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Volunteering and Impact: Knowing What You are Doing... and Doing More

Written by Tim Ho
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In response to listening to a talk on what it means to "do good" from our friends at Omprakash, Communications Volunteer Tim reflects on what it means to be a volunteer. 

When we think about volunteering overseas, sometimes, we may have doubts – what impact can I have while doing voluntary work for just a few weeks in a place? Such doubt is normal. It is good actually as it shows that you have seriously thought about what you can contribute.

Impact has become a trendy word these days. It is sometimes a factor when people need to decide whether to do something or not. While impact is important, it should not be something we measure. We must realize that we can make contribution to the gradual improvement of the society. We are not meant to do something dramatic to radically eradicate any social problem in a short period of time. Instead, we alleviate them by aiding people who are suffering from them. That is what we can and should do in a limited time.

If you feel you have not done enough, this is normal as well. While your trip has ended, you can and should think about what you can do in the future. Maybe join some voluntary service alongside your job? Or start campaigns to raise public awareness over some issues? Or plan for another voluntary trip abroad? What is most important is to turn that kind of “feeling of regret” – where you return only wanting to do more – into actions to improve our society. Don’t forget what you learnt and felt during your voluntary experience even when you are back at home.

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