Written by Muhammad Juwaini
Volunteer is a person who performs a service or task willingly and without pay. So, not many people do want to be a volunteer. Whereas, by doing volunteerism, it will improve awareness in environmental, cultural, educational and world peace. They also learn to hold the responsibility. For the organization, volunteers can be a major asset. By contributing time, energy and talents, volunteers can generate enthusiasm, provide new skills, increase community engagement, serve as bridges to target populations, augment fundraising efforts. IIWC (Indonesia International Workcamp) as a non-profit non- governmental Organization that organizes various international voluntary services continue to execute volunteerism program based on the framework of strengthening the values and spirit of volunteerism.
In August 2016, IIWC were welcoming three foreign volunteers from Japan. They are Takahashi Sana, Kimura Toshiya and Oguni Takaaki. A local volunteer named Nafisa Syahida Rahmadini from Sultan Agung Islamic University also join on. During the program, they helped by two camp leader from IIWC, Faisal and Ryan. Fortunately, they placed in Mangkang Work Camp, so they have main program related to marine environment, it is mangrove planting. Another programs ; urban farming, school visit, university visit, cross cultural understanding and fund rising. These programs in line with IIWC’s purposes related to the environmental, cultural, educational and world peace. They must be responsible toward the programs that have been planned above, not only individually but also as teamwork. That’s why, IIWC is always emphasizing the important of teamwork during workcamp.
In the first day, all volunteers got the orientation presented by IIWC staff. The staff explained about IIWC of PKBI and general of the project. To minimalize a cultural shock, the staff also told about Indonesian culture. Therefore, foreign volunteers that join on workcamp will easy to understand dealing with their new land. Question and answer session during orientation was interesting moment. It was a good opportunity to know each other and saw with half an eye each of characters. Indonesian culture is the main attraction for them. So, when the presenter explained about any Indonesian culture, one by one the volunteer will ask concerning with.
Fund rising became their first program. Coincide with CFD ( Car Free Day) in Semarang, all volunteers went to Semarang by public transportation at 6 a.m. Spirit of volunteerism seemed clearly visible at the first sight. In CFD, they did fund rising to add the budget of the seed of mangrove as the main project, because the seed we bought from the mangrove’s farmer. They also sold Nori (Japanese food) during fund rising and explain about the project to local people. So they buy the food in the same time they also contributed in our project to save the environment. But, there was a problem during fund rising program. Still, some people not really hear about their explanation, they thought that the volunteer just asked the money. Whereas, this program worked just for the shake of better environment.
Related to the educational program, all volunteers visited Diponegoro University to share about their project. Cross cultural between Indonesian and Japan also presented during visit. Then, they visited the Islamic school MA to share the culture of our volunteer, so the students can understand and get more knowledge about the foreign culture. The last, they visited the elementary school in the village near the camp site to share with children. This is like annual event in every workcamp in Mangkang. The enthusiasm of student is overwhelming, they are so talkative. It make the volunteers need to use extra voice and tone when explaining something to them. The values and spirit of volunteerism looked like really touch and stuck in their heart. So, they just enjoyed every moment they had.
Then, for environmental program, they had mangrove planting. The most important role of mangroves is that they protect vulnerable coastlines from wave action because and hold the soil together and prevent coastal erosion. After growing up, a mature mangrove forest acts as a sediment trap, thereby assisting in the accretion of coastal sediments and further adding to the protection of low-lying inland areas. So, through IIWC commitment, mangrove planting becomes the main program in Mangkang Workcamp in order to make our marine environment better. Another environmental program is urban farming. In this program, the volunteers planted the vegetables in the plastic and invited the villagers for joining us and have fun together in the same time they get enrichment about urban farming.
The value and spirit of volunteering is much deeper, much more fulfilling and much more important in contributing to environmental, educational, world peace than money can ever measure. It is not about money. And volunteering should not be measured that way. “Not everything that counts can be counted. And not everything that can be counted, counts.” — Albert Einstein.