The QF community talks about how selfless work contributes to society – and enhances their own existence
It is something worth taking a moment to picture in our minds: how today’s would look if everyone volunteered some of their time and effort to helping to change someone’s life or give something back to society.
I had never set an agenda or made a conscious decision to become a volunteer. It was an inner voice that I listened to, a voice triggered by a feeling of fulfillment
The question becomes even more pertinent when humanity is experiencing one of its toughest crises, bringing into focus how reaching out to help others can bring direct benefit to their daily lives. And members of Qatar Foundation’s community who are driven them commit to volunteering can testify to how it is its own reward.
Meghna Dey, who is a member of Qatar Foundation’s communications team, has been involved in voluntary work independently since 2004. She realized she had a clear urge to give back to her society, and it didn’t take her long to decide what she wanted to do. It began when she decided to support her house-help’s children with their studies back home. Since then she has been involved in educating children from low-income backgrounds.
If I can expand a child’s perception and awareness – especially for children from a underprivileged backgrounds who don’t have enough opportunities – and make them see things from a different perspective, I hope I can maybe give them a chance to improve the quality of their lives and those of their families
“I had never set an agenda or made a conscious decision to become a volunteer. It was an inner voice that I listened to, a voice triggered by a feeling of fulfillment,” she said. “If I can expand a child’s perception and awareness – especially for children from an underprivileged backgrounds who don’t have enough opportunities – and make them see things from a different perspective, I hope I can maybe give them a chance to improve the quality of their lives and those of their families.
"Education is certainly their best opportunity for doing this. and playing even the slightest role in providing them with such an opportunity matters to me. My hope was that a child will then take their experiences back to their community and inspire their friends.
For Meghna, helping to plant a seed of change that can grow has become a lifestyle. She spontaneously saw the areas where she felt she could help make a difference, and acted on this feeling.
“Besides educating children, I got also involved in animal welfare about four years ago, when I adopted my first rescue dog,” she explained. “Ever since then, if I get the opportunity to do something that helps to get an animal off the street, I try to take it, either through offering my time to placing an animal in a shelter home or rehoming them, or through supporting animal shelters and their initiatives financially.”
Each volunteer feels they have a greater purpose. In Meghna’s case, the biggest reward is knowing that whoever she has given her time to help – whether it is an animal or a person – is safe.
“Education gives you the power to make choices and decisions from an informed place,” she said. “Children from low-income backgrounds, wherever they are in the world, can very easily go astray in the way that they start taking drugs, and become violent or a nuisance to society. Education gives children the power to choose the opposite option – to be safe themselves, and to keep their friends and family safe,”
Once an animal has been picked off the streets and is with a shelter or at a foster home, you can’t help but think that you’ve saved a life. It’s a powerful feeling when you know you are able to make a difference in a life
“This applies to animals as well. Once an animal has been picked off the streets and is with a shelter or at a foster home, you can’t help but think that you’ve saved a life. It’s a powerful feeling when you know you are able to make a difference in a life.”
For Amy Johnson, QF’s Community Engagement Director and a mother of four, volunteering is also a big part of her life. Despite her busy schedule as a working mother, she decided to reserve a specific time during her week to help others.
The idea of volunteering came from her goal of engaging children in activities that could get them away from simply staring at TV, computer, or phone screens, so – together with her own children – she started supporting in children-focused events in Qatar, such as by helping with the events’ set-up and operations.
I hope that when people see the benefit that volunteers get from their actions, it will inspire them to also offer even the slightest time to help someone else during their day or week
Recently, in search for an opportunity where she could use her skills to help others, she joined QF’s internal virtual volunteer program. Now she is supporting the teaching of conversational French to young children who are looking to improve their language skills.
Speaking about what from the voluntary work she does gives her, she says: “It’s a special feeling to know that your time is being spent helping someone else improve and advance their own life – it’s one of those feelings in life that money can’t buy.
“I consider myself very fortunate as well to be part of QF’s Community Development team. The work that we do for the community every single day is a similar feeling to the one I get from volunteering. Knowing that we are providing unique services and opportunities to the community that wouldn’t otherwise be available is such a rewarding feeling.”
For Amy, giving is invaluable, and inspiring. “I hope that when people see the benefit that volunteers get from their actions, it will inspire them to also offer even the slightest time to help someone else during their day or week, share their own story, and help so many lives on so many levels,”
“We can all get so caught up and busy with our day-to-day lives that it’s important to sometimes take a step back and remember that even one hour given to helping others can make a huge difference in someone’s life. And, if you inspire others to do the same, that one hour can turn into thousands of hours.”