National Volunteer Programme celebrated World Health Day in collaboration with Zindagi Trust at the SMB Fatimah Jinnah Girls School. The day was proudly celebrated by hosting a Mental Health Workshop, with a theme ‘Depression: Let’s Talk’, on Friday 7th April 2017. The purpose of this workshop was to provide an opportunity for teachers of our registered schools to take part in a discussion on ‘How to Nurture Students’ Mental Health’. Teachers from 11 schools including Rana Liaquat Craftsmen’s Colony – RLCC, Zindagi Trust (Khatoon-e-Pakistan and SMB Fatima Jinnah Girls School), four campuses of Behbud Association, Justuju Welfare Organization School, Nobel Academy, Habib Public School as well as The Garage School attended and actively participated in the event.
The special guest speaker for the workshop was Dr. Farhan Rauf– a public health physician & researcher, associated with NVP as a volunteer consultant. His thoroughly interactive session aimed to engage the teachers in informative discussions where the teachers were able to voice out their opinions and experiences so that others could learn from it too. During the workshop, Dr. Farhan Rauf took the liberty to measure the teachers’ average stress levels through a stress test and to inform them about the need to maintain their stress levels for a healthy life.
Through this event, teachers were able to identify significant signs of depression in students and ways to overcome them. The lecture emphasized upon the mental health issues faced by students when starting or changing school, making new friends, going through puberty and preparing for exams etc. The rest of the discussion was based on identifying, preventing and managing mental health disturbances in young students.
This was an eye-opening session for the teachers who were previously unaware of the severity of depression and anxiety faced by the students in the classroom. Many of the teachers were very glad to have attended this workshop while Ms. Nida Habib, a teacher at Justuju Welfare Organization stated:
“We are conducting the Workshop of Teachers on Saturday 15th April 2017. This will help our teachers to analyse the stress level in them and will help our students to reduce the stress level and focus more on academics”.
Overall it was a highly informative and much-needed workshop to talk about mental health issues and to remove the stigmas associated with it, in order to create a mentally and physically healthy world for everyone. NVP aimed to reach as many people as possible through this initiative and was indirectly responsible for spreading the message across to more than 9000 students under the 80+ teachers that were present for the workshop.
Ms. Shahnaz Hunzai, the Project Head at Zindagi Trust SMB Fatima Jinnah Govt. Girls School applauded the collaborated efforts of National Volunteer Programme and Dr. Farhan Abdul Rauf by saying:
"Glad that we have volunteers like Dr. Farhan and organizations like NVP who step forward in conducting workshops on much-needed topics that our teachers were previously unaware of."
We are grateful to Miss. Shahnaz Hunzai from Zindagi Trust for providing us with the premises and other assistance for us to successfully host the Mental Health Workshop. We wish to host many such events with many other beneficiary institutions in the near future.
"I would definitely like if NVP arranges such informative workshops in the future too with the topic being according to teachers and students mental interaction." - Miss Samia Shahid, Urdu Teacher at Behbud Secondary School, Kalapul.
"I liked this informative session. It helped us learn how to fight stress and to feel better." - Miss Darakshan Anjum, Higher Secondary Teacher at Zindagi Trust SMB Fatima Jinnah Govt. School
"Such informative workshops help teachers to understand the various methods of teaching." - Miss Irrum Shakeel, Computer Teacher at Behbud Secondary School, Kalapul.
"We want NVP to arrange many more informative workshops on health and student related topics such as child personality development, cheating culture, parenting styles and teacher behaviour." - Sana Farooqui, RLCC Coordinator of Outreach Program
To celebrate World Health Day - 7th April 2017, NVP in collaboration with it's BI Partner Zindagi Trust is organizing an event for the awareness and management of Depression. The event will consist of a series of lectures by Dr. Farhan Rauf, a Public Health Physician/Researcher.
It's a closed event and the number of seats available are limited. If you are interested in attending, please email us firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Ra'ana Liaquat Craftmen's Colony (RLCC) Youth Career Fair
“Volunteers with respective industry experience proved to be of immense help for our students. We wish to affirm this relationship by inviting volunteers again in our next academic year -Hamida Rahman Khokar (Project Administrator)
Ra’ana Liaquat Craftsmen’s Colony (RLCC), a partner Beneficiary Institution of National Volunteer Programme held a Career Fair on the 26th of February 2017. This programme aimed to empower the youth by creating awareness and provide career opportunities, scholarships and skills training programmes. The event was held to allow all grades from class VII to Intermediate level and surrounding areas interested community members and parents, to gain career related guidance and scholarship opportunities by visiting the exhibits of invited partner institutions. The institutions that took part in the event besides NVP were: Hashoo Foundation, DIMC, Hunar Foundation, Hands Org., Institute of Clinical Psychology, Aga Khan University, Allama Iqbal Open University, Aman Foundation, Dr. Essa Laboratory.
The National Volunteer Programme inducted volunteers as Career Counselors for the event. NVP volunteers, Majid Akhtar, Fida Muhammad, Kashif Qasim, Muhammad Arslan and Jawad Khan Unar, with majors in the field of Banking, IT, Media services and the Armed forces, shared their experience with secondary students of RLCC and guided them along their career path. Not only did the volunteers guide the students but they also spent time counseling the parents where they engaged them in one-to-one conversations.
