Why do you volunteer? If someone had asked me this question a year ago, I would have said the cliché “because it gives back to the community, and it makes me feel good to help others”. However, in February 2014, I went on a service project to Bohol in the Philippines that changed my life in ways I had never expected.
To say this service project was hard work is an understatement. For me, the hardest part wasn’t the physical labour or dealing with the heat/humidity of the Philippines, it was learning how to truly help the people around me. I had to learn how to work and problem solve in a team and to listen to others.
Sometimes I would be exhausted and I would have ten children wanting to play with me, or I would have older teenagers and parents wanting to talk and ask me difficult questions, all of which were the last things I wanted to do.
This is where I learnt the most important part of volunteering; not to focus on ‘how I felt’, and to give these people the time and affection that they truly needed. Since going on the service project I realised that volunteering does not just help the people you serve to live better lives, it teaches one to be selfless, and helps me as a volunteer to live a better life.
So now when I am asked ‘why do you volunteer?’ I say that not only is it about helping those less fortunate than myself, but also it’s about wanting to be better, to grow in life skills as well as strengthen my knowledge of how to devote and to love others around me; this is why I volunteer.
– Brigid Hanson, UNSW Arts graduate and Creston College Philippines Service Project Volunteer
We need your support as so many others can benefit from Reledev’s projects. You can also volunteer overseas like Brigid on a service project locally or overeseas. You can help by donating to the Reledev cause. A little goes a long way.