I witnessed all kinds and shapes of poverty: children living on the streets, begging for money or food, working in laborious jobs and dying because they can’t get medical care, access to education or even clean water and food.
Healthcare and Education are the two things I want to focus on. I believe that these two aspects of life should be a basic human right indeed, rather than a luxurious privilege that only people with money can afford. To do anything big and drastic, I know I would need all knowledge I can gain to be able to address the issues in those fields that need to be resolved. I am doing that now by keeping myself updated with the latest studies and news currently happening. I find out that it also helps whenever I get hands on experience and I took the first step by joining Mercy Malaysia and Care2Run. I am planning to take part in other NGOs in the coming weeks to ensure that I gain as much knowledge and experience as I can. So that one day there will be my own space wherein medical needs and education can be more accessible to the underprivileged.
It all started back in 2011 when I had my first volunteering experience at a public school in the Philippines. As a kid, I was blessed to have enough or even plethora of care and exposure of any kind. When I was in Libya, I wasn’t aware of the other side of the world where poverty takes major place. And then we moved to the Philippines in 2011 and it completely changed me and how I see the world. I witnessed all kinds and shapes of poverty – children living on the streets, begging for money or food, working in laborious jobs, dying because they can’t get medical care, access to education or even to basic necessities such as clean water and food.
My own childhood was spent in a very positive and uplifting environment. My parents never showed us any negative traits, they would never even swear or say any mean things. It was embossed in my mind again and again that as a person, we have to do good and be good. They did not teach me anything about religion, instead, they made sure that I understood all moral values being a role model to me. I owe my optimism and positivity to them.
The most life-changing experience for me was my time at Monash University. There I met so many amazing people from all backgrounds, all countries, all religions. They showed me how beautiful diversified world is. At the university, as studies consume most of your time, you actually do not get a lot of spare time to do all the extracurricular activities you want to do. So my biggest advice is to choose activities that will change you as a person – something wherein you can learn real-life values.
I chose Monash University Volunteer Program, cause volunteering gives more meaning to my life. I started out as a volunteer, then a liaison officer for 2 NGOs and ended up it as an NGO coordinator for 7 NGOs. During that period, I got the chance to help refugees, abused and abandoned children, uniquely abled adults and many more. Being confined to a conservative culture in Libya, I was only exposed to that particular way of living. Not knowing what other cultures, traditions, religions, sexualities have to offer! This truly changed me in a good way and it ignited my passion to make even bigger impact. It made me realize that there is always a way to help someone. Just even simply by teaching children basic skills in Math, English, IT, which can empower them and make them to be more prepared for a better future. It only takes one step, one initiative at one time to make a difference.
I always like getting out of my comfort zone to learn and gain new skills and knowledge. Currently, I am working in Sales & Marketing Department in a tech startup in Malaysia. It may sound cliche, but it honestly all happened in God’s perfect timing. This opportunity came at the most unexpected time for me, when I wasn’t even searching for it. I’m very adventurous and a huge risk taker. I always say, ‘life is short’, so I don’t want to regret not giving myself a chance to gain more knowledge, even if it’s a completely different field. At the end of the day, sales is sales, marketing is marketing, no matter what product or service it involves, it’s the honed skills that matter. It’s definitely not easy, but I trust it’s going to be worthy.
I believe that education is for everyone and anyone can be an educator. Given the refugee crisis taking place in so many countries right now, I am urging everyone to contribute in whatever way possible. One simplest way to help is volunteering by teaching refugees in your respective country. UNHCR partners up with many teaching NGOs and it is one of the best platforms to look into when you’re looking for a trustworthy organisation.
My biggest dream in life is to become a doctor because, in that way, I can truly give my all to make a difference by improving the healthcare system worldwide; to make medical care as accessible as basic water or food. So many organisations such as WHO, Mercy, Peace Change Initiative, Zipline and many more are already working on the current issues all over the globe and we can all help them to achieve the “impossible”. Some may say I’m a dreamer, that I’m too optimistic, but as the law of attraction states, “what you think you become, what you imagine you create.” Medical needs can be more accessible to the underprivileged.
Libya is still under turmoil right now and I have experienced first-hand how senseless wars can displace you and steal your access to basic human rights. The Philippines is still struggling with its overpopulation and extreme poverty and I have seen first-hand how these unfortunate circumstances can lead to so many preventable deaths. It may not be as simple as it sounds, but I am optimistic that one day, education and healthcare can be affordable and accessible to the 7.6 billion people on this planet despite our differences.
I read one of Robin Sharma’s book and picked up one line I could never get out of my mind, which is “Kindness, quite simply, is the rent we must pay for the space we occupy on this planet.” I live by these words. If only everyone was kinder to each other, this world would be a much better place to live in. It doesn’t take much to be kind, all you need is empathy – to always put yourself into the other person’s shoes before saying or doing anything.
Amira Ammar, Libya & Philippines.