Volunteering in COVID times


Volunteering is something many of us found ourselves doing in midst of 2nd wave. It was tough to have business as usual in those times.
Whether it was Whatsapp groups at work or school/ college people were doing whatever they could to help those in need. Volunteering in such times is tough and even tougher to focus on work post that. I have a small business, and I need to be on top of it to ensure it stays afloat.
I tried different time slots, afternoon or evenings or weekends. Each came with its own challenges. Evenings meant less time with my 6yr old with whom I would step down to walk or cycle. Weekends also meant ignoring other important things to be done at home and time with family.
After a point, I just could not volunteer because I had to take care of other things which were more important to me first instead of feeling guilty about not giving enough time to either aspect.

Can everyone volunteer?

This also kind of opened me to the fact not everyone can volunteer all the time. This is an important aspect of how companies and NGOs looking for volunteers to give time for causes they want to support.
Imagine a family in their mid-30s with a young child, anyone who has been in that stage of life would agree even 7 days seem less. However, I look back to my 20s and I remember going door to door in Mumbai asking people to register to vote. This a sort of thing I would neither have the time or even inclination to do now.

Do we have a volunteering culture ?

I guess the challenge is we as a society don’t think it’s important to volunteer, else we would have made it part of our culture at home, school or college. Yes, there are events once in a year when we had droves of people cleaning beaches, planting trees, etc. Many times it’s just that and it’s very hard to find a steady stream of volunteers to build on work done.
It’s time to make it part of any form of education system be it school, college or masters. It can be volunteering with an NGO which is working near you or maybe aligned with what you think. It can also be building something which may help NGOs or society overall.

So it’s important we catch them early. Make it normal that everyone volunteer. Be it school, college, work or home. Only then can we overcome the metaphorical or real tsunamis we may face.

Till then stay safe