With social and environmental causes on the increase, many organizations are relying on the help of volunteers to fulfill their goals of bringing about positive change. Malak Yacout, co-founder of The Volunteer Circle, tells us about the platform connecting individuals to associations.
How did The Volunteer Circle start?
Three years ago, I was looking for a volunteer opportunity that matched my skills and interests but couldn’t find any. It was easier to apply for a visa and volunteer abroad than find an opportunity around me. Like many other people, I wanted to devote my time to helping and doing something meaningful. I had no connections to the non-profit sector, and where I had a few connections, they did not match the type of impact that I wanted to make. It did not make sense to me, since at that time, with the local and regional crisis, Lebanon’s organizations and non-profit groups assumed roles beyond their capabilities, particularly in the field of humanitarian assistance, development, and beyond. These organizations were — and still are — in dire need of extra support and a helping hand in order to move forward. As often as I tried to search, I couldn’t find any tool to help me channel my time, interests and skills into the right place. And that’s how The Volunteer Circle came to life!
What is your mission?
Connecting volunteers to organizations based on common criteria such as availability, skills, location and the type of impact the volunteers wish to make. Our daily mission is to provide an answer to the most common question we get asked: “Where can I help?” We turn local community needs into opportunities for youth and professionals to grow and contribute to shaping the development of their own country.
Tell us about the different kinds of organizations you support?
We work with organizations across all sectors, and in all regions in Lebanon. We also work with different types of organizations: local NGOs, international non-profits, social development centers, social enterprises, humanitarian agencies, etc. Any organization working to make a sustainable impact.
Who can volunteer?
Anyone can volunteer. Our Circle is extremely diverse and inclusive. From people who have never volunteered before, to more regular volunteers and everyone in between: young, old, men, women, people with special needs, travelers…you name it! We even have online volunteers supporting Lebanon’s local development from 42 countries across five continents.
However, to individually apply to a volunteer opportunity, you must be at least 15 years old.
What have you achieved so far, and what is your goal?
So far, our community has grown to connect 2,300 volunteers with opportunities across 135 organizations! We hope The Volunteer Circle grows to reach every cause and every need. Our goal is to extend this skill-sharing culture further in Lebanon and throughout the region. Our vision is to grow and promote humanitarian networking, while relaying the rich and beautiful story of Lebanon and the Middle East.
If you want to make a positive impact, but don’t how or where to start, join the Circle!