While many youths say volunteering is a boring and mundane job, others are still spending their weekends doing some epic social work. Some are influenced by a moment of inspiration. To transform the lives of distressed communities. Some may have been influenced by their own struggles in the community itself. Volunteering, after all, is a powerful lever of transformation.
Recognition is often given to entrepreneurs, celebrities and brands. And everything else that’s “worth mentioning”. Yet, how often is recognition given to individuals who’ve been solving real world problem?
For the first time ever, Incitement gathered 10 of the best volunteers around the world. Those who have brought the volunteering scene to the next level. With so many candidates to choose from, these ten finalists made it to the list. For showcasing diversity, persistence, and uniqueness.
Here, without further ado, are Incitement’s 10 Best Volunteers
The Top 10 Volunteers of 2017
The girl who quit accounting for volunteering.
“Her goal is to help the refugees in whatever possible way she can. Having to commit to 3 important missions in 2016 alone, Nadia Rahmat proved that helping others has to start now.
Her annual trip to Phnom Penh, Cambodia began on 2013 when she was still in high school. Ever since that voyage, she keeps coming back to give more. Last year, the repeated trip provided groceries to 80 families. On May 2016, she traveled to 3 states in India: Ladakh, Jammu, and Kashmir. The mission was to distribute munchies and essential medicine, helping those who are living in the Nomadic Camp.
Soon after, her application to MYCorps was accepted. Having to juggle between her accounting work and her passion for volunteering, Nadia decided to hand over her job and resign her decent paying job. She knows exactly what she wants and to her, helping people is a job she doesn’t mind doing. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is a bold move!
Too much experienced to pen down, but what gives Nadia satisfaction is seeing the smile of the people at the camp. It’s by far her greatest life achievement. After all, that’s her dream, “to reach out my hand around the globe, to draw them a smile!”
“I’ve been threatened by people in my community for my voluntary service.”
“Coming from a very conservative society, change and transformation are not in his favour. Balochistan is the most dangerous and deprived place in the world according to Saboor. To make the community there agree with changes even if it’s good for them, is not an easy task.
As a volunteer under National Youth Leader of Pakistan and South Asia Youth Network, food distribution happens to be his most incredible volunteering experience. It happened in the most rural community in Balochistan, after a flood in Pakistan. He was standing on top of a truck full of food parcels for the assembled crowd to hear him better as he began to speak. A gunshot rings out nearby. It startles and shocks him while finding himself staring at the gun pointed at him. It was the most horrible and dangerous experience. Especially when all he wanted to do was to help the people suffering from natural disasters. Saboor was later awarded the Presidential award for best volunteer.
Saboor is hopeful that the community that he’s fighting for will be open for changes. Slowly but surely.”
Putu Mita Budiyanti
18 and so ready to bring changes to the ever so beautiful Bali.
“This young girl has no time to waste. Since high school, she’s been preparing herself for what’s coming in the future. Although community service activities in her school were not given much attention, she values the opportunity and uses it to brush up her social skills. Every weekend Mita and her friends would volunteer at the nearby elementary school. Giving free English and Mathematics tutoring. This volunteer tutoring helped her as much as it helped the kids, as she knew right away that this is what she should be doing.
In a real sense, she’s helping herself by helping others. Because opportunity doesn’t come often, especially when you’re an island girl, Mita challenged herself to go above and beyond. Not by moving away from the island but by staying and creating something good out of that. Bali is a wonderful tourist island. Despite its beauty, youths are still bound to conservative tradition, which limits the opportunity to learn and grow.
After graduating from senior high school, Mita joined a non-profit organization in Bali. Little Circle Foundation (LCF) focuses on the growth of youth. With the enthusiasm Mita has, she was appointed to be the director in the Buleleng regency. In Buleleng, Mita uses LCF as a platform to educate. She approaches the local youths on the importance of education through specific skills.”
A dosage of humanitarian voyage to keep this future doctor on his feet.
“His volunteering experience in 2016 was a spectrum of an act. Ranging from an epic humanitarian voyage to influencing and educating the public</strong, in a simple act of everyday altruism.