Overall it was a splendid event and NVP looks forward to participating in many such events in the future!
I worked at DoctHERs as a finance officer; my role was to basically take care of the audit work, since a lot of the funding is from USaid and other agencies, so they need an audited record of where the funding is being utilized. My experience with them was in two parts, the first one was relevant to my qualification and some professional development. The other part was being part of a team which is making a significant progress in providing quality, accessible healthcare to the marginalized communities. Since not everyone can afford quality healthcare, I think this is a very noble cause. It allows us volunteers to pay back and help our community.
I feel blessed that I was given the opportunity to learn and grow with the hardworking staff of DoctHers, I learned a great deal about the finance function under the supervision of the finance manager, Mr.Sarfaraz, who was very cooperative and supportive throughout my term. Not only did I grow as a professional, I got the opportunity to observe and become familiar with the culture of a start-up which is well on its way to success. I would like to specially thank Makkiya Jawed and Mr. Sarfaraz for their support throughout my internship. It was a joy working and spending time with Dr.Sara, Dr.Iffat, Mehak, Zohaib, Adil, Asif and Khalid bhai. I will InshaAllah stay in touch.
Farhan Awan - Volunteer Finance Officer at DoctHERs
Greetings everyone, My name is Maham Saeed and I am a basic agent for a positive change in Pakistan, which I aim to accomplish through volunteering, supported by NVP-National Volunteer Programme. Volunteering gives me immense satisfaction to serve people, at the same time i am happy to get away from my routine job and indulge in something that helps me relax.
While it’s true that the more you volunteer, the more benefits you’ll experience, volunteering doesn’t have to involve a long-term commitment or take a huge amount of time out of your busy day but this is the time to play a vital role in bringing positive change in Pakistan.
Zindagi Trust was the second NGO where NVP had sent me as an English teacher and the time i spent there was priceless, it gave me the feeling that I was an unsung hero to somebody somewhere and made me feel as if i was making a difference and I personally liked being a positive force in these children's lives who oftentimes had no other positive role models. It was an unmatched feeling of utmost satisfaction and accomplishment. We all should join hands to empower and educate Pakistan and be the change we want to see in others! Thank you NVP for this amazing opportunity.
To begin with, I find myself to be extremely lucky that I got a chance to volunteer at the two most renowned beneficiary institutions. I volunteered at the SMB Fatima Jinnah Govt Girls School as a part of the Zindagi Trust foundation. I have always been really concerned about the educational sector of our country which is lagging behind in many aspects. I feel that education is the most important driving factor in order for a society to progress. I volunteered as a biology instructor for grade 9. I had an amazing time and I really enjoyed teaching them. The girls were extremely responsive and seemed keen to learn and to gain knowledge. I felt really happy to see that these young tulips are determined to move forward and achieve their goals despite of the obstacles they face on their way considering the fact they belong to poor socioeconomic backgrounds.
I tried my best to utilize all my skills and deliver them as much of my knowledge as possible within a short period of time. The girls were all ambitious and cooperative. I feel that these youth are the future of our country and if given the necessary resources and time, they can bring a positive change and eliminate many problem faced by our society. I feel that 'if you give fish to a person, you feed him for once, but if you teach him how to fish, you feed him for lifetime.'
So, teaching and spreading knowledge can eliminate many problems including poverty and hunger.
Secondly, I volunteered at the Docthers which is a Renowned beneficiary institution related to the health sector. I worked as a research assistant and became aware of the health conditions in the rural areas. It was a unique experience for me. Docthers is doing a great job by connecting female doctors to the patients in the rural areas. People in the rural areas do not have access to quality healthcare. Using the telemedicine technology, Docthers serves to eradicate this problem. I feel proud that I got a chance to help them in some way. I visited their eye camp in model colony malir, and helped them in giving free eye checkups to the poor people residing there.
I couldn't have found a better way to spend my winter vacations.
Lastly, I would like to thank NVP for giving me this chance, as without their support I wouldn't be able to connect with these two institutions. I would like to thank NVP for recoginizng my skills and connecting me to the institutions that suits me best.
National Volunteer Programme has accomplished much in a short span of time but still has a long way to go. We would like to thank all our beneficiary institutions and volunteers who have contributed towards our mission!
Zindagi Trust is an NGO, primarily concerned with education. It is about school reform program. Currently we have adopted two schools, Khatoon-e- Pakistan and SMB Fatima Jinnah. In both the schools, to start with reform, first of all they consolidated the school. This is because within one premises, they were 8 different schools running and within those 8 different schools they had 8 different sets of problems. As soon as you enter SMB Fatima Jinnah, you will be pleasantly surprised to see a nice environment which was not previously so. If we sure you the before and after pictures, you can see the tremendous change in the environment of the school as well as academic achievements. We try our best to empower the children who come from very poor socio-economic backgrounds and from very low income families. This school provides a good environment for children facing multiple problems such as coming from broken homes or poor families. First of all we changed the textbooks; we brought Oxford books instead of government books especially in the core subjects like English, Maths etc. In this school we have 110 teachers from the government sector but we have almost 35 private teachers which includes subject coordinator, subject specialists etc. Zindagi Trust spends 15 Lac Rupees per month on this school to take care of its entire infrastructure. We have 25 janitorial staff and this is still not enough.
