All publications of Abigail Tetteh . Accra , Ghana
The Culture of Volunteerism
Cultivating a habit of volunteerism is a positive attitude every individual must embrace in all facets of life whether in the corporate world, academia, community, events, religion, and the like.
During my undergraduate days at the University of Ghana, I was always happy to join events, workshops, and trainings tailored at personal development and acquiring extra-curricular skills. This got me to join voluntary activities both on-campus and off-campus. So why do I want to share this now? The purpose of this article is to share my experiences on how the culture of volunteerism I adopted a few years back has shaped my life. I will explain using a few quotes which inspire me.
“The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention.”
I always believe Africa and Ghana to specific will always be great if we continue to collectively uphold the good name of the country. I volunteered to be an accredited media representative for Class FM during the 2016 parliamentary and presidential elections for the Dome-Kwabenya Constituency in Ghana. I didn’t receive any money and I did my work happily. I was happy to have been able to contribute my quota to the peaceful elections in 2016 and I pray for peace again in 2020.
“Wherever you turn, you can find someone who needs you. Even if it is a little thing, do something for which there is no pay but the privilege of doing it. Remember, you don’t live in the world all of your own.”
Often, the little things we do when volunteering matters a lot. This is because the smile you put on someone’s face can be the best day of his or her life. I remember last year when I volunteer for Developing Minds and Nurturing Unity (DUNK) at James Town in Accra. Although I am not a good dancer, I was assigned to the dance workshop category to support and help in the coordination of kids. I gladly accepted the role and I was able to cheer the kids up when they did their amazing moves. I also joined the face painting crew and I loved how the kids loved these paintings, most of them had not seen some before and were very happy and I was too. Isn’t that amazing?
“Everybody can be great. Because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve…. You don’t have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”
~Martin Luther King, Jr.
We can see how great you are when you volunteer. In serving others, there are lots of inherent skills and traits inside of you but the act of volunteering will bring it out. This is because people will see the good and point it out to you. I didn’t know I could one day become an associate trainer of an organization because I wasn’t aware of that skill until I was told at a conference. In 2019 I volunteer for Action Aid at the African SDGs Summit in Accra. Before the summit, I had the privilege to be a rep from Action Aid on the board. After day 2 of the summit an Action Aid trainer whom I don’t even remember his name told the current Manager for Global Platform Ghana, this lady can be a trainer. I didn’t believe I could do it until I participated in a training for trainers. After that, I have successfully facilitated 3 trainings in the Bono Ahafo region of Ghana for two major projects. I didn’t know I could do it until I volunteered!
“Volunteers do not necessarily have the time; they just have the heart.”
There are instances when you have to sacrifice your time although you have other equally important duties and assignments. In 2018 when I was about graduating from the university, I was busily working on my thesis which was a 6-hour credit work. During the same period, my church on campus go for our annual evangelism outreach in rural areas. I had to sacrifice 2 weeks to travel to Dochrochiwa a village in the Coltar District. At s point I taught I won’t be able to finish my thesis but I had to work the extra mile to finish and combine the missions work. In the long run, I passed my thesis very well and for your information, that thesis is available online for downloads.
Also, before I decided to volunteer as an ambassador for the second annual Ghana Tech Summit, I was going through hard times in life. This is because I was robbed on my way home from school a week to the summit. The thief took away my laptop, phone, purse, and everything I had on me. I was left with just my handkerchief in my pocket. The painful part is, my master’s thesis I had been working on for more than 3 months into the second year on my MPhil program was also stolen and the deadline for my submission was the end of December. But I told myself, I will still volunteer for Ghana tech Summit because I was part of the maiden edition and I want to be part of it every year. The good news is I was able to volunteer, through that I applied to pitch a startup company of which I am a co-founder and I won! Also, I deployed my cid skills into action and got the boys who robbed me arrested.
“You make a living by what you get. You make a life by what you give.”
I want to conclude with this quote from Winston Churchill. Making a living is great but making a life is phenomenal. The life you make can serve as a positive impact on the lives of many people from far and near. Making a living may end when you are no more but when you make a life, generations unborn will reap the fruits of your labor. I have decided to live a purposeful and impact-driven life; will you join me?
To my colleague, students all over the world don’t finish school without volunteering. If you finish school, it is not too late to start volunteering, don’t look too far, join or organize communal labor in your community. Help a non-profit organization by supporting a few hours of your time. Apply to volunteer for events, summits, training, boot camps, workshops, and the like. You will meet someone you didn’t know and you will learn something new.
You can reach out to the author via email: [email protected]