Unselfish and noble actions are the most radiant pages in the biography of souls. ~David Thomas
I like the word volunteerism in Malay, which is “kesukarelawanan” – the two main words are “suka” and “rela”, like and willing.
Englishjer started out purely voluntarily. I had nobody pushing me to do it and there were no incentives (aside from the ones I impose on myself). I saw a problem and I wanted to a part of the solution, so I got involved. I created a safe space to learn because through my years of dealing with writing and communication, I found that his was one of the biggest problems.
But enough about Englishjer, let’s talk about volunteerism in general.
If you really think about it, we don’t have that much control in life. We are sometimes caught up with our own selfishness (and sometimes of others) from what we wear, what we study, to what we spend our money on. We are pressured by society, our peers, advertisements, and our lust for the world. Volunteering is a way to take control of life as you finally get to choose what to get involved with and to really make a difference while you’re at it.
It’s important that when you volunteer, you find a cause that you believe in. There are plenty of causes to support, from building homes for the less fortunate, helping the homeless, to feeding gaurs at the zoo. Better yet, you can start your own! You’ll be surprised of how many like-minded people you will find when you put yourself out there. For many (myself included), knowing you are not alone is quite the motivation to continue to do good. Throughout organising all the events for EJ, I have often found myself in the company of great people sharing the dream I share and that’s not something you can ever buy.
“It is not righteousness that you turn your faces towards East or West; but it is righteousness to believe in Allah and the Last Day and the Angels and the Book and the Messengers; to spend of your substance out of love for Him, for your kin, for orphans, for the needy, for the wayfarer, for those who ask; and for the ransom of slaves; to be steadfast in prayers and practice regular charity; to fulfill the contracts which you made; and to be firm and patient in pain (or suffering) and adversity and throughout all periods of panic. Such are the people of truth, the God fearing”(Quran 2: 177).
I know, volunteerism can sound like something irrational: “Why would I something without anything in return?” – yes, if you think of it in material terms then there is nothing to be gained. In fact, you’ll lose time and money even. But think of it this way, consider volunteerism charity for your soul. Do it because you want to have a say in the world and how it moves. Your sweat and sore muscles will thank your heart later on for doing something good, and it will definitely be worth it when you finally figure out there is so much more to this life than just material things.
Remember all those times you needed help and someone helped you without wanting anything in return? Didn’t that give you a little bit more hope for the world?
Be the person at the other end. Be the one who gives hope because I think we’ve taken so much from this world already.
Have fun volunteering!