Get to know more about NGOs
The letters NGO stand for ‘non-governmental organization’ and refer to entities that carry out humanitarian projects with a social purpose. NGOs are not affiliated with any public institution and function on a not-for-profit basis. They aim to improve social and humanitarian conditions, often using volunteers to help achieve their aims. Depending on the scale of the NGO they can act on a local level, a national level, or internationally, and can deal with issues such as sanitation, education, environment, economic development and the promotion of human rights (education/housing/freedom/society). NGOs are generally financed by donations from individuals or the state, although some manage to reach some degree of self-sustainability through the generation of revenue from the sale of items or services.
Get to know more about VOLUNTEERING
The Spanish psychiatrist, teacher and researcher Luis Rojas Marcos believes that volunteering is an excellent way in which to collaborate with others, and that its positive effects can include increased self-esteem, contentment with oneself and diminished anxiety.
There are several ways in which people define volunteering, although the majority of definitions cover some of the same aspects:
- A person who carries out a volunteer placement is someone who freely donates their time and skills to help others without expectation of a reward, and who works within the framework of a not-for-profit organization.
- Volunteering is a philanthropic action that requires the provider to commit to the action without personal or economic self-interest.
- The tasks taken on by the volunteer are performed in the best interest of a group of people or of the state.
- Volunteer placements take place in an organized manner.
- Deciding or not to take part in volunteering is the result of a free choice, and is carried out in a non-violent manner.
All activities denominated as voluntary or altruistic are a way of maintaining affectionate relationships, communicating between ourselves and living together in harmony. It has been proven that a harmonious coexistence creates happiness, softens sadness and proves to be a positive force in the world. People who form part of a group that shows solidarity towards its members – whether this be friends, family members, co-workers or members of an organization – indicate a higher level of life satisfaction and are able to better deal with obstacles in their path than those who are isolated or lack an emotional support system.
Doing volunteering – helping others selflessly – also reflects positively on how we perceive our social and personal identity. It raises our self-esteem, makes us feel competent and allows us to take pleasure in helping others and gain pride from helping to improve society.
People who feel that they have a social impact or who feel that they have a positive effect on the lives of others are less likely to suffer from anxiety, they sleep better, are less likely to abuse alcohol or drugs and are more resistant to minor setbacks than people who feel useless and ineffective.
In the words of the French writer Simone de Beauvoir – ‘the best remedy for overcoming -with enthusiasm and hope - the challenges that our own irredeemable vulnerability places in our path, is dedicating ourselves to others, to groups or to causes; learning to value one another through love, friendship and compassion; and living a life full of giving and projects that keep us active and on the right path, even when our excitement has dimmed’.
‘Taking part in volunteering is healthy for us – it not only adds years to our life, but also injects life into our years’.