We started as a sub-committee of the Buddhist Fellowship, Singapore to involve its members, especially the younger ones, in humanitarian activities. We embark on our first overseas mission in the year 2001 as part of a team consisting of members from a few other Buddhist organisations and temples in Singapore. It was called Song of Apsaras Humanitarian Mission and it took us to Yangon & Mandalay, the Union of Myanmar. We became known as the Firefly Mission in 2003. The Firefly Mission was officially registered as a non-profit organisation under the Societies Act, Singapore in 2005 (UEN: T05SS0200D).
Currently, we are involved in projects in several neighbouring countries, focusing on construction of schools and clinics where they are needed, sponsorship schemes for school children and providing financial support to orphanages and monastics for their training. We are also active in disaster reliefs, bringing emergency supplies and helping in rebuilding and rehabilitation work for the victims.
We are 100% volunteer-run with no office premises and no paid staff. This enables us to observe strictly the principle that all donations are for use of the causes they are meant for. Our members all travel entirely at their own expense.
We are grateful to have the support of organisations such as the Buddhist Fellowship, the Burmese Buddhist Temple, the Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery, the Wat Ananda, the National University of Singapore Buddhist Society, the Red Cross Society, the Tan Chin Tuan Foundation, the Lions Club and the Rotary Club. They partner some of our projects or provide grants to our beneficiaries and make available to us the use of their premises for our activities.
To cater to the Buddhists among us, we organize meditation retreats and pilgrimage tours to India and Sri Lanka.
Our motto, “Together We Light Up the World”, underlines the vision of the Firefly Mission (FFM) to act as an agent of change to improve and transform the livelihood of the underprivileged and to bring more joy to the world we live in.
The Firefly Mission
- provides a platform for members to undertake humanitarian missions to help people in less fortunate situations or are trapped in poor living conditions, and
- serves as a vehicle for the spiritual development of its members and, where appropriate, its beneficiaries.
It will answer the call wherever there is a need to bring reliefs and help to those who are deprived, disadvantaged or neglected, for one reason or another, so as to bring about improvements in their living conditions and well-being. When dispensing aids, it does not take into consideration factors based on race, language and religion.
The act of giving is deemed to be one of the most basic of virtues of the human instinct. According to Lord Buddha, the practice of giving or generosity along with morality and cultivation of the mind (by meditation), which are known collectively in Pali as Dana, Sila and Bhavana, is a gradual path for the lay person to progress towards awakening. It is based on His own practice from the initial resolve until finally achieving perfection to become Sammāsambuddha.*
Humanitarian missions provide members the opportunities to practice dana as well as to develop sila. For bhavana, the FFM organizes retreats for members to learn and practise meditation.
The Firefly Mission focuses on bringing help to where it is needed. We create opportunities for our members, volunteers, supporters and partners to use their resources, knowledge, skills and knowhow to make a difference in the lives of others, especially the underprivileged. Contributions may be by way of donations in cash or kind, or volunteering in organizing charity events, overseas missions and such like.
In specific terms, these are what we set out to do:
- Build a community of compassionate and dedicated members, volunteers and well-wishers to “light up the world” for ourselves and others.
- Create a better place for the less fortunate, regardless of their race, language or religion, in Singapore and abroad with projects to improve basic health and living conditions, educational and lodging facilities.
- Create opportunities for individuals and institutions to engage in humanitarian activities so as to engender a more kind and compassionate society in Singapore.
- Be a respected organisation that puts the Buddha’s teachings into action, in particular, the three pillars of Dhamma – dana, sila, and bhavana.
Our core values are guided by the Buddha’s teachings on compassion, loving kindness, generosity and wisdom.
We recognize that life is a gift to be grateful for. We learn to act with kindness and humility to all living beings. We act on the principle that all mankind on earth are here for a purpose, each with a right for existence and is deserving of opportunities and help to improve his situation in terms of quality of life, social position, educational advancement and spiritual fulfilment.
We conduct ourselves in the best ways possible in keeping with the ideals of integrity and honesty. Whatever may be the status of the person whom we come into contact with, we are mindful that we too have limitations and there are things we can learn from the other person. We will always act towards others with:
- Respect– paying due respect to their religious practices and cultural norms
- Humility ‐ remembering that giving to charities is a chance to practise generosity and other aspects of the Buddha’s teachings
- Compassion‐ acting with compassion towards each other among follow members and towards our beneficiaries bearing in mind that compassion has the quality to benefit both the giver and the receiver
- Gratitude– acting with gratitude for all the support we receive and be grateful that we are born in more fortunate circumstances such that we have the means to help others
- Sincerity– rendering help to others unconditionally with no expectation of receiving anything in return