For Gladys Ng, volunteering does not have to have a certain motivation behind it. Whatever time she has, she just shares a little bit of it for others, so it wouldn’t feel too onerous. Her approach to short-term volunteering is refreshing.
Gladys has been volunteering since her school days. She once went with her classmates and teachers to an elderly home near her school to have some chat with the elderly there. She also once agreed to help running enrichment classes at a boys’ home.
Her volunteerism has been on and off. When she saw the opportunity comes and she has the time for it, she would just go for it. Including the time she heard about a mobile library project in Vietnam by the Singapore International Foundation.
The Singapore International Foundation offers Words on Wheels, a mobile library that is situated in Ho Chi Minh and Yogyakarta. The project invites volunteers to work with local partners to bring books and educational workshops to schoolchildren.
"It's a great feeling to feel that you're part of a meaningful project," she says.
Driven by her fond memories of borrowing books from a mobile library near her home in Singapore when she was a schoolgirl, she wants other children to experience it too.
At first, there was a fear that the schoolchildren at Da Phuoc school--on the outskirts of Ho Chi Minh City--would be hard to engage because they appeared shy and awkward. But it didn’t last long, as they responded to Gladys and other volunteers. They loved having the volunteers in the class.
Filled with excitement and encouragement from the volunteers, the children tried practising and communicating with their English out loud.
They were also hesitant to raise their hands at first. But as they get more confident, they just go for it and answered without waiting to be called on.
The students gathered around the mobile library, while the staff--a local partner from General Sciences Library--tried to keep order. They enjoyed the books, access to computers, reading and other interactivities led by the volunteers.
The English language teacher Ms.Nguyen Thi Thanh Lan explained that the children rarely have a chance to practise English outside of the classroom. Having foreigners around to interact with them has allowed real-world exposure for these children, which will encourage them to keep learning. She welcomes more volunteers to visit her school more often.
Watch Glady’s volunteering experience below:
This story was first published on Our Better World.