We have come a long way; the physical environment of this school was in a horrible condition before. The classrooms were completely dark and dirty, desks were broken and washrooms did not have doors. We have a before and after video which we show to everyone, including the parents so that they know how this school has progressed. We have hired private teachers for the KG section because we needed teachers who were experienced and who focused on early childhood learning.
At Zindagi Trust we have co-curricular activities such as with ‘AHUNG’ the organization that focuses on sexual and reproductive health education. It was very difficult to accept them in some of the schools but surprisingly in our school, the program penetrated so well. Now after the programme even our 3rd grade children know what ‘good touch ‘and what ‘bad touch’ is. So now even the small children are prepared to take care of themselves which is a very good thing.
At our school, we even have mind sports. Our children even know how to play chess; In 2014, the National Champion of Pakistan at school level, was a SMB Fatima Jinnah student. If the Sindh Chess Association arranges a program, then the first 3 positions will be from SMB Fatima Jinnah. So I think Zindagi Trust has empowered the girls, they are getting very confident and vocal. Sometimes even the teachers complain that you have empowered the girls so much that they sometimes don’t listen to the teachers. However, there should always be a balance; we don’t want our students to behave badly nor do we want them to be always pressurized by the teachers.
So in this way, Zindagi Trust is doing well; you can also come teach any of the subjects such as English, maths physics etc. Our children are very responsive, you would like them; they are active, they are dynamic kids and they want to learn. With volunteers they learn much better and we don’t receive any complaints from the children which we receive about their class teachers. Most of the class teachers are government teachers and they usually have their limitations. They aren’t able to teach the way youngsters like you can teach. There is a big difference from what was taught years ago and what is being taught today, so we find that youngsters are very versatile in their style and thinking which is good for the students. It’s very hard to convince government teachers to change their teaching styles and to ask the children more open-ended questions and more thought-provoking questions where they can express themselves freely.
Zindagi Trust has tried its best to train government teachers as well, however, it’s always great to have youngsters like you to come in and teach or train. I would like to quote an Ayaat from the Quran ‘Jis ney kisi eik shuks ko zindagi di, us ney puray kainaat ko zindagi di’.
Once the volunteers came in to teach, the children have started to love the subjects that they have previously hated. If the children are taught with enthusiasm and relate the subject to their everyday lives, they can make the children enjoy the subject more. I keep telling teachers to relate the learning to the child’s life. The volunteers may have been relating the subject to their lives which is why the children were more engrossed and engaged in the learning.
Apart from the academic curriculum we have a good sports ground where volunteers can come in and teach the children any kind of sports. We have a 10,000 books library, and a teacher’s resource centre with 35,000 books. However, the coordinators and teachers don’t know how to effectively utilize it and give maximum benefit to the children.
Hopefully you will find our staff very friendly and accommodating. You don’t have to commit a full week even; you can come in according to your own convenience such as 3 hours per week and we will accommodate you. You will have a great time teaching children with such different mind-sets.
We had the pleasure of assisting Zindagi Trust in conducting their Winter Education Camp, a five day programme held in last week of December 2016, to provide coaching sessions for students of grade 9 and 10 in special areas such as Biology, Mathematics and Physics.
National Volunteer Programme was in charge of recruiting volunteers based on a specified criterion and directing them to Ms. Shahnaz Hunzai and Ms. Anam Palla at Zindagi Trust who were supervising the entire program. We would like to thank our dedicated volunteers - Dr.Farhan Rauf, Farah Yasmin, Maham Saeed, Shoukat Iqbal, Zehra Nayani and Arvind Kumar, who were inducted on a very short notice, yet delivered their skills and time brilliantly to the children at Zindagi Trust.
We are extremely proud of all of them for conducting teaching sessions so enthusiastically and for making a very big impact on the children at Zindagi Trust. Ms. Shahnaz and Ms. Anam Palla were quite cooperative and accommodating; through swift communication with them, the Winter Education Camp was a complete success. We look forward to assisting many such programs with Zindagi Trust in the future as well.
2016 was a big year for NVP. 30 partners registered with us during the year. 2017 will be bigger and better as we have now started to recruit volunteers for many special events. As our network is continuously growing, we now have a volunteer opportunity in all areas of Karachi. As a volunteer don’t miss out on the opportunity to volunteer in your communities.
At NVP we believe everyone can volunteer. When we began the NVP, we began with the thought that each person has his or her own unique skill – thus strength to offer to volunteer, and the gap only exists in the lack information about the opportunities available. The NVP platform presents a way in managing these minor issues. Our platform provides the opportunities available and our social media platforms highlight the events which need volunteers.
Finding the right organization to volunteer with can be a time consuming and frustrating experience. To volunteer, you need to find out the organizations which you are interested in, learn when specific events are happening and where to report to help out. These challenges can be daunting for the would-be volunteer and many individuals are put off by these minor hurdles.
