Students at international schools are often strongly encouraged to do voluntary work as part of their extra-curricular activities.
Such work aims to help those people less well off, such as the poor, the handicapped or those having other difficulties.
It is good for us to serve as volunteers if we want to help the needy.
However, many students do such work only because they are forced to do so by their parents. They want their children to have the 'perfect' resume. This makes what they do in terms of voluntary work totally meaningless.
I think students should not be forced to do any voluntary work - merely encouraged. Students should decide to do voluntary work with their hearts - because they want to serve others. This way, the people who need help can have a warm feeling that those helping them are doing so willingly.
From the Editor
Thank you for your letter, Ho-ching. Lots of people believe that if you don't do things for the 'right reasons' it is best not to do them at all. But that is not really true.
If someone is going to give their time as a volunteer, wherever they help out will be happy to have them. What goes on in their minds does not make it any less worthwhile for the charity they help.
In Africa, there is a saying 'half a loaf of bread is better than none'. That applies here. Yes, it would be great if everyone loved to volunteer, and did so with gusto and passion. But just because they do not, it does not mean they will be useless.