#International Volunteers Week (2 – 8 December): Giving is Believing

 

LoyarBurokkers at the launch of Pusat Rakyat LoyarBurok on 19 March 2011

Somewhere on this planet, someone has a solution to each of the world’s problems.

It might be one of us.

With your help, we can build a more hopeful world.

-  Marianne Larned

I’ve been trapped in the same room for unaccountable hours with them; managed crisis and expectations with them; shared a meal with them that lasted ‘til the wee hours of the night; fed each other salt before being pelted by tear gas in the middle of a mass peaceful assembly; tolerated embarrassing moments on the dance floor with them; held their hair up while they threw up after their fifth pint of beer; listened to them cry and moan about lost love; and many more.

 

A group of volunteers campaigning for Lord Bobo at one of the most famous landmarks in Kuala Lumpur

Volunteers are friends with a common purpose and love for our country.

Volunteers are individuals who inspire you to continue the good fight despite all the odds.

Volunteers are the ones who have given me a reason to believe.

I’ve been blessed with many of them as I spent the last two years working with them around the clock. This is perhaps the reason why when I was asked to curate the most amazing blawg in the world, I choose International Volunteers Day (IVD) as my debut theme.

 

A volunteer who sings his heart out for a very good cause

Many Malaysians are probably not aware that such a day actually exists. IVD was established by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly on 17 December 1985. Every year on 5 December, the world observes IVD in recognition of the work carried out by millions of volunteers across the planet. The UN also declared 2001 as the International Year of Volunteers (IYV).

Therefore, there’s really no better time to start, what would hopefully become an annual International Volunteers Week (IVW) on LoyarBurok, as the world celebrates the 10th anniversary of IYV.

 

Volunteers working hard to finish a giant stencil of LoyarBurok logo for our wall

This week, we will pay tribute to all the volunteers in Malaysia who have given up their precious time to do volunteering work simply because they have not stopped believing in humanity and the country.

We, at LoyarBurok and UndiMsia!, are particularly proud and grateful for our volunteers who have selflessly given their time and energy to help create a better Malaysia. Nothing would have been accomplished if not for their courage to speak and stand up for the truth; their perseverance when confronted by obstacles and last but most importantly, their gift of kindness.

One of my favourite writers, Roald Dahl thought that the most important quality one should have is kindness and I can’t agree with him more.

Mable Leong writes about how small deeds can be translated into big actions, as seen in a street feeding project in Brickfields. Elison Wong shares her passion for food and how she combines that love with giving. Alison Murugesu-Ghani shares how her life changes just after watching a news report from Al-Jazeera.

Tang Chun Cheuh writes about how saving the planet can be dirty business. Firdaus Husni speaks about the challenges of volunteering while coping with her second year of legal practice in a busy firm.

Snowpiano challenges us to stop talking and start taking actions in an exclusive interview. Azlan, a Penggerak Belia Tempatan for the Majlis Perbandaran Kajang, shares his views on volunteering work in another interview.

Chan Jin Ai shares her vocation as a mother in a beautifully written piece. Finally, Maha Balakrishnan writes about her inspiring work with the Bar Council’s MyConstitution Campaign.

Throughout this week, I hope to share more inspiring stories of individuals who have shared their gift of kindness. Please send me your story at [email protected] before 8 December and we will try to publish them here.

 

Two volunteers getting ready to fight to raise funds for tsunami victims in Sendai

I would like to end this post by sharing what Bill Clinton once said.

“Though government has an important role to play in meeting the many challenges that remain before us, we are coming to understand that no organisation, including government, will fully succeed without the active participation of each of us. Volunteers are vital to enabling this country to live up to the true promise of its heritage.”

A big THANK YOU to all for doing the same for Malaysia. It has been a great honour working with you.

For more information about IVD, please check out these useful websites:

http://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/un/international-volunteer-day

http://www.unv.org/en/news-resources/resources/fact-sheets/doc/international-volunteer-day.html

http://www.unv.org/what-we-do/intl-volunteer-day.html

http://volunteeringmatters.unv.org/

 

Without them, nothing would have been possible

 

 

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Posts by Lim Ka Ea

Ka Ea used to be a globe trotter. She has lived in Timor Leste and Afghanistan while working as a civic education and human rights officers for the United Nations. She then tried to be a full time housewife in Ethiopia and Cambodia but failed miserably. These days, Ka Ea spends most of her time at the Pusat Rakyat LoyarBurok, Ananda Bhavan and Hulu Langat. When she's not there, she can be found lying on the couch at home with two of her best friends watching So You Think You Can Dance. Among the trio, only one can really dance.

Posted on 2 December 2011. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0.

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2 Responses to #International Volunteers Week (2 – 8 December): Giving is Believing

  1. Lim Ka Ea

    Thanks, Lim Gek for sharing this funny story.

    Indeed everyone has something to share even if it's blood, sperm or sweat.

    Hope the couple was very pleased with the donation received. :)

  2. Lim Gek

    When I was a medical student at UM, we were asked to donate blood if there was a need. One day, the gynecology lecturer asked for someone to donate. Someone put up his hand and he was given a paper cup. He got more than he could chew as he was asked to donate his sperm for an infertile couple. He did help out in the end as he did volunteer.