“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, What are you doing for others?” – Martin Luther King Jr., Civil Rights Activist
In a simple and direct statement, Martin Luther King Jr. challenges us to examine our lives to see if it reflects a life of doing good for others. But why should helping others be part of our lives? You often hear people say that it’s an extremely rewarding experience, but is it just about doing something nice? Believe it or not, there’s actually a lot of evidence that shows how doing good for others results in major benefits not only for the receiver but the giver as well. In fact, research has proven that when someone volunteers to support a cause, it can lead to better mental and physical health, a greater sense of fulfilment and even create better job opportunities. You’ll definitely meet new people and may even pick up some cool skills.
The truth is, many of us wants to make a difference, but it often seems hard to get the ball rolling and we simply just don’t know where to start. Here are 5 great ways on how you can get involved and start doing your part in life.
“Education is the passport to the world.”
Access to quality education is everyone’s fundamental right and something that is much needed to take you further in life. Yet there are so many unfortunate communities where children do not have the opportunity to receive quality education. These are usually marginalised groups such as refugees, asylum seekers or illegal immigrants where their status prevents their children from gaining access to schooling privileges. When this happens, their development falls behind especially in terms of economic opportunity. Because of this, volunteers who are equipped with teaching skills are very much needed to fill the gap. Schooling subjects often include Mathematics, English or Science. So if you’ve got a knack for teaching the young and to get some time off your daily busy routine, below are some organisations you can approach:
Bear in mind that the safety and protection of the children are paramount to these organisations, so they will likely need you to provide character referees before accepting you in to educate the children. If you think you are for committing longer term, then check out Teach for Malaysia.
2. Meals That Matter
“It’s one of the basic needs to everyone, let’s not make that a luxury.”
We all need to eat, so why not choose a restaurant or cafe that supports a community project. You don’t need to travel far because fortunately there is an increasing trend of food joints more becoming socially conscious. So for your next lunch break, check out these tasty eats that also give back to the community:
Want to do something more hands on? You can try helping out in soup kitchens or feed the homeless programmes, many of which have weekly feeding activities around Klang Valley. These programmes reach out to people to ensure that they get a warm meal. Sometimes the meal from you is probably the only meal they get in the day. You can choose a day to commit to every week, invite your friends along and you might be surprised how rich an experience this can be. Here are some feeding projects you can look up:
3. Environmental Conservation
“If everyone leaves making a change to someone else, in the end who will?”
As a famous cartoon pointed out, we are all part of the circle of life. Like a domino effect, the loss of our forests and clean waters has devastating impacts on all life. Because of this, environmental conservation is a key development goal for many countries in the world, including Malaysia. Being a part of this work ensures that the earth remains beautiful and habitable for many future generations to come. There are many opportunities to show your love for nature, from tree planting to recycling projects and even raising awareness on climate change. Here are some organisations working on green projects:
4. Befriending Animals
“These poor souls cannot defend themselves, so that’s where we come in”
Many animals end up on the streets as strays and are frequently subjected to injustice and brutality so much so that the sight of wounded animals is becoming a norm in the country. Rescue and recovery of these animals is not an easy task and that is why animal welfare organisations are always grateful for a helping hand. Common tasks at these organisations include maintaining clean premise, bathing or even feeding the animals. If you have a heart for animals, check out these websites:
5. General Volunteer
“You never know how much joy you can put into someone’s life.”
Not sure which one to start out with? Many non-government organisations (NGOs) and charities have a variety of volunteering needs and opportunities. Potential tasks include data entry, road-shows, paper work, phone duty, awareness campaigns, even videography and photography. Although it may seem small at first, these tasks are a big part of ensuring the smooth operations of NGOs, which ultimately contributes to the success of community programmes. It also provides you with great insights into the working environment of an NGO, priceless knowledge that will benefit you throughout your working life. Who knows, you could probably grow a passion in community work and perhaps start your career in the industry. Consider spending a few days on your term break with one of these top organisations:
So there you have it! Just remember, before you sign up to volunteer, do some research on the organisation and make sure you are able to commit to the cause.
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