Title: Voluntary workers, what would we do without them!
Date: 13-Sep-2009

Voluntary workers… What would we do without them!

 “Many hands make light work” is so true especially when there is much work to be done, a deadline to be met but not enough workers to complete the tasks in hand. So when volunteers offer their services at a needed time and place, they are much appreciated.

Voluntary services can be in many forms, from simple acts to big tasks. It could be just wrapping Christmas gifts or helping out in food relief work and the services are provided without expecting any pay or rewards!

Volunteering certainly builds one’s character and gives one a sense of fulfilment knowing you have contributed to society in one way or another, in a small or big way.

In SHELTER, volunteers help us out at various times in different areas, some on long-term and others on ad-hoc basis. Four volunteers share their stories with us:-


a. Phui Yee, In her twenties, works with the media. She came to know that there was a need for tutors to teach the children at SHELTER 1 through a church member. She called the manager and now she tutors Samuel, a Standard 6 pupil for about 1 hour each week. Having taught in a primary school before, she felt confident, and did not mind sparing some time seeing there was a need.

She loves teaching and has made learning more enjoyable by using teaching methods to suit a child’s personality, She cites Samuel as an example of a child who is ‘visual’. His vocabulary has improved markedly since he has been going around the home identifying various items. She has begun to ‘adopt’ this to the conventional way of teaching to make learning more interesting for Samuel.

In parting, Phui Yee encourages anyone who has talents, time and energy to chip in and help those who need help.


b. Lancy Wee, also in her twenties works in the Government sector. Having given home tuition before, she felt she had the time and energy to do voluntary work after her ‘not-so-demanding’ job. She registered in the SHETLER website and was contacted soon after.

She had always wanted “to give away” the knowledge she has to help others. She feels that the school system is “too fast” for some children. Subsequently, the children who are unable to keep up will fare poorly. So she is happy to help such children catch up even if it is to a small degree.

Since February 2009, she has been teaching Ivan and Rachel Bahasa Malaysian on a one-to-one basis, three times a week for one and a half hours each. She enjoys teaching the children and finds fulfilment when they are able to focus and understand what is taught.

She is encouraging her friends to do the same but for now they prefer to give in kind. As for her, she is ready to come back to help other children if needed.


c. Samantha,  in her early twenties is waiting to enter University. Having much time on her hands, she registered to be a volunteer through the SHELTER website. Moreover, while she was doing her A-levels in Singapore, she has done community work. And she likes children!

She teaches Brandon Bahasa Malaysia once a week for about two hours. Although she finds him active and talkative, she capitalizes on his tales by making him translate them into Bahasa Malaysia.

Samantha regards volunteering as a privilege and finds her effort self-satisfying. She says she is having fun and encourages those who have time to volunteer and give back something to society.


d. Kamini, in her early twenties is waiting to enter university. She enjoys social work and has worked with churches in street-feeding before.

She too came to know about SHELTER through a member of her church. She wanted to experience working in a NGO and contacted SHELTER. She started her stint in SHELTER HQ in Feb 2009. She has accompanied the staff-in-charge to distribute gifts to refugee children in the Community Schools and food aid to poor families in the community.

In the office she helped to get ready the SHELTER Newsletter for distribution. She says it was a challenge to meet deadlines to ‘complete the big picture’.

Of her work, she says it has been a fresh experience, enabling her to be part of an organization, where she has learned to work and cooperate with others. Though there were difficult moments, she feels it was worth the experience. She is willing to come back to help once she is settled in University. She encourages others who are contemplating volunteer work to do so without hesitating as it is worth the effort and sacrifice.

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