The History of volunteerism came as far as the 18th century in America with Benjamin Franklin who founded the first volunteer firehouse. Ever since then, many other renown volunteer organizations were founded, namely Rotary club, The Lion club, The Salvation Army as well as many others. These international NGOs have spread throughout the world as we know today and have impacted countless lives. Volunteeringinamerica.gov has released an infographic regarding the statistic of volunteering in the states. In 2012, 1 in 4 Americans volunteer (26.5%), 64.5 million Americans served 7.9 billion hours and the estimated value of such service is worth up to $175 billion. These are staggering figures and definitely show how America, over the centuries, has made volunteering a prevalent culture in their country.
Malaysia, on the other hand, is still very much in the infant stage when it comes to volunteering. Obviously, we pale in comparison with the United States. However, things are starting to pick up in the recent years. There are now at least a few known volunteer matching platforms which are dogoodvolunteer.com, peoplegiving.org, dosomethinggood.org and some others. Many large companies have enforced CSR programmes and Universities have incorporated community work as part of the syllabus in their courses. Many NGOs in Malaysia have definitely benefitted greatly from the services of volunteers but we are definitely far from reaching to the fullest potential of the synergy between volunteers and NGOs. Thankfully, this slow and steady growing number of volunteers over the years has not stopped. SHELTER is one of the beneficiaries of such growth!
Over the 33 years of our existence, one of SHELTER’s building blocks is definitely the volunteers that came into our organization. They have decided to put away their own time and energy whilst using their skills and experience to leave a legacy in our children’s lives. The most difficult truth about volunteering at SHELTER is that not many volunteers will get to see the fruits of what they have sowed in the children today. Despite facing such possible discouragement, many volunteers have still come and do their part to contribute. It is due to their altruistic spirit that many parts of where SHELTER is where it is today in its establishment however small or big their contribution maybe. We want to extent our deepest heartfelt gratitude to every of these amazing individuals.