There is a saying that goes “Do good for others, it will come back in unexpected ways.” Volunteering with a non-profit organisation or NGO can surely help you in more than just one way. While you provide support to the mission and long-term goals at an NGO, you will also gain invaluable soft and hard skills, among many other benefits of volunteering abroad. It’s a win-win situation.
Having said that, life as a volunteer in Malaysia can be challenging. It’s never easy moving to another country far away from home right? But as per the stories of many volunteers who venture into a new and meaningful journey, the reward is tenfold. You stand the chance of gaining a whole new family too, and you can’t put a price on that.
While Marvel has Captain America, Thor, Spiderman, Iron Man, and countless others, Malaysia has our very own heroes too. The only difference is, they aren’t fictional. They are Everyday Heroes endlessly striving to make a better living for the people and communities around them. If you are thinking “Where can I volunteer abroad?”, especially in Asia, then you my friend are in the right place.
Here are 13 different organisations here in Malaysia that empower people on a daily basis:
1. SOLS 24/7
SOLS 24/7 is an award-winning humanitarian organisation, committed to serve, educate and empower poor and underserved communities. Through various education and social empowerment programs, they work tirelessly towards transforming underserved communities to develop their true potential and break the cycle of poverty.
They operate diverse programmes in 4 core sectors; education, mental health, solar energy, and technology. With such diverse areas, you can definitely find a position that aligns with your expertise. Get training and experience on real projects and watch how your hard work has a direct impact on other people’s lives. You will also get to learn from a large team of extremely talented and experienced people.
It was 1985. Malaysia did not have a law against domestic violence abuse nor adequate protections for survivors of such abuse. The laws against rape were archaic and discouraged survivors from filing reports. Other “women’s issues” were seen as private affairs and not as matters of public policy. That is when AWAM started. They envision a just, democratic, and equitable society where all persons, in particular women, are treated with respect and are free from all forms of violence and discrimination. AWAM is a proud feminist organisation committed to improving the lives of women in Malaysia.
Despite having major milestones, they are reminded of how much remains to be done and are determined to persist in the struggle for a better and more equal Malaysia. All the feminists reading this – this is the place for you to volunteer at. Otherwise, follow them on Facebook and help sign petitions that will indefinitely lead us to a better nation.
MyKasih Foundation is a non-profit organisation that provides food aid, health awareness and financial literacy programmes, children’s education, and skills training programmes to less fortunate Malaysians. Established in 2009 by Tan Sri Dr Ngau Boon Keat and wife, their mission is to establish loving & caring neighbourhoods and break the cycle of poverty.
As MyKasih Foundation grows, so does their manpower needs. Any contribution to MyKasih Foundation will make a difference in the lives of many. If you are keen to volunteer with MyKasih Foundation, please email [email protected]. A dedicated Programmes Manager will match volunteers with available tasks or activities to be completed.
4. Agathians Shelter
Can you imagine life without basic, human needs such as shelter, food and education? Unfortunately, this is the case for many in Malaysia. And that is the very reason why Agathians Shelter exists. In this orphanage home, they provide their children with these needs and catch them up with the education from missed years of schooling. Agathians Shelter was founded by Mr. Siva Balan in an attempt to rescue 8 boys from an illegal orphanage that closed down in 2003.
Currently, they have 40 boys ranging between 5-20 years old, and help is always needed. As a volunteer here, you can either teach (English, mathematics, science, & Bahasa Malaysia), fundraise, or if you are a doctor, fulfil their medical needs!
Visit www.agathians.org and show them some love by volunteering.
Malaysian Social Research Institute (MSRI) is primarily a service delivery NGO working with refugee and asylum-seeker communities whose country of origins are those within the Middle Eastern, Central Asian and African regions; which include Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine, Syria, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. Their services focus on education, health, livelihood and emergency support.
MSRI has 3 core programmes, namely an education programme for children (from 4 to 18 years of age) and adults, a family health programme offering primary healthcare, mental health and outreach services, and a community service programme offering vocational training, livelihood and support services ranging from emergency support to case management.
What MSRI expects from their volunteers is to uphold their mission & objectives, deliver results with a high level of compassion, and be sincere! What you will get volunteering with them is relevant training, welfare & security on missions, and an instilled sense of professionalism.
6. WWF Malaysia
Who doesn’t know what WWF is? (Not the World Wrestling Federation, in this instance) However, did you know that they started as a two-person organisation? Today, they have close to 200 people! WWF’s mission is to stop the degradation of the planet’s natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by:
- conserving the world’s biological diversity
- ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable
- promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption
If you are an outgoing and enthusiastic person, with a passion to volunteer for wildlife and the environment, you might want to consider WWF Malaysia! The opportunity will give you the experience to fundraise and build awareness of their campaigns and programmes.
See more organisations that fight for the welfare of animals here.
Just as fearless as their name sounds, the EcoKnights strive to bring environmental educational interventions by utilising their own scientific research and studies to help advance the Malaysian mindset. They are raising their awareness year by year with creative campaigns and educational events.
