As it may sound weird to everyone, sadly, our beloved country, Malaysia, does not emphasis on volunteering work as much as other countries do. In fact, most Malaysians do not even bother to volunteer. Some say they living a busy life, some say volunteering work is a waste of time, others would just rather enjoy their free time. However, little that we know, volunteering work really benefits us, our family and definitely the community.
Some of the volunteers firmly believe that volunteering work connects us to others. Unpaid volunteers are actually the glue that brings the community together especially in this modern era which phone’s notification is far more important than the sound of an atomic bomb fart in a tube/rail/bus. Bear in mind, volunteering work is a two-way street; it can benefit us as much as the cause we choose to help, which mine is to fight against education inequality in Malaysia. Volunteering work is also good to those who are shy or those who having a hard time meeting new people as it provides us the medium to practice and develop our social skills. Hence, volunteering work really helps us to make new friends and expand our networks, aside from boosting our social skills.
Maybe most of us did not realize this; Volunteering is GOOD for our mind and body. It definitely helps to increase our self-confidence. We are spending our ‘precious’ time doing good for others, which provides a natural sense of accomplishments as well as a sense of pride and identity. Imagine those participants under you receive excellent SPM results, would not you feel proud of them and yourself? In fact, one of the PK19 participants received straight A+ in her SPM which is far better than my result. The better we feel about ourselves, the more likely for us to have a positive view of our life.
Furthermore, volunteering hinders depression. One key risk factor of depression is social isolation. Being a student sometimes locks us down in our room, doing revision of our modules, research for our projects or dissertations, or sometimes wondering for hours why we have taken this boring, plain, and suffering path. Volunteering keep us in regular contact with people and help us to develop a solid support system which protects us against stress and depression especially during tough times. Some of the facilitators even found their other halves at the camp 😉
Most importantly, volunteering can advance our career. It gives us the opportunity to practice important skills such as teamwork, communication, problem solving, and task management. We will feel more comfortable at work if we have honed these skills during our volunteering work. Just because volunteering work is unpaid, it does not mean that the skills we gained are basic. A friend of mine who currently work with Teach for Malaysia once told me “if you can manage to handle those students from band 4/5 schools, you can easily manage board meetings later in company”.
Last but not least, volunteering brings fun and fulfillment to our life. It is one of the methods to explore our interest and passions in a fun and easy way. It can be relaxing, and also an energizing escape from routine work or school. Many people do volunteering work in order to make time for hobbies outside of work as well!
Asides from all these perks, since we are ‘donating’ our valuable time, it is important for us to enjoy and gain some benefits from our volunteering. There are numerous volunteering opportunities available, but we have to find a volunteering work that we would enjoy but personally, I discovered fighting against education inequality and motivating Malaysia’s hidden gems really is a ride to remember. Here are few tips to have a great volunteering experience:
- ASK QUESTIONS.
- MAKE SURE WE KNOW WHAT IS EXPECTED.
- DO NOT BE AFRAID TO MAKE A CHANGE.
- ENJOY OURSELF.
Many people said they need to find/have motivations before doing anything successfully. I sometimes feel that motivations can also be found during the camp itself. To see them roaring to change their fate with my own eyes is one of the motivations I found during the camp and the reason that keep me on this path for almost 3 years now. Besides that, below are a few of the many possible motivations identified by other volunteers:
- To share a skill
- To get to know a community
- To gain leadership skills
- To do your civic duty
- To keep busy
- To repay a debt
- To have an impact
- For escape
- To be challenged
- To make new friends
- For fun
- For religious reasons
- To keep skills alive
- To be part of a team
- To build your resume
- To be an agent of change
So why should we be an ignorant and not to volunteer? Oh, and last week, I stumble upon a YouTube video which is truly an eye opener and is actually what I personally believed in. A simple act of kindness creates an endless ripple. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bJtWA2n2C6I
Projek Kalsom motivational camp is also known as an emotional camp and a clingy crew. So, be one of us and let’s change for a better Malaysia! Starts small, starts simple.
“What is the essence of life? To serve others and to do good” – Aristotle
- Volunteering and its surprising benefits, HELPGUIDE.ORG. Retrieved 10 April 2015, from http://www.helpguide.org/articles/work-career/volunteering-and-its-surprising-benefits.htm
- Why Volunteer?, ENERGIZEINC. Retrieved 10 April 2015, from https://www.energizeinc.com/art/why-volunteer