There is a reason why we were born. There is a reason why we walk the surface of the Earth. If you are thinking about Abraham Maslow’s ‘Hierarchy of Needs,’ you are quite right. Human beings were put on the planet to live through the individual stages of Maslow’s pyramid to reach the ultimate stage of self-actualisation. But what do you learn and actualise once you reach the stage?
Is it money, fame, and power that you have been aspiring for all this while? I mean it is great if that is all your heart craves for. We all need money to survive in this challenging world. However, the aspect that I am talking about here is something that goes beyond money. In order to investigate this very aspect, we need to trace our steps back to the beginning of this article. Human beings were put on this Earth for a purpose- the purpose being that of serving other human beings. The idea might seem too mawkish or even frivolous to be taken seriously. But ask yourselves; what is life is not lived for those who thrive on the other side of privilege?
Is There Really An Ideal World?
An ideal world would be where everyone is treated equally, and everyone gets an equal share of the cake. But how often does that happen? How often is health care given to everyone? Racism, sexism, and homophobia make up the air more than the oxygen we breathe in to live. Every day a non-binary individual is thrashed and bullied for merely walking on the streets for living a certain way. Equality is only a concept that we can only imagine of, because if that were the case, five teenage boys would not have been wrongfully implicated in the Trisha Meili case, in spite of absolutely zero presence of medical evidence that could incriminate them. Their fatal flaw? They were coloured, and the victim was a white female. At times as such, when people spew hatred at the drop of their hats and bigots rule the world, it is the sacred duty of the privileged sections to uplift the conditions of those not so blessed with a comfortable life. There are children starving on the streets due to political unrest or poverty. There are parents who are being coaxed by their destitution to send their 5-year olds to mine mica at the ends of the Earth required to add lustre to the cosmetics used by the privileged class who do not even care about the existence of these kids.
Of course, you need your money, and you need to maintain the shimmering lifestyle that you have, but maybe the world could use some help too. This is where the topic of NGOs comes into the picture. I am in no way trying to imply that you should leave your job that pays you over six figures and make a career in social services. However, there are always ways to make a contribution. But for the ones really interested in foraying into this humble sector, here are a few tips to get you started. If you are feeling lost today, do not let that deter your spirit. It is a good sign. Being lost is the only way you can find yourself. Therefore, without further ado, let us get started.
Unlearn and Be Inclusive:
Learning is cool, but have you tried unlearning? You might be thinking why it is important to unlearn what we have been learning all our lives. The answer to that is, we must wash our hands off all the conditioning that society has been doing to us since our birth. There is nothing completely right or completely wrong; instead, we merely exist on the realms of grey. We first need to change the way we think and approach to things even before forming a vague ambition of getting into social services.
Volunteer and Intern:
If you think NGOs are fun and have a steady way of working, you would be only fooling yourself. It is not a rosy road for an NGO and for people who work there. People slog day in and day out to get things done, get the funds together, and reach out to sponsors. In order to get a clear picture of how NGOs work and what exactly you are signing up for, you need the first-hand experience.
Work in an NGO as an intern and learn the ropes of it. By the time you finish your degree, you will have a clear idea about which area you would want to take up in an NGO. Therefore, volunteering and interning serve as an excellent foundation for your career. Also, it shall build contacts and great work experience so that when you appear for an interview, you are confident and are able to crack it.
Do Not Only Aim For The Big Fish:
Working for organisations like CRY and UNICEF sounds great. True that! But do not just aim for these big names. Start low if you have to. It is not the name that matters. Working in an NGO should purely come to you from your heart and not the head. Making money is essential, but always remember that it is the passion that should drive you for this kind of work and not some ulterior motive.
You can get involved with an NGO with any graduation degree, but people with a strong foothold in Human Rights have more chances to make it into a better position of work. A legal degree also works great if you want to look after the legal intricacies that run an NGO. However, do not be disheartened if you do not have a degree in any of the above. Your passion, dedication, and contribution matter more than a mere piece of paper.
There is a whole different world waiting for you out there if you really want to get into a career of social services. Making money and a career out of social services will not be easy, but if you take injustice and inequality personally and want to do something that can change the world for the better, this might be the right choice for you. No matter how small your contribution is, somewhere someone’s life is being bettered because of you. The Butterfly Effect is not a myth!
Gaby Alexander is a mom, writer, and an outreach guest blogger who works closely with other local mom/pop businesses.
Over to you
Share your thoughts about working at a Nonprofit in the comment section below. I’m really looking forward to reading your comments.