Why volunteering is important

(Last Updated On: 2 August 2023)

Lira I Apart from the regular work that we engage in, volunteerism is one of the things Ugandans should embrace. On a personal level, my motivation is motor driven by internal as well as external factors.

Internally, the overwhelming desire to volunteer is majorly driven by the passion in the possibility of contributing to change.

My external measure of conviction to serve as a volunteer has always been but not limited to helping others, contributing to refugee communities, sharing skills and experiences, networking, sense of well-being and belonging.

Having been a refugee myself, my pride in a stellar organization such as Community Development Centre (CDC) run by refugees is a welcome addition to the connections and the work the organization supports in the community

Canada is a nation grounded on a people whose volunteerism has grown organically through a shared culture of multiculturalism, recognizing nondiscrimination and more so the value of youth work, including girl child and women rights.

This kind of opportunity was granted to me as an immigrant on April 26, 1990, when I arrived through a refugee resettlement program. I have lived and gone on to enjoy all the privileges as a Canadian which has been built on the backbone of selfless sacrifices, both through obligation and above all, the spirit of helping others with my time and expertise.

As a young boy and a refugee in Kenya in the late 1980s, our struggle for survival lacked three fundamental areas namely, education, economic and empowerment opportunities for young people. These causes impregnated my search for a Canadian organization that would give me an opportunity to serve a refuge and host community and provide that which is so craved for by young refugees around the world

In view of this very strong conviction, the search was born for an organization with my shared vision, mission and objectives. Consequently, WUSC (World University Services of Canada) was the best among a myriad of potentials that I did an evaluation on

My major inclination and purpose for joining WUSC was to get a sense of achievement, feel part of a community and help me feel better about myself in giving back to people whom I was once at the centre as a recipient

WUSC was a home away from home where a gift in the form of an opportunity to serve in the role of a resource mobilization advisor; a journey of thousands of miles across three continents.

My itinerary from the assumed comforts of Toronto City in Canada to Arua City in Northern Uganda is to fulfil my dreams of being a people’s servant at the Community Development Centre (CDC). What a marvellous host they have been from the exotic local cuisines of both Uganda and South Sudan.

My volunteer work at Community Development Center (CDC) on the IGNITE project has seen me serve as a Resource Mobilization Advisor and what a pleasure it has been.

The opportunity is a daily satisfaction, as I am involved with projects that address an array of problems affecting refugees especially the youth in their daily existence.

This is purposely important to me as it resonates with my aspirations of change, having been once a refugee and a youth just like the ones I serve in the IGNITE project.

A life experienced is a lifetime and volunteering can provide a healthy boost to self-confidence, self-esteem, and life satisfaction. You do good for others and the community, which provides a natural sense of accomplishment. Your role as a volunteer can also give you a sense of pride and identity

The bottom line here is that volunteering is a great way to impact the community and, at the same time, open doors for yourself in the future. As you give your time to help others, you also learn how to be a leader, properly manage your time, and be a team player.

Volunteering comes in various forms, including the simple things that we do in the community on a daily basis, which make a big difference, such as helping someone carry their heavy shopping bags, or cleaning garbage off the street.”

Fellow Canadians, come and join in giving a hand up not a handout. As to my Ugandan people, isn’t it high time you who can reciprocate by doing good to a person, family, or village what a world it will be as the saying goes “YOU WANT CHANGE? BE THE CHANGE”.

Aggrey Jackson Etwop is a Resource Mobilization Advisor for World University Services of Canada (WUSC) and a Human Rights Activist.

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