What are the benefits of volunteer work? Volunteer would be one of the best way to invest in yourself as it helps with self-confidence, builds soft skills and increases social tolerance.
In the midst of us finding and exploring new areas of investment, I felt sometimes that we are neglecting the biggest asset that we already have.
You might find yourself asking, what exactly is the greatest asset that we all have?
It’s you! You are the greatest asset that you can ever have.
“Ultimately, there’s one investment that supersedes all others: Invest in yourself,”
-Warren Buffet, CNBC, 2017
And how exactly you can start investing in yourself?
There are many ways you can invest in yourself, such as going to educational talks and workshops, read self-improvement books, join volunteering program and so on.
Talking about volunteerism, the youth community in Malaysia has not received full exposure on how getting involved in volunteerism can help you build your personality and social skills.
Volunteerism in Malaysia, as many perceive it, is only limited to the co-curriculum in primary, high schools and universities club activities. But in actuality, it’s more than that.
I bet, if you ask randomly any youth in Malaysia, if they have ever participated in any volunteering activities, putting aside their school club’s activities, 80% will answer no.
But I was glad when the concept of gap year was introduced by Malaysia’s Ministry of Higher Education, which allows university students to take a break from their study and go for activities that will enrich themselves.
From A Personal Experience
I too, at first was uninformed and did not even think of joining any volunteer program or movement. But I was inspired and moved when I started to take up surfing as a hobby during my years as a university student.
Everytime time I paddled to the middle of the ocean, past the wave break, there was not a single moment where I didn’t see any debris or plastic floating in the ocean.
Then, the video of a turtle with a plastic straw went viral online. The sudden realisation that I haven’t do much for the society and nature hit me hard and I was moved to join the cause of giving back to the society and nature.
Shortly after that, I went for frequent weekly trip to clean beaches from trash, co-organised a volunteer trip to the Philippines and later made my way to East Asia, staying there for almost a year, living by only through volunteering.
(Below is a picture of the project that I helped to co-organise, aimed to help an orphanage in the Philippines.)
Let’s see how by participating in volunteering activities can add values to yourself.
- New Skills
Come to think of it, volunteering would absolutely give you the chances of learning new skills, especially social interaction skills. Volunteering means you will, most of the time work in a group of other volunteers.
This is the best chance to interact with strangers, learn their background, appreciate the differences in culture and make more friends.
Other skills such as problem-solving, decision making, and adapting to new surrounding are critical when you are in a volunteer project. These soft skills are not acquired but developed over time, and joining volunteer would hone these skills even more.
- Hello Career Booster
Volunteering would look good on resume. The mere mention of volunteering would be a positive indicator for the recruiters. It helps you create positive impression, makes you more innovative, creative and also means that you are well-equipped with the skill that we discussed earlier.
76% of career advisors said that a candidate with volunteer experience is more likely to get hired to his/her preferred position.
- Giving Back To A Cause That You Believe In
If you are not sure where to start your volunteering, think of what you are passionate about.
What is your passion?
Let your interest of nature, education or culture create positive change to the world.
The magnitude of your actions in contributing towards the cause is trivial as all the hard work you put after that will be worth it, especially watching the impact you moved to change something towards betterment.
- Change Someone’s Life
Your actions, whether in our daily lives or volunteering, will impact on someone else’s life. For example, teaching someone to speak English or other academic subjects, will help them break the poverty cycle, opening chances to access better employment possibilities. Their families will have a better life in the future because of you.
Volunteering opportunities in Malaysia
If you want to start volunteering right away, there are plenty of rooms and platforms for you to do so in Malaysia. As a developing nation, surely there are always issues that the communities in Malaysia find as challenging but these issues are actually can be solved by tapping the manpower from volunteers.
If you love fauna and flora, you are strongly encouraged to look into prospective ideas to contribute towards better environment. Malaysia is the home to one of the 17 megadiverse ecosystems on Earth.
But, the rocketing development that is taking place in Malaysia is a major threat to our forest and environment. Most of the environmental conservation efforts usually aim to preserve the natural habitat of the fauna, while tackling specific issues such as illegal logging and uncontrolled vegetation.
Check this following projects!
WWF – http://www.wwf.org.my/
SPCA – http://www.spca.org.my/
PAWS – http://www.paws.org.my/
Juara Turtle Project – http://www.juaraturtleproject.com/
Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre – http://www.bsbcc.org.my/
Orangutan Project – http://projectorangutan.com/
Although homelessness is not a big issue discussed in Malaysia because it is not as significant as it is in other major cities like Manila and NYC, but it is still a plight that will take turn for worse if it is not being approached now.
Princess Tengku Zatashah of Selangor had become an icon in tackling both issues of helping homeless and food wastage by taking the initiative to rechannel the food from hotel buffet into new package and distributed to the homeless around Klang Valley.
This is a humble example that we all should look up to. Nevertheless, check this NGOs that aimed to tackle the homelessness issue in Malaysia
Kechara – http://www.kechara.com/soup-kitchen/
Pertiwi – http://pertiwi.org.my/
Empire Project – https://www.facebook.com/empireprojectwecareweshare/
Feeding the Needy – https://www.facebook.com/groups/471399836362588/
Street Feeders of KL – http://www.streetfeeders.com/
Do you know that 94% of the total land area is actually classified as rural area? These rural areas are struggling the keep the pace with the remaining 6% of the urban area to update the infrastructures with the current development level.
Some of the places are even lacking the basic necessities, such as access to clean water, electricity and paved roadways. Not to mention the equal education, healthcare and job opportunities to that of in the urban area.
Helping them doesn’t mean that we are pitying them or having superior complex, but rather extending the opportunities for them to enjoy the same benefits that we enjoy. Thankfully, there are always Malaysians who are concerned about this disparity problem and rally others to support this noble cause.
Habitat for Humanity Malaysia – http://hfhmalaysia.org/
EPIC Homes – https://epichome.org/
It would be a very great shift if the public holidays in Malaysia such as the Merdeka & Malaysia day and the monarchs’ birthdays are coloured by the act of volunteering and kindness, as what the Thais did in conjunction of their Queen Sirikit’s 86th birthday last August.
I’m aware that the listed platforms above are not exactly the concise list for anyone to start volunteering.
But know that volunteering opportunities are always available and the NGO and the organising party would always welcome you to join their cause.
So, what are you waiting for? Let’s get going to build better communities and better nation through volunteering!