Close
Exit

BY AILYN LOW AND IVENA HON

VOLUNTEERISM doesn’t rank too highly on the list of most young Malaysian’s priorities. When they do volunteer, most of the time, it’s for the sake of a college or university credit.
That’s something the Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Alumni hope to change.

The YES programme, funded by the US Department of State, is an exchange programme for students aged 15 to 17 to transfer to the United States for one academic year.

“I feel music works particularly well with young people. Hopefully this will attract them to come and learn more about volunteerism.”

During their semester abroad, they are required to complete 50 to 100 hours of community service, something which has inspired many members of the alumni to become more involved in voluntary work when they return to Malaysia.

Nazrin Ariffin, 22, is one student who was particularly inspired. He is now organising his first project in Malaysia – the SoundsGood concert, a free-to-enter concert happening on February 14 at KLPac aimed at promoting volunteerism among young Malaysians.

SoundsGood concert, Volunteer

Although the team is not completely from the YES Alumni, all of its organising members have the same goal — to provide a platform for youths to volunteer and to promote local music at the same time.

“Being part of a band and loving music, the idea of incorporating music and community service projects has always been on my mind,” said Nazrin, an actuarial science student.
“The universality of music would definitely help spread the message of volunteerism better.”

With the help of 11 other students, nine of whom are also YES Alumni members, Nazrin was finally able to make the project happen.

One of those students, Kan Wai Min, 21, said: “I feel music works particularly well with young people. Hopefully this will attract them to come and learn more about volunteerism.”

“We want to do something more sustainable, which is why we’re hoping this concert won’t be just a one-off thing,”

On top of that, Nazrin hopes each band will be able to draw their respective crowds to the event, where various NGOs will be setting up booths to sign up new volunteers.

And though their primary goal is to provide a platform for young people to gain information on how they can volunteer, they also plan to showcase local talents during the concert.

Among the artistes who will be performing are Temjin, Box For Letters, Relent, Pitahati, Narmi and Meet Uncle Hussain.

It’s a simple concept, promoting bands who could in turn help promote and encourage volunteerism, but it’s one that Nazrin and the team hope will have a meaningful impact.

Hopeful outcomes
One of the main goals of the team is for SoundsGood to become a recurring project.

“We want to do something more sustainable, which is why we’re hoping this concert won’t be just a one-off thing,” said Kan.

Four NGOs will be at the concert, including the Islamic Medical Association of Malaysia Response & Relief Team (Imaret), The Nasi Lemak Project (TNLP), Change Your World (CYW) and Small Changes.

“There were a lot of processes we had to go through before moving on to the next stage which took up a lot of time. Plus, we couldn’t really move forward with the lack of funds,”

Nazrin hopes SoundsGood will be able to help the NGOs recruit many young volunteers for the years to come.

He added that the success of this concert will determine whether they’ll organise another one in the future.

However, as with all projects, Nazrin encountered some setbacks while organising SoundsGood, especially when it came to time and money.

“There were a lot of processes we had to go through before moving on to the next stage which took up a lot of time. Plus, we couldn’t really move forward with the lack of funds,” he said.

Change Your World, SoundsGood

Young volunteers of Change Your World bringing food to an underprivileged community. Change Your World is one of several organisations that will be promoted at SoundsGood.

Of course, it was nothing a bit of hard work and determination couldn’t fix, and now the project seems set to make the difference the organisers had hoped for.

After each performer does their set, one of the NGOs will take to the stage to talk about the work they do.

One of the major projects that will be highlighted is the building of permanent flood-resistant houses by Imaret happening this March in Kelantan.

“Not many young people know the different volunteer programmes available so this concert would be a fun yet educational platform for them.”

“When Imaret heard we were planning this concert, they jumped in and offered to work with us. It will definitely be a plus if they attracted volunteers during the concert to participate in the reconstruction phase,” said Nazrin.

Hanan Anwar, 22, is also optimistic about the project. She said: “Not many young people know the different volunteer programmes available so this concert would be a fun yet educational platform for them.”

Being grateful
Volunteering doesn’t just make you feel good, it also helps broaden your perspective on life, something the team hopes young people will realise after attending SoundsGood.

Kan shared how helping the Pertiwi Soup Kitchen changed his view on the less fortunate.

“There was a homeless man screaming for his cardboard when it was taken away because he used it for shelter. It touched me and made me think about the privileges I have,” he said.

“The feeling you get from volunteering can never be completely expressed in words. It only takes one experience to get you hooked on it,”

Hanan added: “Volunteering helped me see how fortunate I am to be blessed with such a wonderful life.”

SoundsGood, NGOs

From Left: Hanan Anwar, Nurul Nadia, Kan Wai Min, Ahmad Syifaq Hassan, Nazrin Ariffin and Danial Syarihan Ho are part of the organising committee for the SoundsGood concert

And even though volunteering is about making a difference in someone else’s life, the volunteers themselves often take away just as much from the experience.

“The feeling you get from volunteering can never be completely expressed in words. It only takes one experience to get you hooked on it,” Nazrin said.

“Young people are energetic and full of potential. To me, they should find what they are passionate about and translate that into something that can positively impact society.”

Another SoundsGood team member Ahmad Syifaq Hassan, 22, added that volunteering gives you an opportunity to learn more about yourself.

