Since young, Djelassi Khaled had often pondered about ways to make a difference in the community. He believes that fundraising could create a more significant impact. After learning about the Singapore Red Cross through his neighbour, he volunteered to fundraise at SRC's thrift shop. He believes that fundraising and volunteering are closely intertwined, centred around helping others and promoting a more compassionate society. Khaled hopes to raise awareness and inspire others to contribute to uplifting the lives of those in need.
"Growing up in Tunisia, I often contemplated ways to make a positive impact in my community. However, without much income or means, I felt the impact I could make would be limited. I realised that pooling resources of others through fundraising could create a more significant impact," said Djelassi Khaled whose deep and expressive eyes exuded a wealth of experience and wisdom.
Fundraising for Causes
In his younger years, his network was his friends, classmates, neighbours and relatives.
"In those days when technology was not as advanced, I reached out to others through phone calls, face-to-face conversations, and word of mouth. Such interactions connected with people, and inspired them to contribute to causes, and make a difference," Khaled said.
Yet, as he grew older and ventured into different parts of the world through work and leisure, he met individuals from diverse backgrounds and cultures. He witnessed firsthand the challenges faced by people in countries such as Indonesia, Vietnam and Sudan.
"These encounters have reinforced my belief in the importance of extending a helping hand. While I may not have personally experienced extreme hardship, I understand that circumstances can change unexpectedly. Therefore, it is crucial to support those in need and contribute to a more compassionate society," he said.
Khaled fundraised for these communities. Besides broadening his horizons, it expanded his social network.
Learning about the Singapore Red Cross' Humanitarian Work
He came to Singapore in 2016. Through a casual conversation with his neighbour in 2021, Khaled learnt about the Singapore Red Cross' (SRC) humanitarian efforts in Singapore and internationally.
"My neighbour told me about the Singapore Red Cross, and that piqued my interest. I explored the SRC website. Subsequently, I was introduced to a passionate SRC representative who shared the SRC's humanitarian mission and work in-depth," said Khaled, 56, a Chief Executive Officer, of a global logistics company for submarine power cabling projects.
Khaled was astounded to learn that there are people who have fallen through the cracks even in an affluent nation like Singapore.
Volunteering to Fundraise at the SRC's Thrift Shop
"This revelation ignited a spark in me to contribute towards SRC's cause. Driven by the strong desire to make a positive impact within the community, I started volunteering with SRC's thrift shop in June 2021, which raises funds for its local humanitarian efforts. Volunteering has now become an integral part of my life," he said.
As a volunteer at the thrift shop he sorts, folds the clothes and puts on the price tags. He also helped the cashier to pack the items sold.
"These help to raise funds to uplift the lives of the vulnerable. It was an opportunity for me to mingle with Singaporeans with similar interests, driven by the common cause of helping people. I enjoyed it as I love socialising with others," he said.
The funds raised go towards the elderly, persons with disabilities and families struggling economically, whom the Singapore Red Cross serves locally.
In his perspective, fundraising is not solely driven by personal gain or recognition.
"Fundraising is a philosophy rooted in empathy and the belief that we all have a responsibility to help one another. The act of giving back provides a sense of fulfilment that transcends material rewards. To instil the ethos in my son as well, I took him to the shop, and explained the challenges that others face," he said.
Khaled holds the conviction that fundraising and volunteering are closely intertwined.
"Fundraising and volunteering go hand-in-hand. They are centred around helping others and promoting a more compassionate society. It is through personal connections and networks that the true power of fundraising emerges. My background in sales and networking has been indispensable in advocating for causes and encouraging like-minded individuals to do their part to contribute. Maintaining relationships and keeping in touch with people is essential for sustained support and successful fundraising efforts," Khaled said.
Over time, he realised that several individuals were willing to contribute and make a difference, but they required a gentle nudge or reminder.
"From making phone calls and face-to-face conversations in the early days, I have been leveraging technology in my fundraising efforts. I created my own website for SRC's Grateful Hearts Day which lent a face to the cause and made it more relatable. I encouraged my friends, colleagues and acquaintances to contribute to the cause. I raised about $1,000 for the local humanitarian efforts of the Singapore Red Cross in 2022," Khaled said.
Khaled hopes to continue volunteering and fundraising for the SRC.
"As I continue on this journey, I hope to raise awareness, mobilise others and make a substantial difference in the lives of those in need," he said.
By Andrey Bodoev, Volunteer
Copyedited by Michael Bernardo Gutierrez, Volunteer