If you want to do something for your community, volunteering is a great option. It brings people together, moved by the same cause, and collectively makes a greater impact. Besides that, there is this sense of fulfilment. As Tasmia Khan from Inclusion X puts it, “I wanted to feel like my existence added value to people's lives.” It is important that we understand that we do not exist alone, and that our actions have significant effect on other people. Wanting to create a positive change or at least, trying to, is one of the main reasons to volunteer.
It also adds a lot of value to your CV. Volunteering gives you valuable insights and experience. It brings you in touch with people you normally would have known nothing about, and teaches you to look from their perspective. I taught young children as an instructor for Jhilimili, and I found myself learning so much about their lives and their families. This made me so much more empathetic and helped me see beyond my corner of the world.
It teaches you about your responsibilities. By working for volunteer organisations, you learn how to make the best out of limited resources, limited people, limited time and unlimited problems. Finally, it is great for nurturing your confidence and self-esteem and brings you together with other volunteers sharing the same interests as you.
BUT NOT EVERYONE ENJOYS VOLUNTEERING.
If you're someone who always expects tangible returns, i. e. money, in return for toiling hard work and a whole lot of dedication, community work isn't for you. The only reward here is the experience and self-satisfaction.
If you are not committed to the cause or do not plan to stick to the work, you should not volunteer. It will give you anxiety and make you feel demotivated and annoyed at work. It is hard to manage the high turnover rates of some volunteer organisations, therefore if someone is in it just for a certificate, it might end up doing more harm to the organisation in the long run. When you volunteer, a lot of people are counting and depending on you, and you have to be fully committed to your work.
Volunteering consists of a lot of background paperwork. True, they do go out and save puppies, or hand out food to little kids, but they also attend thousands of meetings and create many documents. The planning behind the work is tedious and demotivating. You have to manage finances and try to somehow make the plan work. There will be a lot of failure, so if you are not intrinsically motivated, this won't be easy.
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO GET INVOLVED IN VOLUNTEERING?
The earlier you get started, the better. As you get older, you'll have to deal with financial responsibilities, and unpaid volunteering jobs won't really help. It's best to start voluntary work in school, because you can put more time into it, and by the time you reach university, you'll have gained some invaluable experience.You can even turn it into a fulltime job if you truly enjoy the work. Today's youths could use the community help and overall positive vibes that exist in most volunteer organisations. So, invest your time smartly, you will be gaining a whole lot from it. Finally, if you are confused about whether or not you'll like the work, just try it once.
Some volunteering organisations where you can get started are Inclusion X, Jaago, EkTakaeAhar. Find out where your passion lies and volunteer for a cause you believe in.
SOME MORE TIPS
It might seem daunting at first, figuring out which organisation to join, how to join, and whether you are any good for the job. But get started as soon as possible before life hits you with 'obligations.' Grab the opportunities you get. Get out of your comfort zone and chase options that lets you better serve your society.
Go in with an open mind, and with the intent of learning. Try to absorb as much as you can from the time spent at the workplace and understand how situations can vary differently from day to day. You will find yourself learning new things every day.
Don't do it half-heartedly. Do it properly. It's not just about the CV and university applications,it's also about the connections you create and the differences you make in people's lives. It is serious work that needs serious, dedicated individuals. Face it like you would any other job.
Finally, you may wonder if us volunteers even enjoy what we do?
Yes, immensely. We love what we do.
Rahma is a junior at IBA, DU. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.