In the short time we have been running the NVP, many of our volunteers have taken advantage of the relevant opportunities which have sparked their interest. The satisfaction they have received from volunteering has led to volunteers returning and volunteering again after the completion of their period. Zohra Shah, Kashif Kazim, Majid Akhtar, Ali Akhtar and Kelton High were our first few volunteers. They returned to volunteer again in different institutions. To date, more than ¾ of our volunteers have returned to volunteer again – building a NVP family of dedicated volunteers.
Every month the opportunities available in the beneficiary institutions are uploaded on the Programmes portal of the platform. It saves the volunteer searching the individual websites of many beneficiary institutions for volunteer positions. It also solves the problem for many of our beneficiary institutions. Most of our NGO partners are already short staffed and focused on their work – thus they don’t have the time or resources to reach out to get volunteers involved. As a result, they often miss out on the support of willing and able individuals in their own communities.
When we started working with our beneficiary partners, they were a little dubious on the service we were providing. When we insisted on job descriptions, it seemed an added workload for them. When the volunteers turned up to work in theirs specific roles and completed the specific tasks – there was an appreciation of the streamlined opportunities it provided for meeting the multiple administrative needs for the institutions. This means, if they needed assistance in the financial department, a volunteer was able to help. If help was needed in social media – a volunteer was able to provide expertise. If a graphic designer was needed to design a newsletter – NVP matched a volunteer.
The new year is an excellent time to make an intention to make a difference. Registering online as a volunteer is the starting point. It makes you a part of the growing database of volunteers who volunteer when they have the time. It also means that you no longer have to go out and search for an opportunity. The opportunity comes to you!
Zindagi Trust SMB Fatima Jinnah Government Girls School, one of our registered Beneficiary Institutions, is organizing a five day Winter Education Camp this December. For this purpose, they require teaching volunteers to help coach 1st, 2nd, 8th, 9th and 10th graders in a wide variety of subjects.
The camp will be held from 22nd to 30th December 2016.
If you are interested, please click on the link below to apply now.
The UN General Assembly has designated December 5th as the International Volunteer Day. It offers an opportunity for volunteer organizations and individual volunteers to make their contributions visible. In a message on a previous International Volunteer Day, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon commented on the values of volunteerism “Founded on the values of solidarity and mutual trust, volunteerism transcends all cultural, linguistic and and geographic boundaries” – this is especially the case when volunteering to help the disadvantaged.
NVP organized a Volunteer Workshop to commemorate the day at the Society for the Rehabilitation of Special Children (SRSC) in Karachi. The aim of the workshop was give volunteers who have an interest in volunteering with special children and community health, an opportunity to meet with the working institutions in Karachi. Representatives from Special Olympics Pakistan (SOP), Karachi Vocational Training Centre(KVTC) and DoctHers all gave a session about their institutions and the volunteer opportunities which exist in the institution.
The volunteers first visited the SRSC facilities – and met the students, teachers. Following a visit around SRSCs facilities, Daniyal Alvi, from SOP began the session, introduced the platform as a facility for teaching the mentally disabled sports. He highlighted how volunteers help increase the confidence of the special children as they provide an interaction mode with society. He added the value for volunteers as well – as special friendships have been built on the SOP platform as they play as a team alongside the special sportsmen.
The next guest, Amir Shahab – head coach at the KVTC, spoke of how mentoring by volunteers can help the physically and mentally disadvantaged ease into becoming a part of the workforce. He spoke of the value add of volunteering by telling his own story – he began by volunteering at KVTC more than 25 years ago. He said the good feeling and satisfaction he received with working with the students in the institution made him leave his job at a well known multinational corporate organization and joining as a full time employee.
The third speaker in the session was Dr Sara Saeed from DoctHers. DocHers is a newly established start up working to provide medical services in locations where there is no clinic or facility. Dr Sara spoke of the requirements for administrative support. The community outreach is largely dependent on a community ambassador who helps in conducting a community survey. NVP linked Sobia Noreen Khan as a volunteer community ambassador. In addition to that, when there was a need in the Finance department, NVP linked Farhan Awan, an ACCA qualified accountant, with DoctHers. Dr Sara felt Farhan had made a valuable contribution by helping updating the necessary finance systems for DoctHers.
Finally, as a token of appreciation to SRSC, NVP surprised the students with a magic show. This proved to be enjoyable to all, the students, the volunteers and trainers as well as the NVP team. I am personally looking forward to the next workshop!
Nazish Shekha, Senior Associate, National Volunteer Programme.
It is with great pleasure that we present to you all the 3rd Issue of NVP Newsletter! We have quite a lot to share, so sit back, relax with a hot mug of tea, follow the link given below and enjoy the read.
[caption id="attachment_1441" align="aligncenter" width="355"] Photo courtesy of Dawn.com. http://www.dawn.com/news/1269711/edhi-the-exception-to-pakistans-faults[/caption]
Greetings from the National Volunteer Programme!
As National Volunteer Programme highlights the heroes of Pakistan, the first person who comes to mind is Abdul Sattar Edhi and his work through the Edhi Foundation!
