to strive to nurture young humanitarians of tomorrow while enlivening the Red Cross Youth movement. 

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Outgoing Senior Director, Mr Sahari Ani, played an integral role over the past seven years in integrating RCY, so as to enable youth to advance the educational ladder from preschool to tertiary institutions.  He noted that, “Under Ms Durga Naidu’s leadership, I am confident that RCY will grow stronger, venture into new frontiers, and reach further than we could have imagined a few years ago. Together, RCY will continue to make a profound difference in the lives of the youth and the community they serve.” 

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During the Convention, Guest of Honour, Ms Loh Wee Cheng, Ministry of Education’s Divisional Director, and the 120 guests witnessed the transition of leadership of RCY UG from Mr Sahari Ani to Ms Durga Naidu. The RCY Convention was attended by representatives from the Ministry of Education (MOE)’s Character & Citizenship Education Branch (CCEB), as well as RCY UG Youth Officers and Volunteer Instructors who play a pivotal role in educating, mentoring and leading the RCY UG, which consists of the Links and Cadets, and guide them to participate in SRC’s local humanitarian services and create initiatives to aid the local community. 

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At the event, guests had the opportunity to visit SRC’s information booths which showcased the organisation’s local humanitarian services that provide assistance to the young, elderly, disabled, and vulnerable who have fallen through the cracks.

Speech by Ms Durga Naidu, RCY (UG) Director

Photos by Allan Tee and Stefan Wermelinger, volunteer photographers