Volunteering is nothing new for some Wittenborg students
Amidst the warm summer afternoon, four young adults, three of whom are from Wittenborg, prepared for a workout session with refugees at the spacious backyard of the former UMW building on Christiaan Geurtsweg in Apeldoorn.
Joint Voluntary Work between Wittenborg, Network Skill-Ability and COA
The workout session was jointly organised by Wittenborg’s Communications and Events Coordinator Nadia Zaman, and Jasmijn Lagerweij from the Youth Volunteer Network Skill-Ability and COA (Centraal Orgaan opvang Asielzoekers - a central body for the reception of asylum seekers). Network Skill-Ability organisation is a youth volunteer group initiated by Lagerweij and fellow colleague Mirjam Buurkes, to introduce young people between the ages of 15 to 30 to volunteering work in Apeldoorn by using their skills and talents. A master’s student in Amsterdam, Lagerweij hopes to connect Wittenborg students with refugees and others who have settled in Apeldoorn. After helping a Syrian girl to learn Dutch, Lagerweij felt like she could do more. That’s why she started Skill-Ability in September 2019 and she connects with organisations, schools and social businesses in order to incorporate youth volunteering in the daily life of Apeldoorn. “Especially in this time of crisis, people need social interaction or a helping hand more than we think,” quoted Lagerweij.
"Voluntary Work is a Good Opportunity to Make Others Happy" Sepand Zamani
The workout session was led by Sepand Zamani, Wittenborg’s MBA student from Iran. A health buff herself, Sepand was more than happy to share her health tips and exercise moves, because to her, it was a good opportunity to make others happy, even through something simple like a workout. About 10 refugees, teenagers and adults alike, joined the workout session which lasted for about an hour. A group of young boys were eager to start the exercise and even asked for their photos to be taken.
Kindness Begets Kindness
Shiolim DSilva, Wittenborg's MBA student from India, said that he has always associated himself with NGOs and other organisations which organise voluntary events. Volunteering has always been part of him since his school days and has continued till now. His reason for volunteering is to be of help to anyone, whenever, wherever, however he could in any possible way. DSilva said that volunteering is a good way to meet new and different people, to understand them and spread a bit of happiness to them. “I love doing it. It makes me feel good about myself,” said DSilva. He encourages his fellow schoolmates to be part of at least one volunteer group and expose themselves to the reality outside the virtual world. “Give yourself an opportunity to be of help to someone and maybe that help could return to you someday as a surprise,” he added. As the saying goes "Kindness begets kindness", Dsilva's words cannot be truer than that.
"Give your hands to serve and your hearts to love" Mother Teresa
On a serious note, Wittenborg bachelor’s student Supun Rodrigo, who is from Sri Lanka, says that voluntary work has led him to get to know life better. In 2015, he was so inspired by the charisma of Mother Teresa that he visited Calcutta, India and Vietnam for voluntary work, such as looking after the elderly in hospices. Holding on to Mother Teresa’s words “Give your hands to serve and your hearts to love”, Rodrigo encourages others to explore volunteering activities because it will help to bring about a realisation within oneself of the beautiful diversity of people and their lives.
Volunteering Leaves Positive Impact on the World
Volunteering is one of the motivating forces for creating transformation in society and making positive impacts on the world. Student volunteerism is not uncommon in many universities and institutions of higher education. In fact, it is highly encouraged and actively promoted by NGOs and government bodies. The benefits of volunteering are numerous. It opens up your mind by giving you a wider perspective on things, it makes you more aware of the tribulations that plague a certain group of people and at the end of the day, it gives you a sense of satisfaction that you have made somebody’s day better. Volunteering while studying will definitely enhance students' well-being and provide them with beneficial activities beyond their books and classrooms. Volunteering is like socialising but with a more beautiful aim.
Interested? Contact us.
If you are interested in volunteer work, look out for announcements from Nadia Zaman or you can find updates on Instagram: Netwerkskillabilityapeldoorn. You can also contact Lagerweij at 06-83590328. “Contact us. We would love to get to know you and find out what your skills are, as well as showing you how to use these skills to help fellow ‘Apeldoorners’ on a voluntary basis,” said Lagerweij.
by Hanna Abdelwahab
©Wittenborg University Press