Abdul Sattar Edhi was the most endearing person in Pakistan, and the third Pakistani to receive military honor at his burial ceremony after Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah and General Zia-ul-Haq. Call him an Angel, Mother Teresa of Pakistan, Father Teresa, Angel of Mercy or ‘The Richest Poor Man’, call him by any name but the fact is that, he was just an ordinary human being without any mystical or divine powers. Edhi has always believed in simplicity, truth, piety and humanity. His life holds so many lessons for us.
Now it’s time for us to continue and contribute to his Mission. Start with simpler tasks. Take care of orphans, widows and needy by any means. Donate them money, devote your time in educating or helping them, join any NGO as a volunteer or try providing them basic necessities. Start caring for humans beyond ethnicity, caste or religion. Look after animals around you. Our individual and collective efforts can create a big difference in the society.
Edhi once said, “Insaniyat say bara koi mazhab nahi.” (There is no religion greater than humanity.)
Let’s vow to continue Edhi Sahab’s mission by employing compassion in all our actions.
Written by Karim Moiz Sharif
Karim Moiz Sharif is a summer intern at the National Volunteer Programme. He is currently studying Bachelors of Business Administration (BBA) from Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto University of Science and Technology, Karachi (SZABIST’K). Karim hopes to major in Marketing. He likes to read articles related to socio-economic situation of Pakistan. He also loves writing and keeping an eye on politics and social issues.
General Editor: Ayesha Channa, Project Associate, NVP
Independence Day is about paying tribute to those who have helped us gain independence and those personalities which continue to dream about having a prosperous Pakistan. The National Volunteer Programme celebrates its first Independence Day as Pakistan turns 69 years old.
When this nation began, our forefather recognized the importance of being a community, Quaid e Azam’s in an address to the country on Eid ul Azha in 1948 speaks of mobilizing resources “”in a systemic and organized way”- this refers to working to benefit our communities and country.
This year we plan to recognize the true heroes of Pakistan. These are people who not only deserve recognition and respect for their contribution in the development of Pakistan but also serve as an inspiration to all of us. The concept of giving back to the community transcends all religions. Compassion in action – can be described in Allama Iqbal’s poetry, where his most famous words reflect the essence of volunteerism “Hain Log Wohi Jahan Mein Ache, Aate Hain Jo Kaam Dusron Ke”(translated to be It is only the people who help others in this world - who are good).
Thus we have started our tribute with Allama Iqbal. We will go on to recognize our unsung heroes as well as remembering the heroes we all have come to know during their work. We also have a surprise for you on the 14th of August on our Facebook page!
First of all, we’d like to extend a warm welcome and ‘thank you’ to you all for volunteering with us. We are super excited to have you all on board with us! It is with great pleasure that we present to you the first two issues of NVP Newsletter! The aim of these monthly newsletters is to bring to you all the latest news, events and content regarding NVP.
In the meantime, we'd love to hear from you about why you’ve subscribed to our list, how has your experience been with us so far, what aspect of NVP & volunteering you’re interested in learning about and your thoughts regarding our first issue. If you have volunteered before, we would love to know more about your experience. So long as you reply to us, we promise we will too!
If you need anything else, please feel free to get back to us at 'email@example.com'. Looking forward to hearing back from you all.
Since we have quiet a lot to share, please follow the links below, sit back, relax and enjoy the read! Your comments, suggestions and contributions are most welcome.
On Saturday, 23rd July 2016, we conducted a joint gathering of our first ever Volunteer Appreciation Session and the 5th NVP Volunteer Orientations. The main purpose of all our Orientations has been to introduce our new volunteers to the basic Code of Conduct required and expected of them as well as to discuss their potential placement within our respective registered Beneficiary Institutions (BI’s). However, this time we also wanted them to get the chance to meet and greet our previously successfully placed volunteers.
The volunteers invited to the Appreciation Session were those who had successfully completed the first term - which is around 8 weeks - of their volunteering services. The basic layout of the session was as follows: we began with a short, engaging presentation which explained in detail the Volunteer Code of Conduct as well as their rights and obligations within the Beneficiary Institutions. This was followed by a small activity where we invite our new volunteers to share their respective views and ideas regarding volunteering, its necessities and the acquired benefits.
A one-on-one discussion comes after this, where we discuss and decide their individual placement within our registered BI’s. This was followed by a small tea break in which both the exisiting and new volunteers shared there experiences and expectations. It was an absolute joy to witness the passion and enthusiasm of our new volunteers and to listen to the motivating stories and experiences of our graduated volunteers! The certificate distribution ceremony came right after the tea break, which was followed by a photography session.
This was an amazing experience for our entire team and it us first-hand knowledge about the commitment of our volunteers. We sincerely thank you all for you continuous support and passion. A special shout out to our first batch of graduated volunteers, all of whom have agreed to continue their volunteer services for another 8 week term. NVP salutes you for your passion and commitment! We would not be possible without your continuous interest and support! Keep up the good work guys!
We will be posting the details of our upcoming programmes so stay tuned to our Portal, Facebook and LinkedIn page for further updates! In the meantime, keep spreading the word and keep volunteering!
