I define volunteerism as an act of giving your time, knowledge and experience to a cause without expecting payment in terms of money except the only payment that you get from volunteering is the satisfaction that you feel for doing something good.
There have been a lot of questions in relation to volunteerism such as;
Is it really beneficial?
Are we wasting our time by volunteering??
Are they just using us as cheap labor?
These questions and many others are valid and they need us to have a discussion about volunteerism.
However, let me share the benefits of volunteerism as i know them:
It’s the responsibility of the community members to work on their own community
I love community development work, I believe working with organizations like VSO Tanzania, helps me to bring positive changes to my community.
Last year I got a once in a lifetime opportunity to volunteer for VSO, where I met youth with different talents and we were all working to contribute to our country via VSO.
You can discover yourself and know your strength
When you volunteer you get an opportunity to work with different people, different projects , and face different challenges that will help you to discover who you are, your strengths and weaknesses, what you are good at and what you need to work on more.
The easiest way to discover your career path I believe, is to volunteer in those areas before fully commiting yourself in that path.
You learn more about work and life in general
Volunteering with your fellow youths gives you an opportunity to meet, work and live with people who come from different backgrounds, have different faith, perspective in life and different behaviors.
And while you are learning about life from each other, you are also working together and gaining new experience together which you can later add to your CV.
For instance while volunteering with VSO, I worked with entrepreneurs, even though I don’t have a background in business, working with them gave me a new experience and taught me new things that I would otherwise never have learned.
You develop personally
There are things that we learn about ourselves everyday, and sometimes we don’t have the rush to change them because we think they are not affecting anyone else.
When we are working with other people, we learn things about ourselves and are forced to grow in these areas.
Volunteering also helps us to be more confident and get acquainted with the work environment.
You make good memories and learn how to be an active citizen at the same time
Most of the time we don’t think it is our responsibility to serve our communities, we think it is our leader’s responsibility. But i think as long as you are born in a country, it’s your birthright to be responsible to it.
I remember we had a session about active citizenship before going to placement, and we were reminded that it is my responsibility and yours as well to bring positive changes to our communities.
By being a volunteer in whatever field you choose, you are serving your country.
But you also make good memories, I got an opportunity to live in Mwanza and go to Shinyanga, districts that I have never been to before placement.
I lived, worked, laughed, ate and learned from my fellow volunteers who have changed me and help me grow as well.
And those are the benefits of volunteering as I know them.
If you would like to know more about VSO and how to volunteer with them, Click Here.
Have you ever been a Volunteer? What do you think are the benefits?