In 2015, an NGO under the name of “Dakwah Dosage” was created to help, inspire and educate Malaysians. The birth of Dakwah Dosage saw the beginning of Wazir’s altruistic journey. A paradigm shift, with more time and effort devoted to influencing and helping people. Actively and passively.
Last year, Wazir and his team took part in a cause called Voyage of Hope, a journey that covered a distance of 3200km. Circumnavigating the entire peninsula within the span of 5 days. The journey began in the state of Perak, up north to Perlis, then to the east coast. Then down south before finally coming back to Kuala Lumpur. Within each state, Dakwah Dosage representatives were given a task beforehand. It was to identify some needy families and those who can’t make ends meet due to the rising cost of living in Malaysia. Driving 14-15 hours a day while fasting, for 5 days straight, which was demanding both physically and mentally. But knowing that there are people who can’t feed their families made the fasting easy for him.
The voyage was important for the underprivileged to know that Malaysians still care.”
A wanderer who learned that self love happens by loving others.
“One thing about Nadirah is, she never settles in one place to help change the world. Traveling to help people around the world makes this lady high on life. Whenever she stops in one country, be sure to find her at a refugee camp or at any social work centre.
Her passion for volunteering began from an innate need: to experience something bigger than herself. As narcissistic as it sounds. Nadirah began her first mission because she wanted to know how it would be like. She realized that getting involved in a greater cause has given her more than what she had given to others. In the process, she saw herself evolving into a better version of herself. Nadirah began to learn to humble down to nature and get empowered by the human will to survive. She learned to see people as human beings first before anything else. Her favorite part of the entire journey was – the understanding that in the process of learning to love people, she also learned how to love herself.
One of the best experiences Nadirah would never forget was a volunteer mission with a Maasai family, in Kenya back in 2016. On the last day of the mission, she joined an adopted family in their visit to a safe house. It’s dedicated to sheltering girls from female genital mutilation and bride marriage. Her adopted family was very poor. Shoes or clothes were a luxury they couldn’t afford. Despite living in poverty, the family was at the time taking care of twin girls who had escaped early marriage and were living in the safe house. That was a revelation to her. She felt humbled and touched. Because in such desperate conditions, they were still able to reach out to others. That moment was her true calling.
This girl definitely knows how to make the most out of her trip!”
Doing epic stuff through para-sport because it matters.
“Thatayaone chooses to help kids with disabilities. His efforts contributed to gold, silver and bronze medals for paralympic athletes. He sleeps better at night knowing that those boys and girls who once gave up on life because they’re in a wheelchair, are now receiving medals on the podium because they earned it. That to him, is priceless.
Having volunteered for over 7 para-sport events, Thatayaone is here to stay. After a while, he adopts this interest as a lifestyle. Born without any disability, Thatayaone took it as a calling from the higher power. He provides service which can benefit those who are less fortunate. With his skills, he started coaching disabled youths who are interested in sports. He coached for youngsters in Motswedi Rehabilitation Centre and Bakgatla CJSS. He then made his own development program. Coaching children who’re interested in chess, bridge, and badminton.
He’s also the special advisor of Mochudi Blackburn Ladies Soccer Club in 2016. His focus is to advise on matters of children safeguarding and protection, welfare and sports development related issues. As a project developer for the para-sports competition, his karate team showed an outstanding performance by winning 1 bronze medal in 2015 and 3 silver medals in 2012. While the girl’s football team managed to be in the 3rd position in the sub-zone category. These achievements are only one-third of an entire long list. If there’s one thing he learned, it’s to appreciate the great way we’re created and live a life of humility and honor.”
Shalini Yeap May Hwa
“We’re not meant to be spectators in life”.
“When Shalini first started volunteering, she had no idea that it would become an essential part of her life. She thinks it stems from a very basic fundamental: wanting to help others. It is difficult to see someone in need and not do something or anything to assist. Shalini found herself being unable to turn away from a cause if she could contribute to it in some way. She also thinks that each of us has a part to play in this world. We’re not meant to be spectators in life. And (at the risk of sounding cliché) we should try to make a difference in some way or another.