Companies today are moving back from philanthropic (cash only) contributions to active community involvement. This includes in addressing practicing community amelioration by engaging employee involvement. Civil society is increasingly holding the corporate sector responsible for environmental issues and local community issues. This movement has been promoted by growing accountability demanded by the general public.
As a subject it has taken front stage in the corporate world globally. However correct understanding of CSR is still quite limited in Pakistan, with a general belief that corporate philanthropy (altruistic donation of funds to causes / charities without expectation of any return) is the ‘same thing’ as CSR. Whilst CSR has evolved from corporate philanthropy, it needs to be considered as a process within the company which goes well beyond mere cheque-writing.
In Pakistan, companies which have made the effort to understand CSR have quickly realized that there is in fact a business case for CSR. These companies have improved their image and reputation within the local communities, have more productive supply chains, have become better selling brands and have become workplaces of employee choice. In other words, CSR is good for business. By developing a holistic CSR strategy covering all business operations, and by putting this strategy into practice, companies stand to reap a number of benefits. Broadly speaking, these include:
Reduction of environmental footprint
Higher efficiencies and hence higher productivity
Higher profit margins
Reputation and image enhancement
More motivated workforce
Corporate volunteering can be linked to reputation enhancement and a more motivated workforce. It has been explored as both an aspect of CSR and employee development. Globally, survey reports identify a number of reasons for CSR. Effective CSR creates a viral marketing or word-of-mouth benefit, which may be difficult to quantify but whose impact is far greater and far more long-lasting.
Volunteerism is not a new phenomenon. Children from as early as the age of sixteen are part of volunteer programmes in Pakistan. Private schools encourage students to opt for programmes towards community building and helping to promote progress and equality.
Volunteerism helps to bring in new ideas and energy to work. New innovative ideas can be drawn while looking into new projects or at times dealing with monotonous work. There is a great deal of flow of ideas.
Other benefits of introducing volunteerism at a large scale include the strengthening of relationships with the people in the local communities. This also helps to improve social and relationship skills of the volunteer. Moreover, engaging volunteers for a project helps to gain support for the work and to gain first-hand knowledge of what the community needs and lags behind in. Later, the goals can be set in tune with the perspective of the community as a whole rather than just in the aim of the organization.
Volunteerism thus enables everyone to become a part of the community service. It provides them a sense of direction, and keeps them engaged and occupied. It is not only good for individual self-esteem but at the same time it is important for mental health. In developed countries volunteers have become a support force to different public and not for profit organizations. Volunteering Australia reports volunteer activity was worth $25.4 billion to the Australian economy in a study done in 2010 (Volunteering Australia (2015).
Corporate volunteering has been explored as both an aspect of CSR and employee development. Volunteering has become a strategic asset to help achieve business goals. The benefits of corporate volunteering include employee development, as they are required to think and use his/her skillset in an alternative situation. It also helps build greater teamwork and bonding between employees within the company through their close interaction outside the workplace. When employees are validated by the company for their additional skills and strength of character, it can lead to higher productivity, increased employee motivation and loyalty.
Researchers have found that employees who volunteer through their workplace report improved physical and emotional health. The specific benefits include reduced obesity, reduced stress, increased levels of activity, a more positive emotional state and higher levels of overall satisfaction with life.
In June 2011, I had recently finished my A’level exams and my eagerness to begin my journey as an undergraduate student was at its peak. However, the tedious wait of two months before I enrolled as a student was getting to me. I had to make the wait worth awhile so I decided to volunteer in the meantime. I had never volunteered at a nongovernmental organization before and I had no idea about the challenges which were heading my way. I went ahead and spoke to the Care Foundation to let me volunteer at one of their government adopted schools. The school I volunteered at was called the Zamzama Government Primary School. They were very keen on letting me begin this new chapter of my life as a voluntary teacher to children from class 1 to 3 the very next day.
That day I remember waking an hour before my alarm was meant to buzz, feeling nervous to meet the children I was going to teach. Thoughts such as, “Am I going to be able to teach them anything? Will I actually make them learn and discipline themselves? Are they going to respect me as their other full-time employed teachers?” ran through my head. I mustered up all the courage and positivity I had in me and got ready to go to school. Once I got there, I was called into the Principal’s office and he told me that I would be teaching English to classes 1 to 3. He handed me a set of English curriculum books that they were using. He told me that my first class would begin in fifteen minutes and until then I should familiarize myself with what is being taught. I went through the books and the responsible feeling of educating young brains breezed through me and filled me with joy. I sat there going through different English Language exercises and made a mental plan of what exactly I was going to teach.
Soon, I was taken to class 1 and was introduced to them as their new English teacher. The children all stood up to greet me with a synchronized ‘good morning teacher’ while a few just murmured a simple ‘hello.’ Once they were all seated and ready for their first lesson, I picked up a chalk and scribbled ‘English’ in bold letters across the board. I was instantly nostalgic of the time when I role played as a teacher when I was five years old. I began teaching and lost track of time looking at little hands writing in their notebooks and giggling over a silly mistake. Soon, the bell rang and I was done teaching my first class. I went back to sit and wait in the library until I would be called to teach class 2.
