The role of volunteering is at the heart of community development – it helps to effect positive social change, while serving as bridge to connect all people in society. Volunteers play an important role in fostering a sense of belonging, creating solidarity and promoting community spirit.
Over the last month, Reach Out To Asia (ROTA), a member of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF), has been hosting its annual Ramadan 2016 Project, ‘10 Years of Service’. The aim of the yearly campaign is to connect volunteers with the wider community and the true spirit of the Holy Month. The initiative, which featured activities such as Iftars and the distribution of groceries, aims to support construction workers, the elderly, and other local groups in Qatar.
Ahmed Allenjawi, took part in this year’s Ramadan project, said:
My day as a volunteer starts around 5 pm and ends around 10 pm. I was greatly moved after taking part in the food distribution activities, the sense of achievement was extraordinary. Around 30 volunteers gathered and packed different food items into boxes. During one of the Ramadan activities, we met around 4 pm and took a bus to Al Shamal, where we were briefed. After that, we prepared tables, prayed, ate, and then played football and volleyball. We hugely appreciate the efforts of the workers; it’s because of them that we are where we are as a country.’
Hamad Saad Abu Jbara, another local volunteer, also took part in this year’s Ramadan Project. Describing his daily routine, he said:
My day during Ramadan started after Asr prayer, when I went to Msheireb Mosque to register the volunteers and assign them their daily tasks. Then I videotaped the prayer and uploaded it to different social media sites.’
ROTA’s Ramadan campaign is part of a multifaceted programme, which strives to promote a spirit of volunteerism and foster responsible global citizens within Qatar. ROTA not only endeavours to help those in need locally, its impact can be felt on the international stage too. The organisation regularly organises trips to poverty-stricken countries, or areas affected by war or natural disasters, and offers support to local communities, placing emphasis on providing quality education.
Ahmed Allenjawi added:
It’s very important to help the community, it reminds us we are human and that we need to help and support one another. I always put myself in someone else’s position. As a Muslim, volunteering in Ramadan is especially important to me. Helping others and helping my community, especially those in need, is very satisfying. You forget all your own problems when you see others struggling to make a living.’
‘It’s very rewarding being a volunteer. I’m constantly learning new skills and life lessons, as well as experiencing new things. It has taught me how important it is to work on myself, and the value of building your character. It has helped me to become the man I am today.’
Volunteering does not only help to strengthen communities, the rewards are many-fold. By making a difference in someone’s life, volunteering promotes personal and professional development, offers the opportunity to learn or develop new skills, helps to connect individuals, and affords the chance to try new and exciting experiences.
Hamad also commented on the significance of volunteer work, saying:
Its importance lies in creating a generation of young men and women who are ready to give back and sacrifice in order to make a difference. We all work hard and with great passion to become a promising generation that our country can be proud of.’
Volunteers give freely of their time and expertise in order to make a difference. Discussing the kind of men and women who make good volunteers, Hamad said:
They are people who take the initiative, who like to meet likeminded individuals, and who are keen on giving others a chance to develop and to improve their living standards.’
Hamad is certain that volunteering provides great payback, added:
It’s a catalyst for personal and career development through becoming acquainted with other people’s experiences. In addition, volunteering provides you with unforgettable memories through helping others, while, at the same time, your act of giving forms fond memories for others, creating the best kind of legacy.’
Ahmed and Hamad are praiseworthy examples of young people devoted to realising the national vision of their country. Through their efforts they are helping to promote social development and cohesion, while playing an important role in the creation of a progressive society.
For more information about ROTA, as well as its different volunteering programmes, visit reachouttoasia.org.