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We often think that we need to be rich and successful to make a difference in the world but that’s far from the truth. Change doesn’t have to be earth-shattering or make news headlines but can start small, wherever we are. All we need is a paradigm shift and a big heart to be the change we wish to see in the world.
I started volunteering in my early 20s and my first gig involved organising children’s summer camp with YMCA Christchurch in New Zealand. Since then, I have taught English to refugees and orphans. I also make it a point to volunteer when I travel abroad – whether it’s teaching English or pet sitting for locals.
Give generously – with no strings attached
We don’t have to be rich to have a generous heart. And giving doesn’t need to include money all the time. From giving our time to blessing someone in need with a hot meal, there are so many ways we can give back. Personally, I like to give away baked goods – to family, friends and occasionally strangers too.
We never know how asking about someone’s day or a pleasant smile will make his/her day. Reminding ourselves not to pass judgement is a good start because each one of us struggles with a challenge – whether it’s a health crisis or work issue and sometimes a little kindness goes a long way. So go on, hold the door for a stranger or pay for someone’s meal.
It’s true that change begins at home and we don’t have to travel abroad to make a difference. But the more I travel, the more I realized how small and insignificant I am and thus I learnt to be more mindful of my actions. Travel has also taught me that despite cultural and language barriers, humans are inherently good. For instance, I’m privileged to have met some incredibly hospitable hosts during my travels and I make sure that I treat my guests the same if not better when they visit.