Mandela Day is coming up on the 18th of July. Francesca shares why volunteering can be beneficial for both you and the people you share your time or efforts with.
Four years ago, on the 15th December 2013, South Africa lost a legend. The world, especially South Africa, mourned the death of Tata Madiba; the icon of the Rainbow Nation. A face that is synonymous with a new South Africa and peace. Mandela day, the 18th of July, is an opportunity to dedicate time to the less fortunate and engage in acts of selfless giving. In true Nelson Mandela style, yo. The deal with Mandela Day is that it calls for South Africans to give up 67 minutes of their time to helping the community. That is one minute for every year Madiba spent fighting for social justice.
Volunteering may seem like one of those tedious chores your parents make you do, instead of hanging out with your friends. If you aren’t a natural giver, then sacrificing your free time to knit blankets or stand around at a soup kitchen can seem like a big ask. What if I told you that by helping somebody else, you’re reaping the benefits too, in more ways than you think. Of course, it’s not ideal to only do something for someone else when there is something to gain. However, it is nice to know that doing good is good for you too!
When volunteering, there is the obvious ‘feel-good’ feeling. You know the one. You are showered with it after you’ve done a good deed. But there’s more to it than just a warm heart and good conscience! Like what? Here are some ways you win:
- According to the Journal of Health and Social Behaviour, it is said that volunteering your time and efforts contributes to living a happier, fuller life. By engaging in activities and issues that are close to your heart, you create purpose in your life.
- Volunteering and helping others allows you to appreciate your life more, and value what you have.
- By doing something good, you feel a sense of accomplishment, boosting your self-esteem and self-confidence.
- Spending time with people and connecting with them can reduce stress levels.
- Through volunteering for different projects, you develop new skills to use in future.
- You get to meet new people and, possibly, make new friends.
- By shifting the focus from yourself, you allow for a broader awareness of society and people around you.
Good! Now that we’ve convinced you that volunteering is certainly one of the latest trends, here are some pre-volunteering tips.
- Choose a program that speaks to you. Be sure it is something you’re passionate about.
- Communicate with the organisation or group representative beforehand to arrange your volunteering session.
- Make sure you can commit to the volunteering times allocated to you.
- Take a friend with you if you’re feeling unsure or nervous about anything. #tagteam
- Go with an open heart and mind.
So, Where are the Volunteering gigs at?
Finding a worthy cause is a lot easier than it may seem. It doesn’t always necessarily mean finding a large organisation to volunteer at. It often just means being aware of who is in need in your immediate surroundings. If that is still a bit daunting and you’d rather go through a structured program, here are some ideas that can kick start your 67 minutes this year!
The Organisation is a public, non-profit organisation established for various purposes such as feeding programs, drug and HIV/Aids awareness and youth development.
Contact person: Rakesh Ramdas
Phone: 084 587 8460
Fax: 088 011 835 1208
Physical address: 267 Park Street, Malvern
Atlantic Hope is a temporary, emergency placement site for babies who do not have healthy home environments in which to live.
Contact person: Marilyn May
Phone: 021 434 8514
Fax: 021 434 8514
Postal address: P O Box 144, Sea Point, 8060
Active Women’s Association:
This organisation is dedicated to relieving poverty, women and child abuse as well as educating youth and children on HIV/Aids and substance abuse, among other initiatives.
Contact person: Sharon Chetty
Phone: 078 696 7289
Fax: 086 684 9308
Physical address: 84 Crimby Avenue, Westcliff, Chatsworth
Postal address: 1005 Exeter Hall, 24 Sol Harris Crescent, North Beach, Durban, 4001
Volunteering is probably the best thing you can do, especially if you’re going through a rough time yourself. It is all about being the change you wish to see in the world. Every day is an opportunity to help and serve others. We might as well throw in some Gandhi inspiration. Seriously, helping someone in need is such a positive and necessary thing to do. The world needs more people like you. So go out and give!