Deriving Great Satisfaction From Volunteering

Last update: 04/01/2019

By Nurqalby Mohd Reda

SHAH ALAM (Bernama) -- Volunteering is fast gaining popularity today among Malaysians with more people now willing to lend a helping hand to ease the hardship and misery of the needy.

Even youths are veering towards volunteering although they neither get paid nor earn recognition for their services.

One good example is Maziiana Mohd Azhari, 36, who has been volunteering for Al-I’tisam Relief Malaysia, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) involved in humanitarian missions in and outside the country, for the last nine years.

Tanjong Karang (Selangor)-born Maziiana has a deep interest in helping needy communities and according to her, volunteering gave her a great deal of satisfaction that cannot be valued monetarily.

"I've been exposed to volunteering activities since young as I used to help my mother cook food that we distributed to senior citizens living near my house. I also helped to collect used clothes that were donated to the poor," she said.

LEARNED TO BE MORE PATIENT

Maziiana said volunteering also taught her to be more grateful when she realised how fortunate she was compared to many other people.

"I learned to be grateful for what I have and also to be more patient when facing any difficulty or hardship in life," she told Bernama.

After joining Al-I’tisam Relief Malaysia, Maziiana had the opportunity to participate in humanitarian missions to countries such as Palestine, the Philippines, Cambodia and Indonesia.

And, serving in areas stricken with natural disasters and wars have given her memories and experiences she would never be able to forget.

Being a woman, undertaking her tasks was all the more challenging as it exposed her to all kinds of danger and risk of disease.

"I still performed my duties enthusiastically even though the work was demanding and I had to make sacrifices in terms of my energy and time.

"The toughest missions were those we conducted in disaster-hit regions in the Philippines and Indonesia, including Palu (Indonesia) which was struck by an earthquake and tsunami last September," she related.

MORAL SUPPORT

The missions to war-torn regions would also be forever etched in Maziiana's memory.

"Seeing from afar a shooting incident between soldiers and civilians with your own eyes and hearing the sound of gunshots can be an unnerving experience," she said.

She said it was also distressing to note that the ongoing conflict in the troubled regions has left deep psychological scars in the locals, especially the women and children.

In view of this, the victims were also extended moral and emotional support, besides the usual aid like food and other necessities.

"Seeing the victims going through so much of hardship and suffering reminds one of the realities of life that one has to face," Maziiana said, adding that they (victims) not only needed shelter, food and water but also had to be spiritually and emotionally strong especially when having to deal with the loss of their loved ones.

SELF-SATISFACTION

Like Maziiana, fellow Al-I’tisam Relief Malaysia volunteer Ruwaida Md Zain, 37, also volunteers her services for the satisfaction she derives when her work brings a smile to a person's face.

"When I say self-satisfaction I mean the sense of fulfilment I get in being able to help the needy. Not only that, those people we are helping also value our services and contributions.

"For us volunteers, their smiling faces are the most meaningful gifts that we get. The help we render to them may be insignificant but it means a lot to them," said Ruwaida, who has a full-time job in the private sector and also organises volunteer programmes on her own with the help of her close friends.

Among the programmes she regularly participates in are those aimed at providing daily necessities to hardcore poor children and poor families.

"I always have this sense of gratitude because I know there are people who are worse off than me," she said, adding that for volunteers, their main challenge is raising the money to fund their activities.

"It's not easy (to secure funds) because it is difficult to win the trust of the prospective donors as they have to be convinced that the money would be used in ways that benefit the recipients most," she added.

Ruwaida also hoped that more youths would come forward to participate in volunteer activities.

Translated by Rema Nambiar

-- BERNAMA