I belong to a country where community is defined as the religious group with whom I share my beliefs and religious practices. In my community we have a structure of serving community under a volunteer setup. For example, if we have doctors, occasionally they provide services frees of cost or with minimal charges, if someone is a teacher, he/she will be voluntarily serving in any community institution, likewise all the people in the community have a kind of volunteer responsibility which is kind of mandatory to serve and I believe that, it is the back bone of my community development.
Generally we think like what can we do, how can I serve my community, how can I be part of a worthy cause? Being a young student, having no professional experience, guess what could I do for my community? Believe me; I had much more opportunities to serve my community than any professional person because, volunteer services need time commitment and dedication. Since childhood I remained associated with different organizations with different responsibilities like, Group Scout Leader, Finance Secretary with a welfare Organization, As a Teacher in religious institution, Member of wheel chair committee, Administrator of JDC an Institution and member of Aga Khan Economic Planning local Board Gilgit.
In my educational career, I always remained an average student but today I am a participant of Community College Initiative program among 40 students of Pakistan. Till now it is one of the highest achievements in my career and this would never have happened without the skills I have gained from volunteer services.
Although with busy life it is difficult to manage time, but if you spare a short span of time for volunteering, you may have a greater impact on your personal life, professional life and your community. It is the best way to gain experience, enhancing interpersonal skills; it gives you a sense of accomplishment, an opportunity to interact with diverse group of people, an opportunity for selection of right career path and much more…
To begin with, Volunteering is a great opportunity to gain interpersonal skills like, being a good listener, a good communicator, responsiveness, promoting togetherness and settling disputes etc.
Secondly, volunteering is a platform where we can learn new things through participating in different events. While serving as volunteer we get involve in social, technical, funny and academic activities. Participation in event like Park cleaning, fund raising campaign and art exhibitions gave me an insight about these fields, which I could never learn in my routine classes.
Next, working for long hours, studying, assignments and other activities sometime makes us stressful. We can find such volunteer activities related to our own interest where we can have fun and enjoy, which may have a positive impact on our health.
Subsequently, I have handled a lot of tasks back in my own country but cleaning a pond in a park and controlling traffic in an event was something new and interesting for me. Handling task smoothly in timely manners make us responsible and it gives us confidence to do something more.
Afterwards, networking is one of the most essential requirements for entrepreneurship minded people and nowadays finding a better job is all about networking. Volunteering lets you expand your relationships with other businesses and people with similar interests which can help you in finding better jobs.
Another main thing, volunteering is an opportunity to make choices from different professional fields, while participating in different events; you can select an interesting career field. Being student of economics I was planning to work in banking sector but my volunteer association with Aga Khan Economic planning board inspired me to think about entrepreneurship. During my services more than 10 families successfully initiated their own businesses which gave me a motivation to think beyond what I was imagining about my career and these were the experiences which linked me with such a wonderful international exchange program like the CCI Program, which is like a full package of experiential learning, theoretical studies, motivation and exposure visits.
Yet another important aspect of volunteering is meeting with diverse groups of people, for me it is a hobby; I enjoy participating in volunteer services because I love meeting new people and learning new things every day.
“Diversity is not a burden to be endured, but an opportunity”, HH Aga Khan”.
Volunteering is the best way to find people from different social backgrounds, cultures, food, experiences and ideas and only through mutual understanding we can bring peace in the world.
Finally, happiness and satisfaction cannot be purchased no matter how rich you are. The feelings cannot be compared to something else which we get after supporting a needy person.
In the end, I will conclude my writing with a beautiful quote by “Bob Marley,
“Live for your-self, you live in vain. Live for others, you will live again”.
Therefore I will recommend everyone to be a part of this worthy cause, which can help you being a successful person, helping you in living a happy, healthy and a meaningful life.
Post written by Naik Alam, CCI participant at NOVA, 2016-2017, Pakistan