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International Volunteer Day – 8 Benefits of Volunteering

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Volunteering is seen as a philanthropic activity that is intended to benefit others. However, benefits of volunteering are not only limited to the immediate beneficiaries but also to volunteers, society and the nation as a whole. Let us understand how this is.

Uplifting The Lives of Underprivileged

This the most obvious direct benefit of volunteering. When one volunteers, one addresses the immediate needs of the underprivileged section of the society. Whether it is in the form of teaching, providing food to the malnourished or spending time with the elderly, a volunteer is able to touch the lives of the underprivileged sections of the society in a significant way. In addition to this, a volunteer also evokes aspirations and hope for a better future among the beneficiaries by providing them with tools and skills, which in turn aids them to lead a sustainable life.

Non-Profits

Non-Profits are established to work on a certain cause which contributes heavily to addressing the social issues of the country. Non-Profits are heavily underfunded, majority of the times. Volunteers are vital for their smooth and sustainable running.

State of Awareness

Volunteering is viewed as one of the most profitable activities to engage the youth in social work which will help them build character and introduce them to the ground reality of the social issues in the country. In fact, according to a survey conducted by Volunteering Action division of CRY – Child Rights and You, 63% of the 428 volunteers they studied, said they were more aware of child rights issues in the country. 58% of them said they started keeping up with socio-political issues after becoming a volunteer.

Nation Building

India has a population of about 1.3 billion. The youth account for almost one-third of this population. In order to harness its demographic dividend, meet Sustainable Development Goals and build a healthy society, it is important for the youth of the country to engage in various nation-building activities. In National Consultation on Youth Building Peace organised by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports (MoYAS), in collaboration with the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), laid emphasis channelizing the energy of youth in nation building activities through volunteering.

Community Building

With the world embracing individualism and individualistic rights, the benefits of community are gradually being lost. Volunteering is a great way of regaining this and building community, whether it is in one’s neighbourhood or a far-flung destination abroad. It helps to cultivate friendships as everyone works towards the greater good. This reduces the isolation and loneliness felt by many people in the modern world.

Skill Development

Unemployability of youth is one of the biggest reasons for unemployment in the country. Volunteering provides a person with an opportunity to develop their skills. According to the survey conducted by CRY, 85% of volunteers claimed that volunteering helped them learn teamwork. 77% noted a major improvement in their communication skills and 77% saw a growth in their leadership skills.

Health

Volunteering contributes significantly to maintaining a healthy life. It has positive impacts on mental as well as physical health. According to studies, people who volunteer tend to have lower mortality and depression rates, as well as greater functional ability. In fact, a research conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health shows that “people who volunteered spent 38 per cent fewer nights in the hospital” than non-volunteers, with other studies noted that volunteers had better health, more stamina and lower stress levels.
Volunteering also helps in gaining greater personal satisfaction. The realisation that you have made a difference in the lives of others and often helps to put your own life in perspective.

Career Building

Changing career path is very difficult for a person. Employers are often sceptical about hiring someone without experience. Volunteering helps in this transition. A person, looking for a career change, can volunteer in the field they are interested in which helps them gain experience and provide an assurance to the employer of their commitment to learn and work efficiently.