Thoughts about volunteering and why it is important. Saw Jeremiah is a Volunteer in Foundation for Change and have been in Denmark as a part of exchanging cultural and volunteering knowledge with Danish volunteers.
What I learned when I was in Denmark
I love my country, Myanmar. It is my motherland filled with unique history, invariable cultural heritage and friendly people. In my childhood days, I saw most of Myanmar people live under fear, unable to express their opinions and stand up for what they believe in.
However, as we are now walking on the path of democracy, things become very different now. I became to realize I myself can become a change maker for my society. It is my mission as a youth to continue fighting for my beliefs, educate and mobilize social groups to make our voices heard and exercise our rights and democracy.
My name is Saw Jeremiah. I am a 20-years-old boy who grew up in Pathein, the fourth largest city in Myanmar. I am volunteering as a youth leader at Foundation for Change Myanmar till this May.
Among my experiences with Foundation for Change Myanmar, having a chance to go and visit Denmark would definitely be a highlight of my life. As one of the happiest countries in the world, Denmark is full of friendly and hospitable people which makes this democratic and happy country more alive.
What inspires me the most in Denmark is the young people. They are willing to make a better place not only for their country but also for the whole world. So, when I was in Denmark, I was thinking like, “oh! This is the mindset we need most in our country. This is how we can change our country to become a developed nation.”
I had a chance to listen to their inspirational stories and draw motivation, encouragement and inspiration from them. To be able to think critically and analytically, to be able to express our opinions, to be able to stand up for what we believe and to take risks and challenges positively: the skills I found most in Danish youths are the core values that I want to let every Myanmar young people embody.
When Danish people become volunteers for a certain cause, they take it very seriously even though they are not getting paid. They are punctual, active, and innovative in implementing their ideas and transforming them into reality. They also receive good support from the government, and everybody in Denmark considers volunteering as a selfless act everybody can’t do.
But in our home country “Myanmar”, volunteering is a culture most of Myanmar people are not familiar with. Whether your job pays you or not is a very big issue in Myanmar. Myanmar parents only want their children to look for jobs with a stable income but not really into volunteering jobs. Moreover, some Myanmar youths still think volunteering is a waste of time.
So, at first, you need to educate the older generations about volunteerism and then encourage youths to become the changemakers for their society. That is what Foundation for Change Myanmar had been doing now. We educate and empower youths to make the changes and projects they want to for their communities.
All in all, FFC gave me a chance to discover new things, explore new experiences and become a better person. It took me a lot of hard work and persistence from a boy from countryside to be where I am today. I hope my story will inspire all the young people in Myanmar to be themselves, to believe in themselves, to chase their wildest dreams and be a part of change for their society.