That day, I learnt a lot about myself. Not only was I capable of teaching and making the children feel comfortable around me but I realized the power every teacher holds of shaping an individual’s life. The authority of making a mark in someone’s life is one of the best feelings I have ever experienced. Think about it. You are giving a child something that he would store in her or his mind for the rest of her/his life in one way or the other. When he grows up and finally makes use of the knowledge you have provided him with, you realise it’s a priceless experience to become a teacher.
Similarly, volunteering is an experience that enables you to trespass your comfort zone and achieve new heights. The minute you decide to serve a cause or an institution without seeking to gain any monetary or tangible benefits you teach yourself the importance of community ownership. It is our duty to serve other people and make their lives easy if we have been blessed with an easier and less complex life. The more we give, the more we get – I certainly live by this statement. A person must volunteer at least once in his lifetime.
Find the right cause to volunteer for through the National Volunteering Programme.
Volunteering presents opportunities for self satisfaction and learning. Volunteers can gain valuable experience and get involved with thousands of people working for the betterment of Pakistan. TBL is pleased to announce the National Volunteering Programme.
Our Mission is ‘to be a positive change-agent in society, by providing a structured platform for all people wishing to volunteer their time for socio-economic uplift, and placing such volunteers into those beneficiary institutions which can benefit the most from the volunteers’ particular skills and capabilities’. The National Volunteering Programme presents a way of matching compassionate volunteers to make a difference with the needs of a nongovernmental institution or a not for profit – the beneficiary institutions. It also gives the companies to volunteer their employees as a part of corporate social responsibility and sustainability. The beneficiary institutions gain valuable human resources which helps them further their outreach.
The first ever NVP Volunteer Orientation took place on Saturday, 26th March 2016. Baring a few, almost all of the invited registered volunteers were able to attend and it was an absolute delight meeting them all. The main purpose of the Orientation was to introduce our volunteers to the basic Code of Conduct of required of them as well as to discuss their respective placement within our registered Beneficiary Institutions.
The Orientation began with a small but engaging presentation which explained in detail the Volunteer Code of Conduct as well as their rights and obligation within the Beneficiary Institutions. A small activity was also conducted in the midst where all the participants got the chance to share their respective views regarding volunteering, its necessities and the acquired benefits. It was a joy to witness the passion and enthusiasm our volunteers feel on helping the institutions that work tirelessly for the improvement of Pakistan.
The volunteers invited were from diverse backgrounds: architects, doctors, teachers, business trainers and consultants, etc. Their effective placements within our registered Beneficiary Institutions – decided via our state of the art match making NVP Portal - was a source of great excitement for us all! This experience gave us first-hand knowledge about the commitment of our volunteers to their respective causes and we sincerely thank them all for their support and passion. NVP would not be possible without their continuous interest.
Meanwhile, as more BI’s continue to register, many more volunteers will be required in the near future. The details of our upcoming programmes will be posted soon so stay tuned to our Portal for further updates! In the meantime, keep spreading the word and keep volunteering!
The time given for volunteering has many benefits, from personal satisfaction to learning new skills and gaining experience. For the volunteer, volunteering can help in personal development. For society, volunteering can help in expanding outreach and boost the community spirit through involvement.
One way of volunteering is using our skill sets. If we feel we have an interest or are particularly proficient in something, we can choose to volunteer in those skills. A number of local small social organizations have been developed by housewives using their interests and skill sets in traditional textile embroidery to teach and involve less fortunate women in projects which create outfits to be sold and gain household income. Other popular activities include teaching the underprivileged and conducting medical camps for the poor by doctors.
All of the activities mentioned above use that ‘particular skill set’ which is important to the activity’s focus, but to run any activity or enable it to grow its outreach, such institutions need further help. Often students are asked to intern to provide help. The help required is unplanned, often frustrating the student who normally just spends his time twiddling his thumbs or partaking in a mundane activity.
Such volunteering is not fruitful for anyone – the institutions will gain little out of the time – whilst there will be no learning experience for the student or volunteer. Volunteering, if properly managed can be a valuable learning experience adding to the skillsets and confidence of the person.
Establishing volunteer management plans can derive the greatest benefit out of volunteers for nongovernmental organizations and charities. The plans define the activities volunteers can be used for. This can be used to meet expanding needs in institutions with limited resources. If the institution is able to define what it needs and the volunteer can be recruited to meet its requirements – then there can be a ‘match’ so to speak. If volunteers can choose particular activities that appeal to them which make use of what they know, then they can be content in making a more meaningful contribution.
Globally, this type of volunteering has become very widespread. With the advent of the internet and social media, volunteering has become very easy. Many portals are available online which make it possible for volunteering in many ways. Most portals allow you to develop a profile and identify your interests, skill sets and also show profiles and requirements not for profits which require volunteers – making it easy to choose.
The National Volunteer Programme offers this facility. Volunteer recruitment is managed through filling in a form online. The advantage of the programme is that it has defined areas where volunteers can assist in terms of interests and skill sets. Beneficiary institutions let us know of the needs through the ‘job description template’ about the requirements they have and we match both volunteers and institutions where both can benefit most.
