The definition of volunteering can be summed up in one line – using your skills to impact the social sector. How difficult is it? The answer to this question is best explained below.
A small boy notices a consumed plastic bottle floating in the middle of the pond. In flash, his mother’s lessons appear before his eyes – ‘Society survives in cleanliness but declines when careless’. He then decides to put it in where it belongs – dustbin. However, reaching at the bottle without a boat is a challenge. So he begins to build a boat and in doing so, gets noticed by a group of three men and one woman. The group took a detour from their route and approached the boy to inquire. On finding out the boy’s cause, the group offered to help.
The boy asked the first man, “Do you know how to build a boat?”
“No little boy, but I know how to craft the shape of the wood,” replied he. The boy agreed and moved on to the second man.
“Do you know how to build a boat?” the boy asked.
“I do not, but I know how to nail a wood,” replied the second man and joined the first man.
The woman announced, “I know how to make oars and my brother here knows how to sail a boat”. The boy happily accepts the group’s offer and together they finish the boat. The boy, along with the sailor jump into the boat. They reach the point where the bottle surfaced and the boy takes it out. The sailor cheered to success and so did the rest of the group from the land. However, the happiness turned into concern when the boy and the sailor notices a thousand more consumed bottles floating further at a distant which was impossible to notice from the land. Now the boat needs to be bigger, and so does the group.
If seen on an individual level, none of them knew how to build the boat. All they knew was where their skills lie and a clear understanding of how to use it. Using it on the cause collectively helped the child to finish the vessel and clean the pond. However, it only added to the requirement of a larger vessel and a group when a larger mess reveals itself.
The completion of the boat was faster and easy because of the skills of the group who volunteered to support. To make a large boat to carry all waste out, needs an even larger assortment of volunteers. If you are asked how many volunteers were required for building the boat, what number would you give? If you are thinking four, you are close but not correct. The number is five. The child was the first volunteer start for the cause.
The little boy’s willingness and courage to follow a path cleanliness lured skilled and talented labor to volunteer. The path of one is often idolized as long as it paves stones for the right cause. A child’s belief in a lesson given by his mother set the foundation of volunteering for others.
This is something that I learned in my three months at iVolunteer. My first own volunteering with iVolunteer was when a session on E-waste and environmental pollution was held at a school as a volunteering activity. When the assigned volunteer failed to make it for his session, I learned that I have to deliver it myself. Since I had the study material, I was able to prepare myself. However, I was not prepared for the exhaustion which came later. First two consecutive sessions were energetic, but the rest of the six were exactly the opposite. I was exhausted enough to stop in the middle and join the students who kept yelling and disturbing the other students. However, one must understand that it is their will to continue which eventually overcomes students’.
The sessions were over, so was the school. All the students flocked around me like birds do, and began to share their experiences on encountering e-waste and determinants of pollution. I could see past the cloud of exhaustion then, knowing I drained to initiate an idea in the fertile minds of two hundred. This is one of my joyous experiences at iVolunteer which I share with most of my volunteers, friends, and family, hoping to contribute toward building the larger boat.
Picture: Ajay Pawar, Volunteer