British politician Winston Churchill once said, "We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give."
This quote should be dedicated to the volunteers who take up various good causes in the name of altruism.
Although statistics released earlier this year by the United States Bureau of Labour Statistics shows that volunteering was at a 10-year low, Malaysia seems to be moving forward in embracing the spirit of volunteerism - with more government initiatives and volunteering portals set up to encourage meaningful contributions from the public.
In conjunction with International Volunteer Day on Dec 5, Metro Online Broadcast takes a look at some of the ways you can contribute to a good cause.
1. Donate a meal to the poor
Some of us dine at nice restaurants every weekend, but there are many who cannot afford even a proper meal.
For only RM7 (S$2.70), you can purchase a 'suspended meal' at participating restaurants under the Meals for All programme.
Funds collected will be used to provide food for the homeless. Cooking is done by the restaurants and then handed over to soup kitchens for distribution.
Meals for All founder Ramesh Vadiveloo decided to tweak the suspended coffee concept in Italy where cafe patrons purchase a cup of coffee for the homeless which can be claimed as needed.
So far, 2,500 meals have been produced and Ramesh aims to get 10 more restaurants to join the cause.
For more info visit https://www.facebook.com/MealsForAll.
2. Recycle old technology
"Malaysia generates over 100,000 tonnes of e-waste a year, but over three million people in the country do not have access to digital devices and the Internet," said Science of Life Studies 24/7 (SOLS 24/7) Malaysia human resource and communications director Danutcha Catriona Singh.
Tech Cycle is a programme by Sols Tech, the technological arm of Sols 24/7, aimed at reducing e-waste and to bridge the digital divide.
The public can donate their old digital devices such as computers, laptops and printers to Tech Cycle's recycling centres, which will then be repaired and refurbished before being distributed to underprivileged communities.
"The aim is to protect the environment, reuse technology and serve the underserved in Malaysia," said Danutcha.
For more visit http://www.solstech.org/
3. Tutor a refugee child
Education should be a basic right of every child. However, the reality is different for refugee children who fled their native countries for fear of persecution by their own governments.
"An estimated 10,000 Myanmarese refugee children are on the streets and are unable to go to school, leaving them illiterate and vulnerable to organ traffickers, drug pushers and child prostitution," said United Learning Center (ULC) founder Mink Ong.
ULC is a centre that provides free education for 130 Myanmarese refugee children in Kuala Lumpur, and are constantly in need of tutors.
"Volunteers only need to spend a few hours every week to teach the children and keep them company. We also have fun activities like story-telling, singing and dancing," said Ong, adding that no experience was needed other than lots of love for the children and being able to speak English.
Those interested to volunteer can call 012-6054 990 (Johnathan).
4. Become a digital volunteer
Rather than surf Facebook all day, youths can put their tech-savvy skills to good use by becoming a 'digital volunteer'. Another programme by SOLS Tech, it aims to empower youths to volunteer for good causes via digital technology.
Open to youths aged between 17 and 24, volunteers invest 20 hours over a three-month period to help a non-governmental organisation (NGO) of their choice to build an online presence, from setting up and updating social media sites, helping to create social media campaigns and blogging.
Once the three months are over, the volunteers can choose to stay on as consultants for their respective NGOs.
Those interested to join as a digital ambassador can e-mail DV@sols247.org.
5. Help out at an animal shelter
NGOs such as SPCA Selangor are always in need of volunteers to help out with duties such as cleaning, preparing and serving meals to the animals and socialising them.
One can also become a kennel guide by assisting members of the public when choosing an animal.
Those with experience handling animals can also help with walking, bathing and grooming.
Often, animal welfare NGOs are also in need of people to handle other aspects such as marketing, photography, outreach and education. For more information, visit www.spca.org.my