Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Social Charity: How You Can Do More

As a society, I feel like we don't talk much about giving back or helping those in need. It's not a "sensitive" subject, it just tends to be overlooked. There seems to be a subconscious thought that in order to help people, it'd help if you were a mega-star philanthropist or if your life resembles that of Jane Goodall's or Mother Theresa's.

But we don't always have to go to the extremes to look for ways in helping others. When there's a hurricane and you look into the town, you'll see many people needing help. But actually, if you look around, or look in other parts of the world, there are always just as many people that need your help.

Causes range from disaster relief, wildlife conservation, helping third-world countries, cancer research, and many more. Below is a list of ways that you can start taking meaningful action, and doing more.

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1. Do more than just give.
Anyone can swipe a credit card or deliver a cash-filled envelope to a certain address and be done with it. You send off the money, pat yourself on the back for being such a generous modern-day philanthropist in the midst of your work, and get on with your life.

Giving is good. And people need to do more of it in order to establish a better world. I'm not going to start pointing fingers and accusing people of "not doing enough", but if your efforts of social charity only involve giving, maybe it wouldn't hurt to try doing more. Sure, a village could use those tokens from their anonymous sponsors, but sometimes, what NGOs and communities really need is a person that gives a helping hand. Your time and energy can be just as needed as your money and secondhand clothes.

YOU CAN START BY trying something easy, like passing out food, or giving them a smile. Beyond that, you can try engaging with them. Sit among them, start conversations, and get to know the people you're trying to help. These are the conversations that will most likely make a lasting effect on your experience. You can never truly know what someone needs until you sit down and talk with them.

Most of the time, the thing that these people need more than money or things, is change.

2. Care for your cause. 
People would already do a ton of research before donating a significant amount of money to a certain organization. But donations are not, expanding your knowledge on the cause will truly be helpful for your efforts.

Who do they partner with? How much have they accomplished and how much more are they doing now? What kind of impact has been made, and what kind of impact hasn't been?

Finding out everything you can will help you know more about the environment you're stepping into (if you're planning on going out onto the field), or it might just motivate you to let others know about what you're working towards, and invite them into action as well.

3. Get involved
After finding a cause that you're passionate for, don't be afraid to reach out to the groups working within it. Don't just wait to hear a pitch in a shopping mall; go out and look for it on your own! And when you join them, you have to be brave enough to connect to people. Part of being involved means putting yourself out there and doing as much as you can. Don't be afraid to ask them how you can lend a hand, because there's usually always going to be a need in something. 

4. Stay updated with the places you'd visited.
Anyone can make donations or send care packages, but the challenge is to really have a heart for the people in need. One of the ways is by keeping the contact details of the foundation, group, or location you'd visited, and taking note of them so you can stay updated on how they're doing, and whether or not you can offer any more help in the future. If you've been to several spots, make a list. You can directly contact them in your free time, or just keep tabs on their webpage if they have any. It reminds them (and yourself) of how devoted you are to the cause, and how you're keen on assisting them in nurturing their growth.

5. Join social charity events.
Most cities today would already have at least one charity foundation up and running, and there are probably already hundreds of organizations in your country alone. This calls for charity events! Some are pretty straight-forward (like donating blood, going on mission trips, visiting a children's hospital) but some others wrap it in a more entertaining event; like charity runs, fundraising fairs, etc. Keep your eyes open for any that might come near you and take part! You can be a volunteer, or just be there for the occasion to help raise the money. It's the simplest and most efficient way you can help.

(If you live in Surabaya like I do, I'd suggest referring to @exploresurabaya on Instagram, or this website for knowing about any upcoming events in our city!)

6. Plan your own!
If you happen to have your own organization/foundation you're trying to attract more attention to, or a cause where you can help raise awareness, plan your own event! Probably, you will need to already have/be involved in an organization with plenty of experience already, or have reliable partners for the cause/project.

Needless to say, the tools you use for planning said event will be equally as important. Planning an event is a lot of fun, but no easy feat. Eventbrite is a well-known event planning site, and their nonprofit fundraising tools are perfect to use for planning nonprofit events or fundraisers in any form! You can head over to their website where it's not only easy to navigate, but also very clear and informative.

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For personal purposes, I'd also written about one of my own experiences. I did three different small activities in three different places, all within the month of August 2017, but sharing about all three just didn't feel right. However, I wrote about one of those days in a separate page you can only access here. I didn't want to make a blog post and publish it felt a little too oversharing. Visit if you wish to read my short narrative on my experience, and see some photos. I might write about my other experiences someday, but for now, that'll have to do.

As always, I'll write again soon.








Thursday, August 31, 2017

Things I Need to Tell Myself (2)


August 11th 2017. 

It was a rainy afternoon in Bandung, and strangely enough, I'd found myself in a peculiar small cafe in the Dago area. Art installations, wooden furniture, and a pleasantly quiet atmosphere made me feel very much at home in this little place I randomly decided to visit. 

Alone, I had a table to myself, overlooking a view of mountains, trees, and hillsides from a distance. I'd ordered a warm, sweet drink, and my first thought was, I should've brought my book with me today. Making the most out of the situation, I simply sat still. I admired the sight of nature displayed in front of me, my fingers embraced the warmth of the cup I had in my hands, I felt the gentle mountain breeze sweep through the room, and then I paused.

