ROTA–Qatar University Samaritans experienced volunteerism in Indonesia | Press Releases

ROTA–Qatar University Samaritans experienced volunteerism in Indonesia
24 May 2014

Nineteen student volunteers from Qatar University have embarked on a 9-day trip to Indonesia from April 10-18, 2014, to make a real difference to the lives of many students in Madrasah Ibtidaiyah and at the Community Learning Center in Yogyakarta.

Organized by Reach Out To Asia (ROTA) Qatar’s leading non-profit organization, the trip is a part of ROTA’s efforts aimed at fostering the spirit of volunteerism in Qatar. During the trip the volunteers participated in activities that engage with the local community and environment.

The initiative offered a unique service opportunity for volunteers to explore and expand their skills. During the trip, they have participated in a student-led activity and have delivered workshops in the following fields: sports for education, Arabic language, cultural exchange, computer literacy and Environment, in collaboration with ROTA’s Indonesian partner- Titian Foundation and sponsored by Vodafone-Qatar.

“At ROTA we believe in the impact that volunteering and community service can have on youth’s personal and professional development.  The ROTA Volunteer Program brings benefits to the community, it pushes the volunteers to get out of their comfort zone, and envision a bigger role in society and the world,” explains ROTA Executive Director Mr. Essa Al Mannai.

“The volunteers are motivated to connect with international communities, their sense of achievement inspiring them to further volunteerism. Through this experience they will develop and exercise cross-cultural communication skills, leadership, teamwork and  problem solving,” added Al Mannai.

ROTA’s relationship with the Titian Foundation began in 2006. In the aftermath of the May 2006 earthquake in Klaten District, ROTA supported the construction of a vocational school in the district and it continues to support it. The partnership with Titian Foundation continues to flourish and the foundation remains a big enthusiast of International Volunteer Trips.

The group have visited the Madrasah Ibtidaiyah (MI) and a Cultural Learning Centre (CLC), located at Bayat Village in Yogyakarta. The MI is an Islamic non-government school consists of 105 students, divided between grade 1 and grade 6. Kids attending MI, come from poor families, and many are to be considered like orphans since they live far from their parents.

The volunteers have delivered 4 workshops at the Madrasah Ibtidaiyah (MI) in the morning, and 2 workshops at the Cultural Learning Centre (CLC) in the afternoon. Besides this, volunteers were encouraged to participate in new experiences such as cultural activity with the local community. They have learned about the Silver making handicraft and wooden handicraft activity. Along that, volunteers enjoyed discovering the community’s daily life. Additionally, volunteers have visited several historical sites  

In preparation for the trip, ROTA conducted four orientation sessions, a month prior to the trip, for the volunteers in order to get them ready. The volunteers received briefings about ROTA projects/ school in Indonesia, and were also provided with a country briefing relating to Indonesian history, culture and other relevant information.

“Our activity program is designed to immerse the students in the local culture and ensure they benefit from a positive learning experience throughout the visit, while also leaving time to enjoy their visit to Indonesia,” said Hazem Idriss, ROTA’s Volunteers Outreach Specialist.

“At Qatar University, we are inspired by the conviction that volunteerism is a powerful means of engaging people in tackling development challenges worldwide. Volunteer service is in line with Arab values. It has been an integral part of my life. I was looking forward to my visit to Indonesia as I believe the experience gained there will enrich my life further," said Ali Al Abdulla, one of the volunteers from Qatar University.

Expressing similar feelings, another volunteer Ahmed Al Jaber, said,

“I have always wanted to play my part in voluntary service. No just because I think it is important but because it is something I enjoy and look forward to. I feel honored to be a part of this visit organized by ROTA as it was a rewarding experience that helped me do many things I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do otherwise.”

With their return to Qatar, ROTA volunteers and supporters will participate in a Reflection Event to discuss their personal experiences in Indonesia.

The ROTA Volunteer Program will keep on coordinating volunteer trips. Such trips are vital and they contribute to exposing locally based volunteers to ROTA projects around Asia, understanding the needs of underprivileged communities in other countries and fostering a spirit of volunteerism and community service among society in Qatar.