EPISODE 4: THE LEADERS OF TOMORROW ARE TODAY'S CHANGEMAKERS
Alumni of Yayasan Sukarelawan Siswa (YSS) / Student Volunteers Foundation
Shaida Salwi is an Alumni of Yayasan Sukarelawan Siswa (YSS) / Student Volunteers Foundation. She is currently wearing multiple hats as a primary school educator, and the head of department for the primary unit at Victoria International School while also serving as Cambridge exam officer. Currently, she is writing an MA thesis on Nusantara folklore, Bawang Merah Bawang Putih; exploring the negative stereotypes of stepfamilies / blended families in a family structure.
Listen to the podcast interview with the author;
THE LEADERS OF TOMORROW ARE TODAY'S CHANGEMAKERS
Each and every one of us is a changemaker. The increasing number of young people who are actively participating in carving out change in their community is living proof of this statement. We, the new generation of volunteers have emerged as a driving force behind positive change, reshaping the landscape of volunteerism and society at large. You see, being a part of this new wave of volunteers is like being handed the keys to a world of possibility, and it’s an honour I cherish every day.
Characteristics of the New Generation of Volunteers
We hold within us the same fervour and unwavering resolve as the previous generation of volunteer leaders. However, what sets us apart from past generations is our visionary outlook to confront the urgent social and environmental challenges that get caught up with globalisation and then warped and moulded in the modern context.
In a world that seems to pulse with the rhythm of technology, our generation is tech-savvy and finds navigating through the world of digital platforms a breeze. I’m constantly amazed at how my fellow young volunteers harness the digital age’s power for the greater good. Social media, once just a way to connect with friends and family members, now serves as our megaphone for change. Our incredible skill in navigating technology, and our interconnectedness through digital platforms, enable us to effectively employ social media for raising awareness, gathering support, and mobilising resources in support of our causes. The way we can rally support, spark conversations, and even coordinate efforts across continents—well, it’s nothing short of revolutionary. Our screens are windows to a world of connection, understanding, and action, and we’re using them to tear down borders and unite for a brighter future!
"Our screens are windows to a world of connection, understanding, and action, and we're using them to tear down borders and unite for a brighter future!"
Multi-faceted Approaches to Addressing Challenges
But it’s more than just digital connections that fuels us—it’s our approach. We, the new generation of volunteers, embrace a multifaceted approach when tackling obstacles. We’re not content with band-aid solutions; we’re diving headfirst into the heart of issues, determined to dig out their roots. Whether it’s climate change, education disparities, or gender equality, we’re thinking big and acting bigger.
How can healthcare be accessible to those who live in rural areas? Well, youth volunteers have collaborated with drone experts to design medical supply delivery systems. These drones transport essential medications and supplies to underserved regions in a timely manner. Meanwhile, the education landscape is also transforming as young volunteers interested in education have collaborated with virtual reality experts to create immersive educational experiences. These virtual reality lessons offer engaging ways to learn complex subjects and concepts. Youth volunteers are breaking taboos around mental health issues by working with artists and mental health professionals in organising art therapy workshops for people struggling with mental health issues. This creative approach provides an outlet for expression and further aids the healing process.
Digitally, you will see each Sustainable Development Goal being fought for by young volunteers from all over the world from the tip and swipe of your finger, and the effort keeps growing. Our ideas are as diverse as the causes we champion, and our collaborations span fields and disciplines, proving that innovation knows no bounds. We have countless online dialogues (perhaps even now as I’m writing!) initiated by the youth.
I dare say that our distinctive feature lies in our commitment to empowering communities, as we work hand in hand with local populations, placing high value on their wisdom. We see the value in adaptability when it comes to volunteering, and respecting each other as people with their own identities. With sustainability in mind, our capacity-building endeavours shall never run off course.
Overcoming Challenges and Nurturing Resilience
"We very much recognise the power of collaboration, and so we actively seek partnerships with established institutions such as non-governmental organisations, government agencies, and corporations. The combination of resources and expertise creates a powerful synergy, amplifying the impact of our initiatives."
Let’s not forget the resilience that’s woven into our DNA (thanks to our predecessors). Though some older generations call us the ‘strawberry generation’ – we actually do learn from setbacks, adapt our strategies, and build strong support networks to sustain our efforts. The setbacks we face—be it funding challenges or the exhaustion that can creep in—are real. But they’re not roadblocks; they’re just detours on our journey. We learn, adapt, and bounce back stronger, because we know that the road to change isn’t always smooth but it is always worth it. We very much recognise the power of collaboration, and so we actively seek partnerships with established institutions such as non-governmental organisations, government agencies, and corporations. The combination of resources and expertise creates a powerful synergy, amplifying the impact of our initiatives.
As I reflect on the role we play in building a better tomorrow, I can’t help but be amazed by the power we hold. What inspires me most is the ripple effect we’re creating – no matter how miniscule it might seem to us. It’s also not just about our immediate impact; it’s about the way our passion, drive, and energy inspire others to join in as well. After all, each and every one of us is a changemaker.
We’re not just dreamers; we’re doers, architects of transformation, and architects of a world we want to see. In this journey of creating change, I’ve learned that the future isn’t something that happens to us—it’s something we build, brick by brick, heart by heart. And I am beyond thrilled to be a part of this movement that’s shaping the world, one act of volunteerism at a time. It’s about passing the torch of change to a new generation, setting the tone that volunteering isn’t just a duty; it’s an opportunity to sculpt the future.
Pass the baton, we shall continue the legacy!
"What inspires me most is the ripple effect we're creating – no matter how miniscule it might seem to us. It's also not just about our immediate impact; it's about the way our passion, drive, and energy inspire others to join in as well."
Watch the video interview below as the author unpacks the topic;