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Volunteering is considered to be part of culture. I am quite impressed with the fact that here in the UK, the majority of people are volunteers in a range of different organisations or anywhere else for various reasons. For some, volunteering is a way and a chance to give something back to the community, to help people in need. For others, it’s an opportunity to develop new skills or gain experience for academic and/or professional reasons. Regardless of the motivation, people here have learned that volunteering is and should be part of their everyday life whereas in Cyprus this idea has just started becoming popular.
There are some groups of people in the small island of Cyprus, though, that really love helping others and have made efforts to create organisations such as the Sirius Dog Sanctuary where i have been a volunteer for the past four years, GAEA a non-profit organisation whose aim is to provide clothes, food and whatever else from public donations to the people in need in Cyprus and Kenya (www.facebook.com/groups/gaeagivinghope).
In my opinion, volunteering is not only a part of culture but it actually derives from the way someone has been raised, from his/her personality. Certain people believe that volunteering is giving, without demanding or getting something back. In reality, you gain so many things you wouldn’t even expect before; not material things but moral, meaningful things.
There are so many organisations or ways in which someone can volunteer and thus make a difference. I’ve chosen to volunteer with animals and most specifically at the Sirius Dog Sanctuary in Limassol, Cyprus. The sanctuary is, at the moment, home to almost 200 dogs and the fact that it’s overpopulated makes the volunteers’ work even more difficult but they never quit. The sanctuary is run by a group of volunteers, without any financial help from the government and is merely based on donations charitably made by the public. People there are actually doing their best in order to provide food and a warm place to stay and good living conditions for all those souls, as they truly deserve. I found this whole thing a challenge and a rewarding experience, and this is great indeed.
(If anyone would like to help the sanctuary there are plenty of ways to do that. You can visit the website for more info: www.siriusdogsanctuary.com )
Things you will learn during your experience as a volunteer:
I’ve heard and read so many times that the best things in life are free…a smile, a hug or a wagging tail can brighten your day and even your whole life. You will definitely receive all these amazing things when volunteering and therefore you will bring on the change you are looking for, for yourself and the rest of the world.
The UoB Linguist Magazine
Guild of Students,
University of Birmingham