What is the most valuable thing we could ever receive? Money? Cars? No. The most precious thing we could ever receive is knowledge, for without it, we do not have a future. Sadly, most of us go to school and forget the true purpose of our attendance.
We go to school to pass on our homework or to indulge in gossip, but we take for granted the fact that going to school is our right but only a privilege in many other countries. In Kenya or Uganda, for example, most children are unable to afford food, let alone an education. The education systems in these countries are still premature and unorganised.
Thus, many non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have set up programmes to offer education to these people because it should be a basic human right for all and not just for a select few. One of these organisations is the International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ), which provides volunteering placements for teachers who are willing to go to these countries to teach. Anyone above the age of 18 years is eligible to become a teacher and participate in this programme. Using their own funds, the teachers are placed in a country of their choice to teach for a duration ranging from a week to more than a month, depending on their preference.
In addition to providing aid and assistance to these countries, IVHQ endeavours to improve education and heighten awareness through not only the skills and expertise of the volunteers helping these host communities and institutions but also through the cultural experiences and lessons volunteers take back to their own countries. Participants offer knowledge to those without proper facilities for education, and in turn, they gain crucial life skills and build their independence.
A testimonial on the IVHQ Web site by Samantha Guevara, an American who volunteered at an orphanage in Tanzania, reads: “My favourite moment from my volunteering experience was definitely volunteering at the orphanage. The children there were so full of joy, and I was able to visit some of the children’s families. The children really do travel far to attend school and seem to view life in a positive light despite their situation. I loved going to the orphanage every day and just learning from them and helping them in their studies.”
As Mahtab Narshimhan once said, “A good education is the greatest gift you can give yourself or anyone else.” By giving knowledge to others in need, we can help give others a better chance in life.
By Crystal Ng Pei Qi
17, Kuala Lumpur