The most important building block of development: Volunteering

The main idea for this week’s article, as emphasized in the heading, the most important building block of a developed society rests against “volunteering”. For the sake of being clearer, based on the Turkish Language, building block means “the actual stone which holds the weight of a building”, but in volunteering terms it means “doing something without having any liability or obligation to do so”.

There are building blocks which help carry society. Some of these blocks like law, security, conscience, love and empathy are required as a few examples. As these may be obvious to many people, beyond these examples there is one building block that doesn’t always come to mind, which is “volunteering”. As I have now disclosed these, there are 3 questions I’d like to ask you:

1. Have you ever thought how important volunteering is for the welfare of society you live in?

2. Have you ever worked as a volunteer?

3. Are you doing volunteer work on a routine basis?

If you answered “yes” to all 3 of these questions, I say well done to you. However, if you answered “no” to all of the 3 questions, then it means we have got work to do. Please try and digest and read everything I have to say till the end.

For a society to get to a high level of development means all of its individuals would be highly educated. It’s important to not mix education with teaching. You can get a good level of teaching from good schools. However, education is something that you can get from birth up until your death. As I have previously mentioned in my other articles, education received between the ages of 2-10 years old is very critical. The education of parents and teachers is also very important. After receiving this education, a person’s life starts to take shape.


“To give without return” and “to take without giving”

The attitude “to give without return” is one of the most important factors one should want from life. The individuals who have reached this level of maturity form those building blocks of strength and of a developed society.

It is very difficult for societies where the main philosophy is to just shop to reach prosperity. This means that people from these societies are beyond the system and people who are beyond society go through mass struggles. The crimes level are also high.

There are also those individuals who are used to “to taking without giving”. They are the leeches of their families and societies. They are the blood suckers of the things the community needs. These people are also found in developed societies. If the ratio of these remain as little as possible, that society will quickly reach a better system of welfare.

In order to give something, doesn’t mean you have to receive something first. “To give without return” in other words, to be a volunteer can morally improve someone. Most “volunteers” describe what they do as “purifying their soul”. Even if I don’t agree so much with this, there is a truth that it does nurture morality. Additionally, volunteers fill the missing gaps found in society. This is because when things turn into material gains due to commercial trading, volunteers fulfil those things that are missing. Those in need or those that have been pushed out of society are this way taken care of and brought back into society for assimilation. 


The importance of learning from family

If you for a moment forget about the philosophical side, in developed countries the concept of volunteering is considered very important. The reason for this is as I said before, is to increase welfare and raise good willed and helpful individuals which is why it’s so valued. For example, in Western countries, very young children will participate in aid work with their families. As their brains are like sponges, these children will learn the notion of charity from a very young age. This will then remain in their future life and in their minds and forever be the kick to trigger them to help contribute to society.

However, in our beautiful country, as with everything else, there is a sense of carelessness. Nobody notices or cares for what anyone else is doing. Those parents that are very conscious and take their own initiative to educate their children - which the amount in our country is very little, participate with their children in volunteer work. The majority however will not breed this from their family and therefore, cannot transfer this onto the next generation. People generally give their children what they have learnt from their families. This cycle unfortunately continues for many generations.

At the end of this, those that can’t “give without return”, are those individuals who are raised as selfish individuals who remain very far from charitable work. If I need to be more specific, the businessmen who are the ones to rip off the other side generally identify with the “esnaf” (trader/shopkeeper) mentality and boast about being good businessmen. They put on a show like they are providing the needs of society, and continually act in this way but only carry the politics of serving their own pockets. There are doctors being raised that do not think of the psychology of sick people or don’t know how to show empathy. Children are being raised that know nothing beyond playing computer games and living in a virtual world, not being aware of what is going on around them. I can give you many more examples just like this. 


