Is it just me, or is the world going crazy? Every time I turn on my TV, scroll down my Twitter timeline or leaf through a newspaper, it certainly does feel that way.

Photo courtesy of Pexels/NOW!JAKARTA

To be honest, the state of the world is quite frustrating, if not depressing, at the moment, but instead of loudly complaining, perhaps it is time to take action and actually do something.

A single person most likely won’t have a major impact on world events, but – as the old saying goes – even the smallest stone makes a ripple in the water. We can have an impact on our immediate surroundings, the people and communities around us.

That’s why volunteering for a good cause can be such a rewarding experience. There are many reasons why people start to volunteer: they realize how lucky they are and want to give back, or maybe they are searching for a bigger purpose in life. Some think that it is their duty in life to lend a helping hand to those who are less fortunate.

There are numerous organisations, NGOs and foundations that work tirelessly for a great cause and provide indispensable support and services to communities. Many of these organisations wouldn’t be able to function without the help of dedicated and passionate volunteers. 

So, what’s in it for us?

For one, it is extremely fulfilling to make a difference. Through volunteering, you can see how your actions have a direct impact: the elderly person you comfort, the refugee who can finally go back to school, the child who is giving you a bright smile or the dog wagging his tail after you have taken him for a walk. You can literally change lives and help others to fulfill their dreams and hopes.

Volunteering makes us see the world through different eyes. We develop a deeper understanding, appreciation and empathy for others, which in turn helps us to grow and better understand ourselves, gain new perspective and expand our horizon.

The benefits of volunteering are aplenty: you gain self-confidence and self-esteem, discover your own strengths and talents and develop a sense of independence. You will also have the chance to interact with a diverse range of people, and more often than not, volunteering will provide you with friends for life. Your experience will eventually turn into memories that will last a lifetime. 

Volunteering can also have benefits for your professional life, as the social and technical skills you learn are easily transferable to a business environment, like team-building, problem solving and interaction with co-workers.

In and around Jakarta, there are numerous organisations and foundations that depend on volunteers and are always looking for extra help – some of these organisations, we introduce in our magazine every month in this very section. Just do a quick research online, find a worthy cause that suits your personality and your interests and make contact. I promise, you’ll most likely be welcomed with open arms.

Because that is the beauty of volunteering: when you open your heart to those around you and give back, you receive much more in return.

Katrin Figge

Katrin Figge

Katrin Figge is a previous editor of NOW! Jakarta. An experienced writer and avid bookworm.