A lot can happen in a pause. In this case, I paused and I began to reflect. What a whimsical year it's been (so far), and boy, what magnificent hopes and dreams I had for the next several months. Like any writer would, I decided to take note of them; all the thoughts, contemplations, and life lessons that started surfacing in my mind and came to me like that mountain breeze. The list below, unedited, is what I wrote down, in that rainy afternoon.

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1. The world doesn't stop for anybody. Time doesn't pause just because you need it to. 
So embrace this life of yours that doesn't stop moving. 
Because it's all you have, and it's all you can do.

2. Hot chocolate is good for the soul, and any health 
magazine that tells you otherwise is not worth your time.

3. Find a person who sees all of you and still wants that
You can't spend the rest of your life only being a part of who you are.

4. The rain is nature cleansing itself. 
We (and our activities and cities and "plans for the day") are just standing in the way.

5. Love is simple, life is complicated. 
That's why it becomes challenging for the two to simply co-exist.

6. You do not have to look, or talk, or live, or be, like everybody else.

7. Master the art of being alone without being lonely.

8. Different experiences come from different places and different people. 
In a pursuit of an interesting life, there is no use only sticking to what you know.

9. Write in a journal but make is as messy as your life feels like. 
Pretty is boring, make it annoyingly unreadable.

10. In this world, there will always be art that you cannot comprehend, 
the same way that there will always be people that you cannot understand.

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I'll write again soon.













Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Life Lately | Why I Haven't Been Writing


You can find many bloggers who come back from a weeks-long hiatus, and start off with a post explaining why they've been gone for so long. The reasons vary, but they usually fall along the lines of "feeling uninspired", "swept up in work", or "we just moved into our new apartment and everything has been so crazy!"

I, on the other hand, have no excuse.

August has been amazing. Recently, I'd just spent a week traveling out of town, in which there were many exciting and enriching experiences. Our country just celebrated our 72nd Independence Day, and I spent the whole day in the fun of celebrating. In a month, I've been catching up with distant cousins, high school friends, and also meeting new people. Many, many things happened in the past few weeks. It's been one of the best months I've had.

So honestly, I have tons of blogging material!

Yet I haven't brought myself to write a single word.

I tried writing poetry; it usually only works when I'm feeling something very deeply. Nothing came out. I tried piecing together words to create a poem, an ode to my country. Re-reading it was like tasting bread that'd gone bad. 

I should write about my travels! But as I landed in my hometown and took a few days of much-needed rest, I came out feeling immensely empty. It was like standing with a fully-functioning microphone in your hands, speakers on standby ready to blast your voice into the air, yet no words escape your lips.

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Writing is my therapy, and blogging is something that my soul simply aligns with. I love it with a passion, and have truly missed it after all this time; especially with all these unwritten stories circling my head. 

But more often than not, I find it a little... daunting.

In a previous post, I'd mentioned it as a "strange paradox"; identifying as an introvert but still sharing all my thoughts and honest feelings on the Internet. The thing about introverts? Whatever comes out of us, it's probably only our 20%. The other 80%, we keep stashed away in different pockets of our personality, shielded safely from the rest of the world.

Many have read my blog. Hundreds know where to find it, and an undescribable amount of people have access to it (hence, the Internet.) The last thing I want to do is to turn it into something I've never wanted it to become; a chamber of lies.

When I've written about hopes and dreams, yet still become terrified of the future, or when I've written about "confidence", yet I struggle day by day with trying to even like myself, I feel like failing already. It's no secret that I always care a bit too much about what others think of me, but building a facade around my insecurities is not how I want to be known. 

Another thing I also never want, is for my blog to make me vain. I am not the most important being in this world, and as much as I enjoy writing about self-discovery, I've found that there are other things yet to be discovered as well. Other experiences to invest in, other people to learn from, other things to bring you joy. I think taking a few weeks off of blogging have opened my eyes to at least that.

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As much as I want to keep writing in the hopes of inspiring people and sharing what I have, vulnerability is one of my biggest fears.

However, now, it's so strange to think that anyone can just click on a link and have access to all my deepest thoughts. Do I overshare on this website? Have I spoken too much? Should I stop writing about real emotions at all, and just focus on the more weightless stuff, like beauty and fashion and travel and books? 

In real life, I can do several things, but opening up to people is nearly an impossible task. Does that mean they can just find my blog and read all they want and the next day, they'll have me all figured out?

I remind myself repeatedly, it's just your 20%

But the timid little introvert living inside of me keeps reminding me as well;

that's still way too much.

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Perhaps this is me saying that I'm "back". Whatever that means. Or maybe it's me saying "I'll write when I'm ready". I still don't know; I guess time will tell.

In making this post, I've realized that after all this time, maybe it's not that I have nothing to say; it's that I have too much to say, that I end up not saying anything at all. The thought of putting myself out there again has become too frightening, that it's made me slowly inch back into my shell.

Maybe I'll "wait" for that inspiration and new courage to come, or maybe I'll just have to force it out of myself, even if it means writing like a toddler on training wheels, with repetitive words and tacky metaphors. But I have to start somewhere, and I know I'll start someday.

On the bright side, my life has not decreased. I know this post might have sounded a little melancholic, but I am the happiest I've been in a while. I'm very pleased with how this month is turning out so far. I am pushing forward in a better direction, even without talking about it all on my blog. In other words, I guess I've been too busy living.

And for that, I'm not even sorry.

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Thus marks the end of my rambling today. I can only hope that this 
makes sense to whoever reads it. Thank you for sticking by.
I'll see you around.