By Tare Youdeowei
STRAIGHT off the bus from school with immense energy, a graduate from the ivory towers in Nigeria might be at a loss when it comes to deciding what to do next. The general trend is to imagine yourself dazzling a job interviewer and securing a N250, 000 paying job.
Getting a nicely furnished apartment in the choicest part of town and driving a nice set of four wheels, usually come next in the picture, followed immediately by purchasing land and building a petite mansion, for modesty sake, that’s if owning a business is not the main picture. Well, it’s easier pictured than got.
The appropriate thing, as constructed by the Nigerian environment, is to get professional qualification, where applicable and gather experience. No matter how little the pay attached is; the goal is to look attractive to high paying recruiters. There is, however, one unique way to stand out of your peers, and still impact the world around you.
Volunteer. This method of experience gathering via selfless effort is said to be eye catching, not just to the high paying Nigerian recruiter, it also tickles the fancy of multinational recruiters.
Here, a 2013 graduate of Guidance and Counselling, University of Lagos, Miss Folarin Oluwatosin, reveals her experience with volunteering in an interview with Vanguard. She currently holds the Voluntary Service Overseas 2016 National Youth Award, as she implores Nigerians, particularly youths, to imbibe the culture of volunteering so as to make our society, state and nation, a better place.
Why volunteer? Volunteering is about giving back to the society. We all complain about how messed up the system is; what we do not realise is that we can make a little change through the things we do. You don’t really need a lot of money to help people because rendering service goes a long way to make positive change in our environment. People in developed countries know the importance of giving back to the society, making a change that’s why they volunteer.
This is as opposed to Nigeria where we are always interested in money. It is not all about the money; yes money is important, but it is not everything. As a young graduate, I do not see money as something I should run after; there are aspects one needs to develop first. Most important is personal development, which is got from volunteering. When this is in place, money will run after you.
Why Nigerians hardly volunteer? I think it all boils down to our society. The society’s orientation is that people should always have money; you should always go after money, regardless of what you do to get it. This has made a lot of persons evolve into ruthlessness. This needs to change so the nation can move forward.
Your experience: I volunteered overseas with ICS; International Citizen Service.It is a British owned NGO that brings people together to volunteer. They are currently in over 20 countries and their focus is eradicating poverty. They also work in line with the United Nations’ Sustainable Developmental Goals, SDG.
I volunteered in Ilesha, Osun State. We helped develop the area in terms of farming. This involved training students on farming, as well as enlightening farmers on how best their business can grow. We also did programmes on malaria eradication for students, gender violence, the power of a girl child, in addition to ICT skills training.
Volunteering for Nigeria: Nigerians can key into volunteering. Any act that can bring about positive development in our society in terms of education, health, environment, gender equality, should suffice.