WHILE some people are looking to help, especially in times of dire need like during this Covid-19 pandemic, they may not know how or where to start.
Many local non-governmental organisations (NGOs) always welcome any extra hands they can get for their numerous charitable activities.
Established in 2014 under SOLS 24/7 Foundation, SOLS Health is a community mental health centre in Kuala Lumpur that offers accessible individual, family and community services with an emphasis on trauma-informed care and combating the stigma around mental health in Malaysia.
It needs volunteers for projects, centre management, human resources and research as well as advocacy teams.
SOLS Health research and advocacy director Dr Arman Rashid said: “Volunteering was not only about helping communities we serve, but also improving our own mental health with a renewed sense of purpose, meaning and motivation during the Covid-19 pandemic.”
The NGO recently embarked on a collaborative initiative with Malaysian Mental Health Association, Relate Malaysia and Mental Illness Awareness and Support Association (Miasa) to set up the Community Mental Health Fund for fundraising purpose to train volunteers in addressing the surge in mental health issues following the pandemic.
SOLS Health has also been offering subsidised care — under its “Jom Sembang” project — for individuals expressing pandemic stressors while facing financial difficulties.
They also provide employee assistance programmes for corporates, research on mental health issues among underserved communities and organise talks, workshops as well as outreach to raise awareness of mental health literacy, tools and resources.
To volunteer, apply at www.solshealth.org/volunteer and for details on the fund, visit https://reward.pitchin.my/projects/community-mental-health-fund
Kechara Soup Kitchen
Kechara’s volunteer roles include medical practitioners, interviewers, professional social workers and administrative assistants.
The NGO is in need of doctors, nurses and other medical personnel to provide medical care to those it serves.
Volunteers are also needed to interview potential recipients applying for food provisions.
Meanwhile, social workers are needed for comforting and helping those who are less fortunate.
As for administrative assistants, they will do data entry, inventory organisation and other office work.
Kechara’s operations director Justin Cheah said volunteers involved in street distribution of provisions must be at least 18 years old.
As for other activities, he said a volunteer could be as young as 12 but they must be accompanied by a guardian.
“Those volunteering with us for the first time are required to attend a briefing, ” he added.
If you want to volunteer with Kechara, send a WhatsApp message to 010-333 3260.
Women’s Aid Organisation
Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) is looking for volunteers to be crisis support officers for its toll-free hotline that is operated 24 hours a day.
Its head of programmes, Joanne Melissa Wong, said volunteers for this role would need to undergo five sessions of training online, followed by two practicums.
“The intensive training is essential to equip a volunteer with the necessary knowledge and confidence when attending to a real-life crisis situation, ” she said.
“Crisis support officers are able to work remotely from home so they don’t need to come into the centre.”
She added that a crisis support officer must be prepared to attend to high-risk cases such as survivors of abuse.
“The number of abuse cases surged during the movement control order last year, compared to 2019.“We saw it jump from about 200 to almost 900 cases, ” said Wong.
Other areas that people can volunteer for, in WAO, are job and skills training, mentoring survivors of domestic abuse and peer support.
“The women and children, who leave their abusive situations, come to us for a fresh start, so they need support.
“We need volunteers who can assist in their journey towards recovery, by offering emotional support and perhaps help them with language skills when they need to go for job interviews.
“All volunteers will have to go through a volunteer induction course, ” she said.
For details, visit wao.org.my
Befrienders Ipoh needs volunteers to man its free hotline offering confidential emotional support services.
As such, it will hold a two-day training programme on May 1 and 2 at the centre in Jalan Sybil Kathigasu, Taman Fair Park.
The day-long training runs from 9am to 5pm.
For details, call 012-512 1897 or 012-534 0063. — By AIDA AHMAD