“The way you react to the less fortunate shows your true nature, and how empathetic you are,” he said.

Clearly, promoting volunteerism is in itself a good cause. But as Kan suggests, the best way to go about it in Malaysia now is to target the nation’s youth.

He said: “Young people are energetic and full of potential. To me, they should find what they are passionate about and translate that into something that can positively impact society.”

For more info on the SoundsGood concert, click here.


Lend a helping hand!

These are the four NGOs that will be present at the SoundsGood concert

IMAM Response & Relief Team (Imaret)
Founded under the umbrella of Islamic Medical Association of Malaysia (IMAM) in order to mobilize relief teams during natural disasters especially locally, Imaret now has well over 500 volunteers consisting of young medical professionals and non medical individuals. They will be working with the SoundsGood concert to gather more volunteers to help build permanent flood-resistant homes in Kelantan this March as part of their post-flood relief projects.

The Nasi Lemak Project (TNLP)
TNLP is a young independent movement that aims to tackle poverty in Malaysia. They take pride in feeding up to 300 homeless people three times a week, and they don’t just feed them nasi lemak. They also provide tuition for urban poor students, indigenous people and refugees. They also do house repairs and provide medical services for poor families.

Change Your World (CYW)
Founded in 2009, Change Your World is a social enterprise that aims to create awareness among young people on social justice issues by using “creative tools” such as music and art. They have created programmes to get young people involved in helping refugees and victims of human trafficking.

Small Changes
Small Changes was formed in 2011 by a group of young adults based on a simple motto: “Small changes, big differences”.
Their first programme, a motivational camp, was launched to reach out to underprivileged students. Ever since, they have worked to reduce the educational gap between urban and rural students through various projects and have not looked back ever since. They now have various annual events that reaches out to all those in need of help. For unity sake, no one is marginalised. They plan to continually grow and attract more volunteers that shares the same passion and vision for a better tomorrow.

 

Tell us what you think!

BTW…

I lost my mother to the Japanese war

 Whenever Allied planes bombed Sandakan town as part of its campaign to liberate Borneo, Daniel Chin Tung Foh’s grandfather would rush the whole family into a bomb shelter behind their house.  During its heyday, the British North Borneo Company had developed Sandakan into a major commercial and trading hub for timber, as well as […]

Read more Like this post0

A witness to the Double Tenth revolt

 Chua Hock Yong was born in Singapore, but his grandfather moved the family to British North Borneo (now Sabah) to establish their business in 1939 when he was a year old.  The Japanese invaded Borneo shortly after, but the family continued living in their shophouse in Gaya Street, Jesselton, now known as Kota Kinabalu.  […]

Read more Like this post2

An encounter with victims of the Sandakan Death Marches

 When the Second World War came to Borneo, Pelabiu Akai’s mother moved the family back to their village in Nalapak, Ranau.  Although the Japanese were known to be ruthless and brutal conquerors, they left the villagers to their own devices and Pelabiu had a largely uneventful life – until she came across gaunt-looking Allied […]

Read more Like this post4

Sarawak’s only living child prisoner of war

 Jeli Abdullah’s mother died from labour complications after giving birth to him and his twin brother. To his Bisaya tribe, this was seen as a bad omen, and his father did not know what to do with the twins.  Fortunately, an Australian missionary couple decided to adopt the newborns. But misfortunate fell upon the […]

Read more Like this post2

Lest we forget

AFIO Rudi, 21, had never thought much about his grandfather Jeli Abdullah’s life story until an Australian TV programme interviewed the 79-year-old about being Sarawak’s last surviving World War II child prisoner of war (POW). The engineering student then realised that despite living in Sarawak all his life, he also didn’t know very much of […]

Read more Like this post3

A native uprising against Japanese forces

 Basar Paru, 95, was only a teenager when his village in the central highlands of Borneo was invaded by the Japanese Imperial army.  “The Japanese told us not to help the British. They said Asians should help each other because we have the same skin, same hair,” Basar recalled. “But we, the Lun Bawang […]

Read more Like this post1

Left behind in wartime chaos

 Kadazan native Anthony Labangka was 10 years old when the Japanese Imperial Army invaded Borneo during World War II.  Sitting in the verandah of a modern kampung house on a hot afternoon in Kampung Penampang Proper, where he has lived his whole life, Anthony recalls the hardships of the Japanese Occupation.  The villagers were […]

Read more Like this post1
Kajai R.AGE Wan Ifra Journalism Documentaries Digital Media Awards

R.AGE Audience Survey 2019 + Office Tour contest

Want to be in the running to meet R.AGE producers and journalists? Take part in our R.AGE Audience Survey 2019 by Feb 17, 2019!

Read more Like this post1

BRATs Goes to Genting!

The final BRATs camp of the year promises to be the coolest – literally!

Read more Like this post0

The Hidden Cut

Female circumcision is a very common practice in Malaysia, but the procedure is still almost completely unregulated.

Read more Like this post2

#TeamSatpal: Turtle-y in Trouble

The 21st century brings unseen threats to local turtle conservation efforts.

Read more Like this post0

#TeamMayLee: The Point of Being Malaysian

In a modest village situated on the sandy shores of Terengganu, the production of ikan bilis has formed the livelihoods of most families for multiple generations.

Read more Like this post2
Go top