Have you ever experienced a warm fuzzy feeling inside when you make a donation, stop to help someone who is asking for directions or hold the door open for others?
This feeling is known as a “helper’s high”, where helping others releases “feel-good” neurotransmitters in the brain, leading to increased self-esteem, lower stress levels and a longer life. Consider it our biological reward for being kind!
So if you’re passionate about dedicating your free time to some worthy causes (and want a boost of euphoria at the same time!), here are 14 volunteer opportunities you can explore in Malaysia. Grab your cape and assemble your dream team — you’ll be feeling invincible in no time.
From advocating women’s rights to giving refugees access to education, these organisations are looking for helping hands to assist them in their quest to protect human rights.
The WAO is one of the leading women’s rights non-governmental organisations in the country based in Petaling Jaya, Selangor. They provide a helpline for abused women, offer counselling and shelter to victims and assist them in obtaining protection from governmental agencies against abusers.
WAO has a comprehensive volunteering programme where anyone can explore a myriad of roles such as crisis support officer, child care centre administrator and researcher for the Advocacy Team. WAO also welcomes interns to organise activities for women and children, teach languages and work on lobbying for women’s rights.
Interested in contributing to the feminist spirit? Sign up here!
AWAM is synonymous with the fight for equal rights and against gender-based violence in the country. Volunteers are needed to maintain their resource library, update membership lists and help with event documentation. AWAM accepts pre-university and university students as well as fresh graduates for interns.
The experience I gained from my time at AWAM has made me realise how pertinent advocacy work is in challenging the status quo, and in working towards a more inclusive society for all genders. – Jasmine Gomez, 22
Interested in making a difference? Contact the Manager at [email protected].
The UNHCR works to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees and asylum seekers and help them rebuild their lives.
The Malaysian chapter of the international organisation mostly engages volunteers to teach children at refugee centres for 2 to 4 hours a week for a minimum of 6 months. There are also opportunities for volunteers with specialised skills, such as graphic design, event management, writing and marketing at the UNHCR office. However, if you are not able to visit the office, you can also volunteer your skills online.
I taught Maths to Burmese refugee children between Year 2 and Year 7. The refugee living conditions was an absolute eye-opener for me. With the little these kids had, they were the happiest, kindest and most determined children I have ever met. – Leya Anna Thomas, 24
SUKA Society is an NGO that protects and preserves the best interest of children who are marginalised or trapped in crisis situations.
Volunteers are needed to run weekly activities to help victims of labour and sex trafficking cope with the effects of their abuse, as well as to help conduct fundraising events and raise awareness for their protection and care.
If you’re game to help these people reclaim their lives, sign up here!
Believe it or not, this NGO was started by a group of 18-year-olds who are passionate about providing education to refugee children, who otherwise would not have access to this basic human right.
Refuge for the Refugees welcomes volunteers of all ages regardless of experience to teach at refugee schools across Kuala Lumpur and the Klang Valley.
Think you’re the perfect person for the job? Drop them an email here!
Orphanages and Homes
These organisations provide a safe haven for mistreated children and differently-abled adults. They are looking for people to help enrich the lives of those in their care.
This welfare home in Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur provides shelter for underprivileged and abused children, including those from alcoholic and drug-addicted families.
The home is looking for volunteers to teach beginner level Mathematics and Bahasa Malaysia to primary and secondary school students. Teaching guidance will be given and no prior experience is required! Classes are held every Friday from 8pm-10pm and Sunday from 4.30pm-6.30pm. Volunteers are invited to come whenever they’re free.
If you think you’re the teacher type, contact Charis at 017-515 4915.
#7. PJ Caring Home
This nursing home for the mentally challenged is situated at Jalan Othman, Petaling Jaya and houses 140 residents in 3 homes. Despite their situation, residents are encouraged to lead a normal life, interact with members of society and even work outside the home.
Volunteers are encouraged to visit the home to help with cleaning the surroundings as well as to spread cheer to the residents.