What’s awesome about the Eco-Knights is that they organise really cool festivals around Malaysia such as the Kuala Lumpur Eco Film Festival (KLEFF). EcoKnights also keep up their community engagement by organising workshops and initiatives like Project H20 which helps deliver safe drinking water to villagers on the island of Mantanani (Sabah).
At this NGO they are always receptive to interested individuals and potential eco-knights who share their values and wouldn’t mind contributing their time or efforts towards a satisfying cause. In fact, if you’re extremely excited about becoming an eco-knight, you can actually volunteer with them which will dramatically intensify your existing environmental knowledge. Nevertheless, if not, you can always like them on Facebook to subscribe and share their future activities.
See more organisations that help environmental conservation here.
8. UNICEF Malaysia
Is UNICEF the first organisation that comes to mind when you hear the term NGO? That’s how powerful and impactful they have been ever since their inception in 1946.
Since 1954, UNICEF has joined forces with the government and the people of Malaysia to transform the lives of children across the nation. They have helped achieve improvements in health, nutrition, water and sanitation, formal and informal education as well as welfare services for children in rural and poor urban areas.
“Change for some children is good. Change for every child is better. This is the reason why we want to make sure solutions will bring lasting change to the lives of all children. Not just a few, but all of them. Not just now, but forever.” – from the UNICEF website
Follow them on Facebook for their impactful stories and volunteering opportunities.
9. Amnesty International Malaysia
It was 1961 when two Portuguese students were imprisoned for raising a toast to freedom, and British lawyer, Pete Benenson published an article titled “The Forgotten Prisoners” in the Observer newspaper. The article provoked a remarkable response and was reprinted in newspapers across the world. That was the inception of Amnesty International. It started with the outrage and courage of Peter Benenson.
Amnesty International Malaysia plays a crucial role in shedding a light on human rights infringements in the country and globally. If you are wondering how you can effectively apply your passion for human rights whilst based in Malaysia, Amnesty International Malaysia may be just the place for you. See here for available opportunities.
10. MERCY Malaysia
During the raging war in Kosovo in 1999, thousands of lives were lost and suffering was everywhere. That was when Dr. Jemilah Mahmood, an obstetrician & gynaecologist was moved to volunteer with the medical services. She formed the Malaysian Medical Relief Society (MERCY Malaysia) with some like-minded friends because no organisation at the time was ready to support international crises.
In the last two decades, they have reached out to over 32 countries and provided humanitarian services such as rehabilitation and recovery, mitigation and prevention, and preparedness.
Volunteering with MERCY Malaysia would involve helping out in daily administrative work, or on field missions in disaster-affected areas. Click here to start making a difference with them.
11. World Vision Malaysia
World Vision is an international Christian humanitarian organisation dedicated to working with children and families to overcome extreme poverty and injustice. They promote human transformation, seek justice for the oppressed and demonstrate the love of God for everyone, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. It was founded in 1950 by Dr. Bob Pierce and today they have over 45,000 staff members worldwide working diligently to provide humanitarian support to the poor and oppressed.
Volunteering opportunities with them include administrative work at the office like answering calls, data entry etc whereas their events department might require you to speak to the public, assist in setting up and tearing down exhibition booths.
12. Impact Malaysia
Impact Malaysia envisions a sustainable and measurable social impact ecosystem driven by youth to bring meaningful and lasting change in communities. They are able to bridge this gap of social change using three things:
- Impact Through Technology – Connect youths to non-profit technological solution providers and eventually getting them to transfer skills to communities.
- Impact Through Community – Enable community-based and community-driven social projects, especially by youth.
- Impact Through Business – Allocating funds and manpower of businesses to communities.
Born in 1994, MAKNA (Majlis Kanser Nasional) is a non-profit social enterprise that mobilises resources in order to provide curative, preventive, research & support services to cancer patients and their families. Every year, they help over 10,000 patients, that’s around 28 people per day! “A seed once planted by Dato Mohd Farid Ariffin is now a tree of meaning to others,” is how the heroes from MAKNA describes this amazing organisation.
The smallest contribution can mean the difference between life and death to many patients. Volunteer abroad with Makna to see the magnitude of the work they do and get an idea of what it means to care for others.
Helping one person might not change the world, but it could change the world for one person. Do you want to change people’s lives? Don’t hesitate. Volunteer abroad today with one of the esteemed NGOs listed above. Who knows, it might also change your life.
Read more on Volunteering in Asia:
- Voluntourism – What’s Wrong With It
- 5 Volunteering Stereotypes You Should Be Aware Of
- Volunteers: Does Your Work Matter?
- 5 Ways to Volunteer in Malaysia You Should Know
- Volunteering: The Battle Between Money Vs. Meaning
- Selecting The Best Organisation to Volunteer With
- How to Prepare to Volunteer in Asia
- 7 Things You Should Know Before Volunteering
- The Best Countries in Asia for Volunteering
- Discovering Malaysian Culture While Volunteering