A surprising university experience

I’d like give you an example of a situation which shows just how low the level of tendency to volunteer in our country is by a situation I experienced: One day, I won’t disclose the name of the person, a very well-known university teacher from a university on the Asian side of Istanbul invited TIDER to their campus to speak of the things we do. The good willed teachers of the psychology class who try to inoculate the notion of volunteering to their students advised that for the sake of support, the attendance of this class was mandatory. In this lesson, for over two hours we presented and spoke of how we support the needs of society, what we do and how we can support them further. At the end, we asked “who would like to volunteer to help support us?” What do you think the reaction of the students were?

In a society where university students are the representatives of top level of education-teaching, with the approaches they have seen from their environment, they simply attended this class, had their names signed off on the roll and then were lost again. The theatre which was full at the beginning, slowly began to empty, and from a class of 200, there were only 40 students left. When we asked the question of who would like to be a volunteer, of 40, only 5 put their hand up. From that 5, only 2 called us back. Of those 2, only 1 came to help 1 time. Then they too disappeared. Although the teachers had advised that those who attend will be given bonuses, unfortunately this is how it was resulted. 


We have so much to do

At the end of the lesson, one of the psychology teachers (3 teachers of this subject attended), said this to us: “You gave an excellent presentation, thank you. However, unfortunately you saw the level of our students. We have so much to do”. This hurtful identification actually shows us the level of those who ‘study or don’t study’ in our society. Do you think that a society with youth who are so senseless to what’s happening around them, can increase the welfare to a developed country level?

Of course not.

As the teacher said, we have so much to do. After we made this analysis, I’d like to explain it to you from the half full side of the glass. Although in Turkey there is very little of them, once reaching a financially content level, there are some people which participate in charity work. Infact, the ones that come after leaving work at night or on the weekend are the ones that follow the CSO and commit to this kind of work for a long time. We need to increase the number of these unnamed heroes.


The aim is for millions of volunteers

Since we established TIDER in 2010, we have made serious efforts and infact increased the number of people supporting us into the thousands. If we can execute our actual vision, then this amount should increase to the millions.




Of course, the rate that are active and continually supporting is still quite low. We need to increase this percentage. I also believe that as time goes on, there will be an accelerated amount of people engaged. We will continue to do what we can to support this.

I can almost hear those reading this article asking, “what can we do to help?”. My response is; firstly, find a CSO that is within your interests and areas that you find exciting and interesting. For example, if you are sensitive about child education, you can choose to volunteer at establishments like Darussafaka or TEGV.

If you would like to help with waste prevention or to help those in need to stand on their own feet, then our doors at TIDER are wide open for you always. By supporting TIDER, you are indirectly helping other CSO’s too. Because CSO’s take on the role in solidarity in the CSO platform.

By the way, if this is your first time coming across the name TIDER, I would recommend you reading the article at this link:

What can you do at TIDER?

1. You can help support in the Support Market with the barcoding of goods, stacking shelves and depot controls. 






2. You can work as a volunteer in the area of HR. If you have studied in the areas of psychology or HR, and if you have experience, you can join in on the interviews and can support other education programs. 



3. You can do pro bono work, meaning work in the area of your profession. If you are a lawyer, you can help with contracts, if you are in PR, you can help with the communication side of the association. 



4. You can participate in the charity runs with Adim Adim.




5. You can support to publicise the Support Market and help assist with goods being saved from waste prevention. 




6. You can speak about TIDER to your friends and surroundings, distribute our brochures, and follow us on social media and help spread our posts. 




7. You can organise a volunteering day at the company you work at; you can make a team and come help to support. 




8. You can gather unwanted clothes from your workplace to donate to the TIDER clothing boxes which will be given to those in need.



For those that would like to be a volunteer at TIDER, please click on this link and complete the application form:

In a changing world, the 3. sector that we refer to as CSO are changing rapidly. The essential need for volunteering which is a must for CSO’s, meaning making effort to help society with no return, is also one of the building blocks of society. This way, the gaps will be filled, and all untouched problems will be solved.

For the welfare of our country to increase, lets become volunteers and encourage others to do so. Everything is so we can have a more livable world…

Support Market Volunteer Day Video:




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