There’s no denial of the fact that 2020 has been an extremely difficult year for all of us, but if we pause and think – the coronavirus pandemic has surely taught us some valuable lessons that we’ll all carry for the rest of our lives. It has taught us to respect Mother Nature and be responsible for our own actions; to value time and feel grateful for all that we have; to appreciate our well-being and take care of our health. During the entire phase of global lockdown, each one of us has learned to focus more on living in the moment – and as we’re taking baby steps back to the ‘new normal’, let’s make an effort to spread our helping hands for all those who aren’t as privileged as us.

Of course, we know that you wish to do good in 2021 and there can be various ways in which you can make a difference. Also, when we talk about a positive change, it’s not just about the contributions you make to the outside world, but also your inner changes that happen over time. In the coming year, follow these incredible ways and make a difference in your life as well as in others’.

1. Be a responsible traveler and contribute towards nature’s well being

As tourism is flourishing immensely, travelers like us are getting better options and opportunities to explore places that weren’t accessible even half a century ago. But this has negative impacts as well. Due to a rapid increase in footfall in the coastal destinations, the beaches are getting over-polluted and its wildlife on the shores are highly affected. People often get reluctant and throw their plastic wastes in the seawater, which is causing harm to marine life.

In other places, jungles are been destroyed to make the place for hotels and resorts. A considerable rise in the temperature is leading to the melting of glaciers, destroying the corals, and affecting animal life. In most parts of the world, there is a severe wastage of food and food resources.

As a responsible traveler, you can play your part by not doing anything that harms Mother Nature. You can enlighten your fellow travelers about the same. You can also be a volunteer for a conservation project and actively participate in taking care of the animals, planting trees, etc. Not only will it give you a sense of satisfaction, but also make this world a better place to live.

2. Choose a cause you are passionate about and work for it

We can only deliver our best when we are passionate about what we are doing. If you love to be with children, then take a chance to volunteer for a childcare project in any of the underdeveloped countries, and spend some quality time with them. Not only will you get to care for them, teach and play with them, but you’ll also get to experience the true meaning of unconditional love. Most of the kids at the childcare centers are either orphans or have single parents. They are victims of circumstances and are living a life that they don’t deserve. A volunteer is nothing less than a messiah for them, and you’ll only know how much your acts mean to them, once you are there.

In this new year, when most of the people around you will be cribbing about what they don’t have, and how miserable their life seems to be – you take the lead, and inspire them to stop complaining and start doing something that would help them to embark on both, an inward journey and an outward. Don’t just work for the sake of working, but analyze whether your work is making any positive impact or not.

3. Take a gap year and teach English abroad

Are you a high school or college student planning to take a gap year in 2021 – 2022 and travel to the country that has been there on your checklist since forever? That seems to be a great plan, and you’ll surely have the best experiences of your life in the upcoming days. A gap year is a time when one can step beyond the comfortable walls of the known world in the quest of understanding what lies ahead of it. It is the sabbatical period when you can choose to get engaged in some sort of paid/ unpaid work in a foreign country while traveling, simultaneously.

The best way to make the most of your gap year is to teach English at a local school, in areas where kids don’t get the proper guidance for learning the language. Mostly in Southeast Asian and Latin American countries, there are schools attended by the underprivileged kids and the teachers have poor knowledge of English. As a volunteer for the English Teaching Program in any of the under-developed countries, you can make a difference in the lives of the students, helping them to understand, read, and write in English. This will help you in polishing your teaching skills as well.

4. Join a healthcare program and help people to live a healthier life

Know that not everyone is as lucky as we are, and there are hundreds of people in different parts of the world who don’t have access to proper medical facilities. In developing countries like Tanzania, Kenya, Peru, or Cambodia, people living in rural areas are often not treated when ill as there are merely any doctors. As a medical volunteer, you’ll get the opportunity to work at rural hospitals or healthcare centers where there are inadequate staff and just one doctor to cater to all the patients.

Helping someone feel better is the most satisfying experience ever! In this new year, take the pledge of committing yourself to something worthy. Make a difference by guiding people to living a healthy and hygienic life.

5. Help someone to get a roof over his head

Give your bit for the different communities and people during your journey and have a knack for working outdoors, join the community development projects. If you have the enthusiasm and zeal to help people, then join the community development projects and use your time to build a home for someone, or maybe a school where kids can get the basic education that they deserve. You’ll get to spend adequate time with natives, know more about their culture and lifestyle, share their problems, and help them dream of a better life.

The VolSol Project in Palampur, India is a testimony to the success of volunteers’ efforts where an entire primary school has built but none other than enthusiastic volunteers. Some of the most enriching community development projects are offered in South Africa, Brazil, Portugal, Ghana, Morocco, the Philippines, and Cambodia.

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