Budget 2022: Wishes from 10 Social Changemakers

Singapore’s Budget Statement will be delivered in parliament on 18 February 2022.

On top of the advocacy and work being done on the ground to help vulnerable communities, it is imperative that changemakers are equally attuned to such significant political events. Not only will the decisions being made here directly affect our daily lives as Singaporeans, but they will also have long-term impacts on the system we want to change.

We reached out to members of our community and other changemaking organisations in Singapore to respond to the prompt:

What do you wish to see from Budget 2022 for the communities you care about?

Read on to find out the hopes of our diverse changemakers for Budget 2022!

The logo design for this year’s Budget depicts three figures coming together to support one another. This involves providing continued assistance for the vulnerable and the needy – but what does this look like for different changemakers? 

One of our members and vice-president of the Humanist Society Singapore, Tan Ding Jie hopes the Budget supports non-religious groups in Singapore that strive for mutual understanding, compassion and respect towards differences. He had this to say:

I wish for resources to be allocated to support the community of irreligious people in Singapore, through representation, financial assistance, as well as secular counselling services.

On the topic of counselling services, another one of our members, Tan Yi Han from Mother Earth & You highlighted the mental health of teachers and students, both of which were significantly affected due to the pandemic. His response to the prompt was this: 

I would like Budget 2022 to support schools to nurture a culture of care, by hiring more counsellors & allied educators to reduce the workload of teachers; and fund programmes to help teachers & students learn how to express their needs in a caring way without shouting or punishing.

Our member Rayner Tan concurs with this, and believes we can do more to address the significant and long-term challenge of mental health on a national level. His work with SG Mental Health Matters advocates for this by engaging members of the public to contribute to mental health policies and advocacy efforts. He says: 

The importance of mental health and well-being cannot be understated, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. My wish for Budget 2022 is that Singapore would invest in mental well-being as a priority with a national coordinating body in our Prime Minister's Office. So that we can become a Mentally Healthy Nation, as fiercely and intentionally as we have become a Smart Nation.

For persons with disabilities, gaining access to basic areas of life such as healthcare, education and employment remain challenging. These barriers ultimately prevent people in this community from living dignified lives.

To combat this, our member Lily Goh hopes that the decisions made during this year’s budget will allow Singapore to continue its efforts to create an inclusive society. 

As a member of the Deaf community and the founder of ExtraOrdinary Horizons, Lily says:

We wish to see more accessibility & inclusivity efforts for the d/Deaf & Disabled towards improving the quality of life. We hope that Budget 2022 can allocate more funds for research, training and development so that there will be an increase in the number of interpreters for the d/Deaf community in Singapore.

For Evelyn Khoo, who is another one of our members and founder of Aphasia SG, inclusivity also involves efforts to create a more compassionate and empathetic healthcare system: 

I wish for more funds to be allocated to the “softer” aspects of healthcare eg. training healthcare workers & volunteers, boosting community care resources so that the psycho-emotional needs of patients with invisible and chronic conditions like aphasia can be better supported.

For our member Adrian Tan, the COVID-19 pandemic presented an opportunity for us to think about how to better support caregivers as our vital workforce. As the co-founder of social enterprise SG Assist, Adrian shared: 

I hope for more support in fund allocation towards strengthening family caregivers’ capacity, including, for example, through use of new technologies, increased access to respite care, and formal training for family caregivers. Family caregiving can provide substantial savings to the health care system and potentially improve healthcare quality and outcomes for care recipients.

It is undeniable that the rising cost of living will disproportionately affect our low-income communities. Thus, it came as no surprise that many of the wishes we received were related to this particular vulnerable group. 

For instance, AGS member Abhishek Bajaj, talked about how finding and securing sustainable sources of funding continues to be a challenge. In order to continue the work he does with 6th Sense to support the residents of the Kebun Baru community, he says:

I wish there were funding grants available which cover 100% of our project costs. This will save us the additional burdens of fundraising, allowing us to instead focus on project execution.

Issues of poverty cannot be viewed separately from other inequalities that shape society. Daughters of Tomorrow are committed to tangibly uplift and improve the livelihoods of women and low-income families in Singapore – and they hope this year’s Budget helps them with this mission. 

They elaborated by saying: 

​​We hope that Budget 2022 will be channelled into the expansion of schemes and programmes and a restructuring of financial aid and legal guidance available to low-income women and families. We want to see a growth in the kinds of schemes that help facilitate women into stable employment and upskilling, all while accommodating to their very real caregiving needs.

Another major crisis that has and will continue to disproportionately affect low-income communities is the climate crisis. Our friends at SG Climate Rally believe that a world that is restorative and regenerative is possible. In order to do this, they propose: 

Instead of a GST hike, we want to see a significantly higher carbon tax and new wealth taxes, so that low- and middle-wage workers will not be increasingly burdened by rising costs of living. These taxes should fund more social welfare measures to assist low-income and care workers during the pandemic, as minimum wage schemes are expanded to all sectors.

Finally, our founding chairperson, Anthea Ong shared her wish for Budget 2022: 

I wish for Budget 2022 to critically consider the mental health impact of rising prices and GST hike on our people, especially those who are economically vulnerable. I also wish for the rental arrears for our rental households to be forgiven and a 6-month rental relief to be given.

Here at A Good Space, we recognise that issues faced by vulnerable groups like low-income families and migrant workers are complex and persistent. 

That is why we have spent months doing research and consulting leaders in this space to identify the key issues faced by these groups. Through this, we realised two things. Firstly, we need to rethink the way we look at these issues, and secondly, no single organisation or person can address these issues alone – a diverse group of people need to work together. 

That is what we hope to do with the Listening Living Labs, an independent, multi-year initiative that gathers diverse active citizens to listen, stretch and act collectively to improve the well-being of these vulnerable groups in Singapore. 

For more information, check out our website!

What are your hopes for Budget 2022? How do you think we, as a nation, can forge a “fairer, more inclusive and greener home”?  

Share them in the comments below, I would love to know!

If you enjoyed what you read, consider subscribing to our newsletter for updates whenever we post an article, on top of getting some exclusive ideas, events and opportunities to create social change!

Picture of Sin Melia
Sin Melia

Melia is a Digital Marketing Trainee at A Good Space. She is a big fan of mother nature, tiger balm and food tiktok. You can probably find her somewhere over-analysing a TV show or K-drama.

Related Articles

About Us

A Good Space is Singapore’s first co-operative to gather diverse changemakers, activists, dreamers, social entrepreneurs, charities and more, to create the Singapore of our dreams, together.

Join Our Community

Be the first to know about exciting events, activities, social experiments and games organised by our changemakers!

Join Our Mailing List

Be the first to know about exciting events, activities, social experiments and games organised by our changemakers

Velda Wong

“The content of the events helps expand my perspectives on how I can contribute to different communities and play a part in creating an inclusive society”

Velda Wong

Shopping Basket