It is also easier to become involved with these institutions as well if they have defined modes of volunteering. In this day and age with work, family commitments, internet, socializing and other activities – all our time is literally timetabled. If we slot in volunteering in our time, we would look forward to being productive in that time period. The National Volunteer Programme offers the opportunity to be compassionate and hone in personal development.
Welcome to the inaugural blog issue of The National Volunteer Programme (NVP). The NVP is striving for two key goals – realization of the potential of volunteering in Pakistan and the provision of the much required human resource relief to institutions working hard to improve the lives of the people of Pakistan.
The NVP provides volunteers with an opportunity to choose how to volunteer their time. Many volunteers have specific skill sets which they can use in their volunteering. The NVP portal makes use of a volunteer’s specific skill set to provide a match in institutions which have specific human resource requirements.
One such institution is the Trust for Development Studies and Practices based in Karachi. The institution has established the Institute of Development Studies and Practices (IDSP) in 1998 in Quetta. Dr Qurat Ul Ain Bakhteari is the founding Director for the Institution. IDSP has based the institution on training the youth of Pakistan. “Although the IDSP has initially been established in Balochistan, the plan is to develop such institutions all over Pakistan” says Dr Qurat Ul Ain.
“If the facility is not available in Balochistan, we convince the beneficiaries to come to Karachi for training, where lodging is provided by the TDSP” says Dr Qurat Ul Ain. Leadership training is also given to the women which specifically focuses on the hurdles the beneficiaries face in their family and communities in order to work. The IDSP has been particularly successful in imparting practical Midwifery training to women. Most students trained have had the theoretical training but have had no experience in midwifery and so cannot set up a clinic or practice. IDSP has provided the solution in arranging practical training for the midwives in Karachi. The women have then gone back to their villages to provide services in their communities
“Whilst our programmes are growing, we need support at the institutional level for long term sustainability.” says Dr Qurat Ul Ain. With limited resources - often this is not possible. The NVP hopes to provide support by matching volunteers with the skills to meet the requirements of such institutions.
Dr Qurat Ul Ain applauds the concept of the NVP. “The idea of creating a platform to start work on volunteer services will be appreciated as it will provide the necessary support to institutions such as ours according to our specific needs” she says. “We need support in administrative activities such as database upgrading to proposal development”.
The NVP will also provide clarity to volunteers. The volunteers can go to the institution knowing the clear requirements. This adds value to their time and increases the sense of satisfaction as they contribute to the organization in a meaningful manner.
The NVP takes into consideration the needs of the volunteer in today’s day and age. The portal provides a format for online volunteering which reduces the time required for finding an institution that is according to the interest of the volunteer. Dr Qurat Ul Ain commented on how the world has changed in many ways. “The need of the day is to embrace the new age - The NVP is innovative in bringing the modern concept of volunteering to Pakistan”.
National Volunteer Programme was launched at the Karachi Literature Festival 2016. Our stall was continuously busy with visitors. All in all more than 400 people visited our stall and approximately 250 signed up to volunteer at a beneficiary institution in Karachi.
The volunteers who registered are from varying backgrounds: sports trainers; Principals of prestigious schools; doctors; environmental consultants, lawyers etc. We are excited at the prospect of seeing volunteers placed at many of the small institutions which always need a helping hand.
In the course of the establishment of the National Volunteer Programme, we have been in touch with both small and large beneficiary institutions which have professed a need of having volunteers work for them. The needs range from maintaining the website, developing proposals, mentoring children and adults etc. Each institution has needs specific to the size of organization they are as well as the beneficiary focus of their institution.
A volunteer with the specific skill set can meet the needs if they are given a clear job description to work from. The concept of National Volunteer Programme is to create a match which not only satisfies the volunteer but it also satisfies the beneficiary institution. This is done through a structured process which enables us to monitor the volunteer at the institution as well as value his/her service. The volunteer will be awarded with a certificate for volunteering a period of a minimum of 24 hours (which is approximately 3 hours a week). If the volunteer continues to volunteer with our programme, his/her hours are accumulated and exciting giveaways are available at 50, 100 and 200 hours.
These tokens of appreciations compare little though to the overall sense of personal satisfaction a volunteer feels on helping institutions in the upkeep of Pakistan. In addition to feeling satisfied, the volunteering helps a person improve his skills – communication, leadership, as well as technical. This adds to the overwhelming learning experience.
The National Volunteer Programme offers a state of the art matching methodology which makes it easier for the volunteer to work in a cause which he/she feels closer to. This could be an NGO working in relation to human rights, environmental protection, senior citizens and so on. It helps us value the good work done by these institutions and learn a little more about our country. We have all become a little insular in our daily lives. Meeting people working for Pakistan and their beneficiaries has made me humble and proud of the selfless work done against all odds. Now you can contribute in your own way by volunteering your skills as a way of showing compassion for those in need.
The Nongovernmental organization, Zindagi Trust, conducted an English diagnostic test with the help of volunteers. The activity was a part of a series of ongoing tests for the students of Primary classes, to analyze their ability of language listening, identifying and understanding. The event took place on Sat. 16th Jan, 2016 at the Fatima Jinnah Khatoon-e-Pakistan Govt. Girls school. (more…)