Small acts of altruism

The world’s geopolitical atmosphere can be overwhelming, with the crisis in Syria, urban jungle in Calais and the rise of far-right wing prejudicial ideology. However, I believe that small acts of kindness can make a great difference; our collective efforts have the ability to make a real impact.

I understand that it is daunting to start, especially amidst university studies and social commitments. Thus, I have devised a few methods to ease your transition, and to show you that even relatively simple actions, requiring moderate effort can be life-saving for someone else.

1. Creating our own charity collection box

We all have loose change at the bottom of pockets, why not place that forgotten change into a small collection jar and over the course of time fill it up. Then donate that to a charity of your choice.

2. Positive messages

A simple act of taking a few minutes to write positive messages, an inspirational quote or a few words from you can mean the world to people in need. Thus, UCL societies Amnesty International and Leading Women both provide this opportunity to brighten some else’s day with some kind words.

3. One-off volunteering

A great way to dip your feet in is to undertake one-off volunteering that just involves sacrificing an hour of your time, at a convenient location and day. Charities often host marathon and park runs, where you can volunteer as an event steward. Your role involves aiding the event organisation and hydrating the participants. Moreover, you can assist organised charity street collection or bake sales.

4. Volunteer regularly

Once you have found a cause you are passionate about, try to volunteer monthly or even bi-weekly. UCL Islamic society organises a homeless drive every week. This provides an opportunity to volunteer within an organised group and with your peers. Also, care homes throughout the UK are looking for volunteers to befriend their residents.

5. Join the volunteering society at university

Universities host an annual fresher fair with the additional volunteering fairs. This provides you with the opportunity to sample for yourself various charity-based societies, where you can assist in fundraising and awareness activities.

6. Mentor the next generation

There are many initiatives formed to help young adults from disadvantaged backgrounds, providing the opportunity to be part of an organisation that alleviates social inequality within the British education system. Coach Bright is a mentorship scheme that pairs current university students with children, aiding them with their studies. Yet, also helping them aspire and start to create a career of their own choosing regardless of background.

7. Stand up for other people’s rights

Attend a protest organised by the Solidarity with the Refugees or write to your local Member of Parliament, telling them to increase governmental involvement to alleviate the plight of the refugees. Be part of active movement, willing intuitional change.

Arisha Ahmed