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VOLUNTEER SPOTLIGHT

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Alaa Hammoud

Volunteer Age:

27

Where did you volunteer?

Borderless, Ouzai

For how long?

Since end of May

“In order to feel more comfortable during this interview, I’d like to say that everything I do, I do discreetly. The purpose of this interview is not personal exposure. I am answering these questions because I am one of the first volunteers to have joined the circle. I hope that by doing this interview I can motivate people to get out there and volunteer.”

 

1) We are so happy you found an opportunity to Volunteer via The Volunteer Circle! Tell us a little bit about the experience in general and what kind of role you fulfilled. 

 

Regarding the volunteering experience: sometimes the world puts us in situations we never expected to be in. We look back and think 'wow, I should've been doing this the whole time... ' And that’s what happened with volunteering.  On the first day, I didn't know anyone at all, not at The Volunteer Circle nor at Borderless, where I volunteered. At Borderless, fellow volunteers and I would spend Saturdays playing the role of teachers - or 'coaches' as the children like to call us -  to help them keep up with schoolwork and improve their chances of getting back to school. We also taught them many things that can benefit them in their daily lives such as recycling. The experience was very nice, and the volunteers were so welcoming and always smiley, they treated me like I've been part of the team for a long time. The relationship with the children was the best part of the whole thing.

 

2) Why did you decide to volunteer in the first place? How did you find The Volunteer Circle?

 

To be honest, there is no specific answer to why I decided to volunteer in the first place. But what I can say is that I got carried away by my emotions. I’m the kind of person who follows his heart. I felt like I had to go out there, help those in need and give whatever I have to offer.

I did not find The Volunteer Circle, it found me [laughs]. It came exactly at the time when I was thinking about volunteering. One day, a friend of mine shared The Volunteer Circle’s page on Instagram. The account’s name captured my interest. I signed up, checked the opportunities, and applied.

 

3) What was the best part about working with organization X? What would you tell this organization about your experience? 

 

The best part of the work with Borderless is that they work with children. I am very influenced by children and I love spending time with them, even more so the children who have faced so much hardship. Childhood should be about innocence, fun, and love, but these children faced harsh conditions, for many reasons from the war to political reasons. But nothing justifies them missing out on a normal childhood. I want to tell Borderless that I very much appreciate the work they are doing, even though they are receiving nothing in return in terms of money or promotion. I hope that myself and other people can keep supporting them so that they can stand on their own feet and provide this support to children.

 

4) How did this volunteering experience impact you? Both professionally (skills gained) and personally. 

 

I learned how effective it is to work in groups. To be honest, I always preferred doing everything on my own, but now I see how each group member can occupy a specific role or be responsible for a certain task to deliver the best experience possible. Applying that in our personal and professional lives, it made me realize that we are indispensable to each other. Each has a defined role, which contributes to society and the economic cycle. A concept to take and apply in the bigger circle that we call life.

Personally, I think that whenever someone goes out there to volunteer, he or she learns something from it. From the information being taught to the children to the conversations with the volunteers, you always end up learning something new. 

 

5) What was your most significant accomplishment or added value throughout your volunteering experience?

 

I don’t consider having accomplished anything yet. I think that it is my duty to offer whatever I can to those kids. In my opinion, an accomplishment would have to be directly related to the children we’re helping like making their dreams come true. I feel like I’m still at the beginning of this long and exciting journey. There is so much more to give than what I have already done.

 

6) What lesson from this experience will you carry with you for life?

 

The lesson I will carry with me from this experience is that if someone wants to give back to the community, he/she has to find the right time and not wait for the opportunity to present itself. You don’t need to have it all in life in order to volunteer. You should volunteer while you have the opportunity to offer something others don’t have. We shouldn’t wait for someone or an organization to ask for our help. We should always try to pay it forward. 

 

7) What do you do when you are not volunteering?

 

I am a university student at AUST majoring in Digital Marketing.

 

8) Did the Volunteer Circle make a difference in helping you find the right place to volunteer?

 

To be honest, The Volunteer Circle 'elon el fadl kello' (has my utmost appreciation). Without this platform, I don’t think I would be choosing this path. This platform offers so many opportunities for people to volunteer as well for organizations to find help. I appreciate everything that they do. I will do anything in my power to help make the circle bigger and encourage people to join us and participate in many volunteer activities.

 

9) Will you volunteer again? Tell us why!

 

This is the question I have been waiting for. I am affirming that I will be volunteering again. In fact, I am looking forward for more volunteer opportunities. There are so many opportunities I’d like to be part of. For example, I would love to volunteer at Dar Al Ajaza to take care of the elderly. They are the ones who need to be taken care of the most. They value every little thing like going for a walk or even having a simple conversation. I think that everyone should have a duty to spend time with old people. I’d also love to make a difference in our country’s environment. I participated in the national campaign beach clean-up in Ouzai. It felt like I was cleaning my own house, I could not let myself leave before the shore was completely clean.

 

10) What are your words of wisdom to other aspiring volunteers?

 

We always look at bigger problems that we can’t personally do anything about, like the economic situation and political problems, and say “It is what it is”. But in our society and in this world, there are problems that can have solutions, we just need people that are willing to genuinely give back and put their hands together to pave the way for success. I suggest that every single person who wants to volunteer, or is still hesitating, or doesn’t know where to start…to join the Circle, find the right opportunity – because we can all make a difference. Nowadays, many people are spreading hate and negativity in this world. There should be people, in parallel, who strive to make the world a better place based on love, peace, and unity.