Until we met with Maksim Dmitriev (pictured 3rd from left), it seemed unlikely that someone who had never experienced Habitat’s work would sign up to be a Habitat HopeBuilder (monthly donor). Living in Singapore for just a year, the 29-year-old software engineer from Moscow is already a monthly donor to 4 local charities, including Habitat Singapore.
“I was thinking about helping the elderly, and at the same time I was getting many flyers in the mailbox. When I figured out how to check them on the (Singapore) government website to make sure they were genuine, I started donating,” said Maksim.
His relationship with Habitat started when he moved to Singapore from Russia in February 2019. After hearing about us from a colleague, Maksim signed up to be a Habitat monthly donor - or HopeBuilder - while waiting months for a Saturday session of Project HomeWorks that he could join.
“I think I wanted to still do something, especially when I learnt that most sessions were on weekdays. ... And I decided I could donate some money. And that’s very easy; it doesn’t require me to go anywhere and doesn’t require me to take a day off at work. I decided to do this minimal thing,” he said.
Let’s pause - did he just say monthly donations is the minimum one can do? Safe to say for many of us, we assume volunteering is usually the first step before committing as a monthly donor.
Maksim took the words straight out of our mouths when he emphasized how donations can boost a charity’s financial and operational sustainability.
“When you make a one time donation, it’s just 1 time. It’s difficult for organisations like Habitat to plan anything. But when you have people donating every month, it’s easier to plan sessions in advance, because all the sessions and materials are not free,” he said.
Of course, Maksim began community work as a volunteer back home in Russia with an organisation supporting the homeless community. He also eventually joined 2 Project HomeWorks sessions in November and December.
The experience only reinforced his belief that direct service needs to go hand in hand with regular financial support. Monthly donations, no matter how small, can be pooled together to purchase something for the benefit of a family or elderly like a mattress or new bed, said Maksim.
“When I donate, I feel like I do my small part… It can be enough to purchase something that might seem to be unaffordable if there was only 1 donor. But if there were 20 donors, it becomes quite affordable,” he added.
At the end of the day though, the most important thing is to just start giving back, somewhere and somehow. “For someone who is not interested in volunteering or is not looking for volunteering opportunities, that person might not know there is a HDB across the street where there are 70-year-old elderly who are unable to clean their own house and might need help. But with Habitat, I understood why. ... This is how I learned there are problems out there and I can do my part to help them.”
Our HopeBuilders are the true visionaries. They provide the consistent and reliable support we need to make sustainable and long-term commitments to families and help them get back on their feet. They believe that vulnerable Singaporeans can be empowered to independently build a better life for themselves with the right kind of help. Join our extraordinary community of visionaries now & transform lives with just $1 a day: https://habitat.give.asia