Volunteering exposes volunteers to a wide range of experiences, people and situations that not usually encountered in our daily life. Before, I often volunteered in community service for Orang Asli development. But the experience was different when I am engaged with animals. Many things I have learned from the experience in Zoo Negara Volunteer Programme. I learned how to take care of the animals, how to make them happy, and how important the clean surroundings for them. Animals need to be treated gently as they are also have feelings and seemed like they are able to understand whatever happens around them. It was very pleased to see them eating and playing around. Being a zoo volunteer is rewarding in so many aspects. Not only it is educational both from an animal care and natural history perspective, we also could get to appreciate the challenges of operating and managing a wildlife facility. It is also empowering because we know we are able to make a difference in the lives of animals. They are already in captivity, so the very least we can do is help to improve the quality of their lives.
There is not enough workers in Zoo Negara. In one station, there are only approximately five workers whom responsible to take care of several animals from several species, for example in Savannah Walk, they need to take care of zebras, giraffes, ostriches, rhinoceros and many others that are surely not in a small number. The workers might face many difficulties to take care of the animals including taking care of their environment. According to them, volunteers who came for help that usually came during the weekends were very helpful to them since they are not able to handle all the tasks by themselves. I am also very impressed towards the workers that would able to work there since the environment is less comfortable compare to other jobs outside. Their working environment was quite uncomfortable since there is unpleasant smell caused by the animals’ waste and they have to encounter with difficult and heavy tasks every day. It was very pleased to see the workers do the noble and respectable job as a zoo helper. Furthermore, the animals seemed like already recognize them and they have a very close relationship with the workers.
That is why people need to actively involved in the volunteering activities so that we can help to at least assist the zoo workers doing the daily tasks. The awareness of the importance of involving in volunteering should be promoted to all individuals. From what I generally observed, not many young individuals like to engage in voluntary and community service activities. Today, most of the youngsters like to be in the front of the computer playing games, chatting and watching movies since a lot of new gadgets born today and they have less desire to involve in outdoor activities. This issue is very alarming since it can affect the health of the youngsters. According to the Institute for Volunteering Research and Volunteering England, “volunteers often experience an improvement in their physical health as a result of involvement in practical and active tasks. One example is work in the environment. Groundwork is focused on improving local environmental conditions, but research has demonstrated that participation also improves the health of the volunteers taking part” (Paine, Howlett, Machin, McBain, Ockenden, Teasdale, & Zimmerk, 2007). Obviously, it is proved that by involving in volunteering programs, it can help us to gain a better health too.
I hope that more people out there aware of the importance to take care of the environment, by volunteering more on any community service activities. Parents also can create the awareness on the early age of their children by taking the children involving together in the programs, as early education is very important elements of the children’s development. Paine et al. (2007) add that “satisfaction and enjoyment have been identified as the top two benefits of volunteering, with volunteering as a pastime ranked highly as a source of ‘joy’ in one study. Further research explores the idea that volunteering gives people feelings of enhanced well-being. Over 85 per cent of three thousand surveyed volunteers in one study reported enhanced well-being after volunteering, which was identified by the researcher as a ‘helper’s high’. Relationships between volunteering and well-being, happiness, self-esteem and self-reported physical health have been identified, with the suggestion that people feel better in themselves as a result of being involved” (Paine et al., 2007). Since participating in volunteering is proved very beneficial, it is kind of lost for ignore the calling.
I hope one day I can bring my family and friends to involve in volunteering activities and create their awareness of the importance to take care of the nature and to preserve the earth. My hope is that in future, to protect the vulnerable in our society, volunteerism and community service will be such a fundamental part of our lives that it will be the duty of each individual, and not merely the duty of welfare homes and associations, whether to be involved with humans, animals or any natural spaces. Social media also can play their role to help educating and empowering citizens and recruiting volunteers in the matter.
"Without determination, sincerity and willingness, it is quite hard for the person to complete all the tasks given. For me, it was a great experience since I am a nature person. I love to involve in nature; including greens and animals, what more to help sustains the beauty of the nature itself. I love to do voluntary work for past three years and bluntly speaking, my soul was very fit to that. Personally, I am grateful that I am volunteering so that I was done something that helps me contributed to the animals and their surroundings." - Pakcik Kopitiam
To be a good volunteer, we have to leave our ego at the door. We must not to think about our level of education or rank at the moment. We must have a positive attitude and plan to enjoy ourselves. We have to be prepared to encounter someone you know while you are dirty and in the middle of hands-on work, and be proud of it. In fact, if we feel hesitant about volunteering, chances are, we will focus more on the negative experiences than on the positive. We must stay true to the cause even if there is a change in leaders or small disturbance occur. The world is essentially good, and most people are doing the best they can, based on their knowledge, values and faiths. We should always stay positive, stay optimistic, and look back on our successes.
InshaAllah, every good deeds that we did, Allah has a reward for it. As stated in Surah Al- Kahfi verse 44;
“There (on the Day of Resurrection), Al-Walayah (the protection, power, authority and kingdom) will be for Allah (Alone), the True God. He (Allah) is the Best for reward and the Best for the final end. (La ilaha ill-Allah none has the right to be worshipped but Allah).”
Ask ourselves: "WHAT HAS I CONTRIBUTES?"
P/S: SORRY FOR THE BROKEN ENGLISH! SAYA BUDAK BARU BELAJAR.. DAH AMBIK GALAH, JGN DI BUAT MAIN.. BAHAYA~ HAHA!