If you are the ray of sunshine they need, contact Mr Uthaya Perumal at 03-7785 2997.
Unbridled development is almost always synonymous with the destruction of our environment. These organisations are doing what they can to help Mother Nature get back on her feet.
WWF-Malaysia is the Malaysian wing of the world’s leading organisation in wildlife conservation.
If you’re passionate about the environment, WWF-Malaysia is looking for volunteers to help fundraise for the organisation, increase awareness of their campaigns and programmes, as well as to recruit more individuals to expand their donor base.
Think you’re game for it? Register here!
MareCet is a non-profit NGO dedicated to the research and conservation of marine mammals in Malaysia, particularly dolphins in Langkawi, Kedah and dugongs in Johor.
Volunteers are taken on field trips with the team to measure water conditions and take photographs of the dolphins. However, if you’re passionate about these friendly sea creatures but feel wary about the choppy seas, don’t worry! MareCet also engages volunteers for administrative work at their office.
With MareCet, I learnt to measure water salinity and temperature and note-taking under pressure. The last day of the research where we sighted Irrawaddy Dolphins was definitely the highlight of the trip. I truly had one of the best times of my life with the team and would highly recommend more to volunteer with them. — Saliza Awang Bono, 23
SEATRU studies the biology and ecology of sea turtles in order to determine the threats to their survival and how to ensure the proliferation of their species.
This research unit has an extensive volunteer programme that lasts a minimum of 8 days. During the programme, which takes place at Pulau Redang, Terengganu, volunteers will be required to carry out hourly beach patrols, clean up the beach and monitor turtle nests to ensure maximum hatchling production.
Mahatma Gandhi once said, “The greatness of a nation can be determined by the way its animals are treated.” These animal shelters are rallying people to help them care for the vulnerable and helpless creatures in our midst.
If you’re mad about man’s best friend, this could be just the thing for you!
Lost Animal Souls Shelter is a non-profit welfare organisation based in Bestari Jaya, Kuala Selangor. It is currently responsible for housing over 250 abandoned and rescued dogs. Volunteers are required to help bathe the furry friends in their care and clean their enclosures and surrounding areas.
If you’re interested, drop them an email [email protected].
#12. Fur Kids Farm
This non-profit charity situated in Seremban, Negeri Sembilan is on a mission to rescue, rehabilitate and rehome injured and abused animals.
The team is currently looking for volunteers to help with online fundraising, creating videos and organising fundraising events. They are also looking to assemble a corporate approach team to enlist corporate entities to sign up for their animal sponsorship programme.
Contact them through their Facebook page if you’d like to help these cute and cuddly animals find their forever homes!
Homeless and Hungry
Often victims of poverty or social exclusion, homeless people are left to fend for themselves in a state of indignity for months and even years on end. Luckily, the groups below exist and are made up of volunteers helping to make each day a little easier for those in need.
#13. Street Feeders of KL
The Street Feeders of KL roam the streets of Kuala Lumpur to provide food and other necessities to the homeless. The team meets sporadically at the Central Market car park in the city where volunteers will be briefed on their tasks. This typically involves distributing care packages and engaging with people in need.
This initiative helmed by Mr Deep Singh consists of a community of volunteers who congregate every Friday night at the Gurdwara Sahib Police in Jalan Parlimen, Kuala Lumpur to pack and distribute food to a hefty 750-odd homeless people around Kota Raya, Pudu.
My friends and I volunteered with the Nanak Community Kitchen 4 times last year. Each time, we packed the food prepared by Mr Deep and distributed them to the homeless around Pudu area. I was deeply saddened by the plight of these individuals. It was a very touching experience. – Sukhvinder Singh Sandhu, 25
If you and your friends are interested to lend a helping hand, drop them a message on their Facebook page.
Lending a small helping hand may not seem like such a big deal in the greater scheme of things, but a little goes a long way for those in need. The first step to changing the world begins with you, so go out and do some good!