There have been many incredible experiences along her journey in volunteering. But one that she will always carry with her. One night while handing out clothing to some of the homeless in KL, on food distribution rounds, a street friend was handed a box of clothes and he only took one out of many clothes. Puzzled, Shalini asked him why, while explaining that they were all meant for him. His reply was – “I only need one, I’m sure there is someone out there who needs these more than me.” So there it was, a man who had only clothes on his back being so selfless. That was a humbling experience for her.
Shalini volunteering work focuses more for the homeless community in Malaysia. But that doesn’t stop her from flying to Cambodia to offer her service for a soup kitchen with Touch A Life. She also organizes a Back-To-School project which provides underprivileged kids with school uniforms and school essentials. For the past year, she dedicates her Wednesdays to a free mobile clinic. And Shalini is definitely looking forward to doing more.”
Lost in a foreign country and ended up volunteering.
“Nikola volunteers because he wanted to do something useful by contributing to the community. Sounds familiar but it’s true. He’s high on meeting different people, cultures, traditions, languages. Sharing and learning new things from different places is what Nikola always looks forward to doing. One of his dreams is to visit as many countries as possible and to speak to as many people on this planet.
One day, he was traveling to a country by train. He was alone in a foreign country while having some prejudice towards the people living in it. Nikola was heading to a place where someone would pick him up. He waited for several hours but no one came. So he decided to go somewhere on his own. At one point, he got a bit lost and all a sudden, he bumped into an old lady. Even though he didn’t know the language, he understood that she needed help with a bag. He later noticed that the way had led him to a place where he was needed, as a volunteer.
Nikola started as English tutor. In an orphanage called “Jovan Jovanović Zmaj” in Belgrade. Spending time tutoring opened his eyes to many things. One of it is to avoid being prejudice towards a new place. Little did he knows that people there bring the best out of him when he did the same through tutoring.
Nikola continues his volunteering journey in Sweden, Croatia and Romania. He also attended the European Youth Capital Ganja 2016. To empower the rural community.”
“I’m capable to put efforts for the downtrodden and unprivileged”
“Volunteering to Amit is pure passion. He didn’t think twice before putting himself in a time-consuming position. Most of his time is spent at a legal aid clinic or high court, fighting over child rights or anything that’s worth fighting for.
you don’t often get the privilege of having your own rights. Exposed to education and opportunities, Amit knows that he’s capable to put in extra effort for the downtrodden and the underprivileged. His happiness comes when he’s able to give his community what they thought they didn’t deserve.
His volunteering profile started when he volunteered for the legal aid clinic. Over 3 years now in the University of Rajasthan. At the same time, he’s working for the High Court of Rajasthan. Taking care of the underprivileged welfare while campaigning for women’s empowerment and education. When in New Delhi, he volunteered for National Human Rights Commission.
He has no time to sit back and relax. Amit makes sure to remind his juniors in university to always be compassionate. He encourages them to be the force of help in the social welfare issues. Nothing will change without individuals who want changes to happen in the community.”
Volunteers Unite to do what’s right.
“As the co-founder of Volunteers Unite he cannot run away from volunteering, despite having volunteers under his umbrella. It started as a Facebook group and still is today. But it has now become a place for volunteers and NGOs in Malaysia to click on. He started Volunteers Unite as a one man show and today, the number grew to over 80 regular volunteers.
Volunteering to Alfred is a spirit to reach out to those in need. It’s an act of selflessness and putting one ahead of our personal gain. This trait would lead us to be a better person. It’s always a right thing to do. Alfred wants to achieve in seeding the volunteering spirit in a larger scale. To him, more can be achieved with a greater network of do-good people.
Alfred travels back and forth to Singapore and Kuala Lumpur every weekend for volunteering work. Some asked why, and his answer is always simple – “Because I can do it. Time is what I have; Time is my sacrifice.”