While many young people think of finding paying jobs directly after completing their studies, which may actually not be there, very few think of the possibility of first volunteering as they keep on with the job hunt. I happen to be one of the few who mastered the trick behind volunteering even before I completed my Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Economics at Kyambogo University.
I began volunteering with 40 Days over 40 smiles in my final year in February 2018. My sister shared with me a call for applicants for volunteering, which I responded to. I also shared it with my coursemates.
I applied and within a short notice, I was called for an interview and I was able to join as a 4040 intern in the inaugural cohort. This was not a paid job so many of my friends shunned the opportunity because they were not willing to sacrifice their time and energy without any pay.
However, I never looked at the remunerations as they did but instead I continued volunteering on Fridays under the Angaza programme as I was still at university.
I continued volunteering even after leaving university. After university, I never considered myself unemployed because I was actively doing charity work as many of my colleagues were home doing nothing. This pushed me to work hard to make a difference and make those who shunned the opportunity admire me.
I should say in just six months, volunteering has exposed me to a number of opportunities for my career and personal growth through career mentorship and direct hands on learning.
Enjoying the benefits
I was able to join Reignite Africa as a fellow, which I got to know about from 4040 where I have met many amazing people who have greatly inspired me and given me more reasons to take advantage of the volunteering opportunities, follow my passion, stand out of the crowd as well as an opportunity to market myself and my art work.
With my volunteering background, I have also been able to join a utility company as a graduate trainee. Here, I have met most of the people I always wished to work with.
My advice to fellow youth who are out there at university and those who are looking for jobs is that the world is not interested in what you say you can do but instead in what you say you have done and what you are doing.
Everyone can graduate with a honours degree, so you have to be different from the rest by doing something different. Find a company you wish to work for, walk in and ask for an opportunity to volunteer, use the Internet to look out for volunteering advertisements and try out your luck.
You never know the opportunities you may get from what you do.
I would rather work as I learn and do not get paid than sitting home and do not learn anything yet I am not getting paid as well. Look out for the experience by volunteering.