Amy Rachel Distant


A chance encounter with a Red Cross volunteer opened Amy Rachel Distant’s eyes to the Singapore Red Cross’ humanitarian efforts, and people who live under the radar. Inspired to help uplift their lives, she made a career switch and joined SRC’s fundraising team, where she organises events and mobilises support for the vulnerable. Through her experience, Amy has learnt to be a voice for beneficiaries and to put others before herself.

As a student, Amy Rachel Distant was encouraged to spare a thought for the less fortunate and to give back to the community. At home, Amy saw her mother regularly give food to elderly cleaners and caretakers. Her mother, who has been a defining influence on her, also encouraged her family to make donations to those in need.

Learning about SRC’s Work in the Community

Amy’s compassionate nature, fostered by her upbringing, ignited her passion to work at SRC.

She came across SRC rather serendipitously. Amy was working at a cafe where she was assigned to donate untouched edibles to combat food wastage. By chance, a Red Cross volunteer visited to collect the cakes the restaurant was donating. The same volunteer then brought Amy on the field and shared SRC’s work in uplifting the lives of the vulnerable.

“The visits opened my eyes to a part of Singapore that was under the radar. Seeing the smiles on the seniors’ faces was very fulfilling as they were very appreciative of our visits,” she says.

Intrigued by what she experienced, Amy researched online and learnt about SRC’s humanitarian services. She stumbled upon a recruitment opportunity for the position of Manager in SRC’s fundraising arm, the Resource Development (RD) department. Following the urge to improve the lives of the less privileged, she applied for the job and joined SRC as a Manager in RD in 2017. She has not looked back since.

Fundraising for a Good Cause

Over the past four years, Amy has been instrumental in strategising fundraising events, from conception to fruition. These included the Grateful Hearts Day (Flag Day), the upcoming Charity Gala and the inaugural virtual Charity Concert. These fundraising events, spearheaded by RD, ensure the sustainability of SRC’s local humanitarian programmes while reaching out to serve more people in need in the local community.

Despite her obvious successes, Amy laments that the SRC’s local humanitarian services usually garner less support than overseas disaster relief efforts as the latter have higher public awareness. Convincing people to donate to local causes was not as easy as it seemed.

“Some people questioned if Singapore had poverty,” she shares.

Faced with the occasional rejections, she has learned to take these disappointments in stride.

“Rejection is part and parcel of life. Every rejection makes you stronger and more determined,” she says, keenly noting that one of the reasons people did not contribute was because they did not see the plight of the vulnerable in our midst.

Those observations ignited an overhaul in Amy’s frame of thought.

“I had to believe in what I was advocating for. I visited our local beneficiaries and witnessed their living conditions first-hand. Through these visits, I realised that I had to be their voice,” she explains.

Mobilising the power of humanity

In representing these beneficiaries, Amy and the RD team have garnered the strong support of donors who believe in SRC’s cause, for which she is immensely grateful.

Apart from donors, Amy is thankful for her supportive colleagues and helpful work culture. She recalls how her colleagues banded together by lending their expertise and experience to contribute to the success of the International Bazaar in 2017, Amy’s first event with SRC,

“There is no better reward than knowing that our collective efforts help many people lead more dignified lives,” she says.

Advocating the Cause

By helping people through SRC, Amy’s life has been enriched too.

“I’ve learnt a lot about myself. By putting others before ourselves and helping them, we discover our potential for growth,” she acknowledges.

She believes that perseverance, resilience, adaptability, diplomacy and receptiveness to novel ideas will put anyone in good stead to succeed in RD. She cites the adoption of virtual fundraising events and digital fundraising amid the COVID-19 pandemic as an example of adaptability.

While continuing to work on gaining donor support, Amy hopes to inspire people to work or volunteer with SRC, as she was once inspired.

“There are many opportunities to learn about your strengths while giving back to the community. SRC is great for people with varied interests, who love solving problems and are fans of continuous learning,” she says.

By Yatin Pawa, Volunteer
Copyedited by Shayan Amin, Volunteer


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