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Volunteer work is important to vital societies due to its role in activating the contribution of community members. From a general perspective, volunteer work is defined as providing a service by an individual, group, or institution without expecting financial gains. In this article, we will explore the impact of volunteer work on the individual and society, its various fields, and how to benefit from it. I will explain the Kingdom's efforts in supporting volunteer work. This article aims to provide a realistic picture of volunteer work and raise awareness around it.

Impact of volunteer work on society     

Volunteer work helps the needy and the society, and makes the world a better place. Therefore, it is a win-win for everyone, from donors to beneficiaries. The following are the most prominent benefits of volunteer work:

  • Cohesion of members of society: volunteer work connects society members, and makes society more cohesive, helping individuals integrate into society and make a real difference in the lives of others.
  •    Fostering a love for doing good deeds: volunteer work helps to promote human concepts, which develops the love of doing good deed among members of society, and promotes their sense of social responsibility.  
  •  Raising the educational performance of youth: volunteer work provides an opportunity for youth to learn, develop and refine their skills to become influential members of society.
Impact of volunteering on volunteers

While volunteer work is focused on helping others, volunteers may even gain more benefits. Volunteer work has many positive effects on volunteers. Dedicating a part of your time to volunteer work can provide a lot of benefit that you may not find elsewhere, such as:

  •  Communicating with others: Volunteer work helps you fight loneliness, make new friends, expand your social network, and enhance your social skills.
  •  Improving your mental and physical health: Reducing the risks of depression is one of the benefits of volunteer work. Social isolation is one of the main factors for depression. Volunteer work keeps you connected with others. This protects you from stress and depression. Volunteer work also helps you stay healthy, especially when it comes to the elderly.  A study published in SAGE Journals found that frequent volunteers had significantly reduced mortality rates compared to non-volunteers.
  •  Enhancing your career: If you are a student or a fresh graduate, volunteering can help you gain experience, as it gives you the opportunity to practice your skills in the workplace, such as teamwork, planning, problem solving, and organization.
  •  Exploring new interests: Volunteering can be an escape from your daily routine of work or study, enabling you to explore new interests and hobbies.

Volunteering fields

Now that you have learned about the impact of volunteering on society, and volunteers themselves, you will learn about volunteering fields to help you identify your own focus areas:

  •  Helping people in need: Volunteers help people suffering from financial hardship. For instance, the volunteer team may distribute food and clothing to those in need, or renovate their homes.

  • Health: Health is one of the most popular fields of volunteering. It includes a wide range of activities. Those who have a medical background, whether they are students or employees, can work in hospitals and help patients. For those who do not have a medical background, there are many possible tasks, such as working in reception and accompanying elderly patients. Health volunteering also involves educating others about diseases and ways to prevent them.

  • Education: Volunteering in education depends on providing lessons in areas the volunteer is good at. Giving language lessons is the most popular domain for volunteering in education.

  •  Environment: In an era of rapid industrialization and population density, conservation of the environment has become very important. There are many environmental initiatives that seek to preserve the environment and fight pollution, for example: many volunteers help clean up the beaches of Farasan Island.

  •  Animal care: Volunteering is one of the areas of interest for animal lovers. It satisfies their desire to help and protect animals, and provide them with a better life. This can include, for example, caring for, treating and feeding infected animals. Some are taking initiatives to preserve endangered species.

How to benefit from volunteering

You are donating your valuable time, so it's important to enjoy your volunteering, and be helpful and helped at the same time. To make sure you find the right volunteer work for you, here are some tips:

  • Choose carefully: Some volunteer programs can cause more harm than good. With the increase in the number of volunteers, some for-profit organizations use volunteering to attract volunteers and take advantage of their enthusiasm by giving them paid jobs and exploiting them financially. So look for volunteer opportunities with reliable and reputable organizations.

  • Ask questions: Make sure that volunteer work is suitable for your time, skills, and goals. Therefore, you should ask a number of questions to the volunteer coordinator, such as the number of hours spent volunteering, the people you will work with, and if there is a rehabilitation training program that you need to take. Make sure to get sufficient answers to make sure that this experience is suitable for you.  

  • Enjoy: You should feel comfortable with the volunteer team, so don't commit yourself to one task. Rather, be flexible and ask for a change in position, or ask to work with a different volunteer team. It is important that you enjoy your work.

The Kingdom's efforts to support volunteering

In a society characterized by social solidarity and making helping others a lifestyle; the number of volunteers has increased, and many volunteer teams and institutions have emerged in recent years, which means that youth are more willing to participate in volunteer work.

According to the Saudi News Agency (SPA), the results of the youth survey on volunteering showed “a high interest and desire among young people for volunteer work, with a rate of 84%”. We see that as a result of the efforts exerted by the National Transformation Program to encourage volunteer work and support the non-profit sector. Part of the Kingdom's Vision 2030 aims to reach one million volunteers by 2030.  

To achieve this, the National Volunteer Portal was launched as a Saudi incubator for volunteer work that provides a safe environment that serves and regulates the relationship between providers of volunteer opportunities and volunteers in the Kingdom

Now that you are aware of the impact of volunteering and its role in improving society, how to make the best use of it, and that it is one of the main pillars of the Kingdom's Vision 2030; you are ready to start volunteering. As soon as you begin, you will understand its value, and it can become a vital part of your life.

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