The passing of time will always lead to change as aligned with technological progress and development of a country. The course of change too, produces new generations that are able to think critically and creatively in driving the world towards building a stronger development of human capital as in line with the country’s mission to produce more talented youth.
Undeniably true, universities and education institutions have progressed in grooming and producing more professionals and experts in various fields as a driving force towards becoming a modern country. But often, we keep forgetting the fact that most graduates today are lacking aesthetical values that shape their identity in our enthusiasm of promoting courses deemed to be the ‘chasing-after’ component for them to start a career.
Dr. Aizan Sofia Amin, Humanitarian Icon Islamic Relief Malaysia (IRM), a very much experienced volunteer in humanitarian activities since her early 20s. Speaking on behalf of young generations, Dr. Aizan who is also a person with disability (OKU) suffered from bone cancer which sacrificed her right leg.
Despite the disability she held years ago when she was 16, after the leg has been cut, her spirit was never shaken to devote herself to humanitarian activities. All thanks to her determination to give back to society. In other words, she wants the public to see individuals with physical disabilities are also able to contribute to the nation.
As Dr. Aizan claims, humanitarian works or activities are an action that we perform for the goodness of other human without hoping for any returns. According to a psychological concept, it is called altruism which puts an emphasis on the good deeds we perform with all sincerity towards other human being. It is believed to give calm towards the doer.
“I believe humanitarians works are all about the kindness we give to people in our surrounding for the sake of their happiness without hoping for something in return. This habit can be correlated to the concept of altruism in the context of psychology. The concept is diverse and not only limited to human being, but also involves all types of living things in the Earth such as animals,” she said when being interviewed.
When asked about her engagement in humanitarian activities that she got to join, Dr. Aizan stated that she has become a volunteer since her day at university for a small society. As she felt the contributions given to the community were quite as nothing as to take pride in, she tried venturing out into another initiative to then devote her time with humanitarian activities.
“I have been occupying my time with activities since university days. However, the experience was sort of limited. Then right after bachelor’s degree and in the middle to purse master’s degree, I took a major step to become a hardcore volunteer at National Cancer Council (MAKNA) with my mother as we share the same interest.”
At MAKNA, her experience was not revolved around just being a volunteer, she was granted the opportunity to polish up her skill to become a special speaker. In simple words, MAKNA groomed her skill and confidence.
“I can assure that my existence at MAKNA was something so precious as I went further beyond humanitarian activities. To add the point, I was groomed to become a speaker representing MAKNA as a cancer survivor to share my experience when I first caught up with the illness.
“With the involvement in all humanitarian activities, I feel, and am satisfied for being able to stand up and contribute to the society in spite of having physical disability which I see it as a challenge to do good deeds. Thus, through all these humanitarian activities, I have faith in myself that I am actually capable to make contributions with all the energy and time I used to sacrifice,” she strongly expressed in her statement.
Dr. Aizan believes her heart is tied to compassion, close to humanity by a single touch. When Dr. Aizan furthered her Doctorate studies in Glasgow, Scotland, opportunities were everywhere and she did not compromise any one of those chances but also spread wide her intention to help people.
“Among the things I’d never forget is, I took a drastic challenge along with another group of Malaysian students. We were given a task to collect funds in total of 2,000 Pound Sterling for a community programme.”
As she returned Malaysia, Dr. Aizan expanded and magnified her zone with IRM by connecting students from National University of Malaysia (UKM) to undergo industrial training, or internship programme at their office. Apart from that, she advocated herself by giving a special training course on how to interact with beneficiaries. This year, she was nominated as one of humanitarian icons of IRM. Her duty as a Senior Lecturer at Faculty of Social Science and Humanity UKM is utilised as such to contribute to community.
Asked about the engagement of students and youth in humanitarian activities, Dr. Aizan accentuated that each student from any college or university must compulsorily involve in humanitarian activities as it helps shape a person’s identity while simultaneously polish up communication skill and confidence to stand in the public.
“I also believe that our students are multi-talented and highly intelligent. However, what seems to concern us today, we found out that they are not given the right trust and opportunity to follow humanitarian activities. Worse, they are also undertrained to become the future leader. So, in order to tackle this problem, we should be able to empower leadership among the youth so in the future, more undergraduates can be the successor for the leaders we have today.”
“In terms of academic, students are also given the exposure on specific courses that comprise volunteering activities in hopes they will continuously make contributions and realise their responsibility.”
In addition to shaping their identity and polishing up self-confidence, students who frequently take part in humanitarian activities can raise their marketability before starting a career because it is viewed as an added-value to their resume apart from academic achievement.
“Among the significances as to why humanitarian activities are seen so relevant and valuable is that it can add more good reviews for students to start their career, not just the usual academic reference we always put in our resume.”
Advising future graduate who will undergo a new chapter after studies, Dr. Aizan is of the opinion that they should engage in as many humanitarian activities as possible for which the effort should start from down the bottom as no easy way is offered ahead in their life. Just as life, people are required to strive hard in order to achieve the dreams.