Community-based social work can be tough in Karachi. A lot of people want to help and can. But they do not know who is in need of assistance and how they can be reached.
Three young women initiated their online project, Volunteer Karachi (VK). Now communities and people who need help and those who can help are just a click away.
"The project started with the floods last year. There were so many people who wanted to help the survivors but had no idea how to. We gave these people opportunities to put across their services to the needy," said Saman Ansari, VK's founding member.
VK contacts non-profit and non-governmental organisations that may be on a look-out for volunteers. They post volunteering opportunities on the web. Their website, www.volunteerkarachi.com, also lets organisations make their profiles on the website and once approved, they can put up the volunteering opportunities by themselves.
For couch potatoes, the site allows volunteers from home. For example, you can make posters for an organisation's anti-sexual abuse drive and send them in. VK has flexible deadlines.
"This is all less time consuming. We understand that many people cannot pitch in months and years for one cause. But through this, volunteers can commit for a few days or for even a single day," said Butool Rizvi, an MBA student who joined the VK team two years ago.
Even though the complete project is being run by three people, it has several others who are volunteering to run the project itself. Founding member Nida Alvi said, "In this revolutionised world of technology, we want our initiative to be like social-networking sites where people update, instead of updating themselves with events, they post and promote volunteering opportunities."
Published in The Express Tribune, April 23rd, 2011.