Guest Author - Rev. Jackie O´Neal S.T.M.
Volunteering online involves reaching the most remote areas of the world with good deeds. In the past, in order to do mission work in the developing nations, one was obliged to leave the comfort of home. Advanced technology has radically changed the way individuals can serve the world at large.
Several organizations offer online volunteer opportunities, the United Nations among them. The benefits of volunteering have been well-documented throughout the years. One celebrated study conducted in 1956 by Dr. Moen demonstrated that regular paid employment did not appear to have the life- lengthening benefits of volunteering.
These results were evident in a long-term study among 1,000 women conducted by Dr. Moen. Dr. Moen wrote; “In what we do to earn a living, most of us don’t have much control over the hours and aspects of our work. As a volunteer, we do productive work that we choose. And if we don’t like it, we can do something else.”
Dr. Moen’s 1956 study also demonstrated that the participants were more likely to find greater satisfaction in life than their counterparts in the work force. Any person who has suffered work “burn-out” in any industry can relate to these findings.
Recently, I learned of an organization that allows volunteers to work remotely while making an important impact in developing nations around the world.
Nabuur.com is an organization comprised of individuals known as neighbors who have the opportunity to assist communities in the developing nations. Rather than fund projects or donate money (although neighbors are welcome to do so, if so led), Nabuur.com encourages neighbors to share their expertise. Visitors to Naburr.com can browse the various communities and villages to select projects to get involved in. A project facilitator is assigned the responsibility of supervising the volunteers, and making sure tasks are completed on deadline.
The first step in making a difference virtually- is to join Nabuur.com as a neighbor by becoming an active participant in a village, and helping the village realize urgent tasks such as spreading awareness about a local issue, or helping build an educational or health facility. Additional tasks might include identifying benefactors, by doing research. All the tasks are varied and challenging requiring expertise in given areas. Nabuur.com also offers a forum where volunteers and administrators can connect regarding progress.
While visiting the site, I joined a village in Ghana called Greenville and got involved in a campaign to spread awareness on disabilities through an organization, African Footprint.
Samuel Kweku Addison, local representative and founder wrote about African Footprint: “This is a place where young and old have come together to join hands to prove to the world that disability is not inability. So the deaf in Greenville dance to African traditional music as a case study for other disabled people.”
For the last decade, African Footprint has promoted African dance and drumming through local and international performances.
As I continue to explore the role African Footprint plays in destroying social barriers, and opening the doors for all people to share in the joy of performance, I will keep you updated on the progress made in spreading awareness about their meritorious program.