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  • I often get the question why do people volunteer.

  • What is it that makes a person dedicate their time and effort

  • to something without expecting money in return.

  • I think we can all agree that people don't usually do it

  • because they get a couple of free drinks, a cool T-shirt, or a handful of stickers.

  • What these people are doing

  • makes them part of the volunteerism culture.

  • And I would like to tell you

  • how volunteerism culture can change our world.

  • This is Nowhere.

  • It's basically the European baby-brother of Burning Man.

  • We base ourselves on the same principles

  • such as self expression, self-reliance, and inclusion,

  • and we basically do the same things as our friends in the US.

  • We go out into a desert area in Spain,

  • we build a settlement, we live there for a while,

  • and then we take it all down again, and we leave nothing but footprints.

  • I've been involved with Nowhere as a volunteer for about five years now.

  • I started out decorating toilets,

  • and I ended up being in charge

  • of volunteer coordination, media, and currently, communication.

  • Nowhere is completely depending on volunteers.

  • Without these people there would be no settlement,

  • there wouldn't be any art, and there would simply be no event.

  • I know people who dedicate months of their lives, every single year,

  • to make this thing happen,

  • and I know other people, who just dedicate a few hours during one afternoon.

  • The difference between them doesn't matter to us

  • because of another principle that we have in common with Burning Man

  • which is participation.

  • Every single individual is able to get involved

  • whenever they want, in whatever way they choose,

  • regardless of their backgrounds.

  • Because of this participation,

  • I was able to learn a lot while working with the people at Nowhere.

  • For example, I learned to build a structure,

  • and I used to be someone

  • who didn't even know how to use a power drill.

  • I learned how to give myself a break, so as to not overwork myself,

  • and I learned how to prepare myself for a stressful situation.

  • I was also able to teach people.

  • I was able to teach people how they could organize their teams,

  • and help people dealing with stressful situations between individuals.

  • And this year, I'm going to go out there again,

  • and maybe I will be able to teach others how they can build their structures.

  • Now, I am not saying

  • we should go out to a desert all together and start building things.

  • What I'm saying is that we should have a closer look

  • at this participatory community, this culture of volunteerism,

  • and see what we can take from that

  • and implement that into our own lives to change our world.

  • Because we might have all heard people say this,

  • and we might have said it ourselves from time to time,

  • which is, "Why is nobody doing this, why this is not a project?

  • I wish someone would take this thing that I care about

  • and turn it into something that I can contribute to?"

  • In the community that I am a part of, we have a pretty simple answer to that:

  • I can't wait to see you do it.

  • And actually, when you consider it, it is that simple.

  • If you come across something

  • that sparks something in you, that sparks a passion

  • that fills you with excitement, that you feel should happen,

  • don't wait for others to take the initiative.

  • Step up and do it.

  • In this current society, it's really easy to think at that moment

  • like, "My project will not be able to generate a profit,"

  • or "I won't be able to pay people for contributing to what I want to do."

  • If we take this commercial idea away from it,

  • what you are left with, is a volunteerism project,

  • and how to make a volunteerism project happen is by sharing five things.

  • The first one is definitely the easiest one,

  • which is share your idea.

  • Communicate to people what that thing inside your head is

  • that needs to come out.

  • Tell others about this thing that you want to do,

  • and this project that you want to start.

  • Sooner or later, while you keep on communicating this,

  • you're going to come across other individuals,

  • who feel the same way,

  • who share that excitement for your project.

  • Or even better; you might come across people

  • who are able to add something to your project

  • and even take it to a higher level and improve it.

  • And before you know it, you might be sitting down,

  • having a brainstorm, taking notes,

  • and taking the first steps into making it happen.

  • And when it happens, share your knowledge.

  • And it really doesn't matter if you have a degree

  • of one of the most prestigious universities on the planet,

  • or whether you even haven't finished middle school.

  • Every single individual, regardless of their backgrounds,

  • has valuable information that is worth sharing.

  • For example, I learned through another TED talk by Terry Moore

  • that I've been tying my shoelaces wrong my entire life.

  • And I've been having a really good time sharing this knowledge with other people.

  • Though this may sound incredibly trivial, unimportant, and really small,

  • I can see the change that I can make for certain people,

  • how that adds something to what they know.

  • Just imagine if it would not be just this tiny little thing,

  • but something more important, something more essential.

  • And the effect that can have

  • on the people that are involved with your project

  • and the community around you.

  • And while that is happening, share your experience.

  • Our knowledge would be nothing without the experience we have in life.

  • Let's be honest, experience makes us amazing teachers.

  • When I was out there at Nowhere and learned how to build structure,

  • someone needed to explain to me how to use that power drill,

  • preferably, without hurting myself or others around me.

  • This person took his experience to transfer this skill onto me,

  • and this way I was able to go home with whole new skill set,

  • I was able to build something, physically actually build a structure.

  • In daily life, this would never be possible for me

  • because it's not something I do for a living,

  • and it's not something I have a degree in.

  • By sharing our experience we are able to share

  • our skill sets with other people, we can broaden each other's horizon

  • without dedicating ourselves to its study or taking up a new profession.

  • The next thing that I feel you should be sharing

  • is probably the most important one.

  • We've heard this word a lot today

  • - because actually, it's a pretty important word -

  • share your passion.

  • If you are starting this project, if you are doing this,

  • if you're getting all these people involved,

  • if you're dedicating all this time and energy into this,

  • that must mean you're passionate about what you're doing.

  • And you need to share that, you need to show that

  • because passion is incredibly contagious.

  • It is able to take you, and the people around you, and your project,

  • to a higher level

  • because it sparks more excitement in the people around you,

  • and it just improves the situation that you're in,

  • and you're always able to see new opportunities

  • and people will be able to bounce off of each other easier.

  • The last thing I feel you should be sharing

  • is the answer to the question that we started with:

  • why do people volunteer?

  • Because it's fun. Because they enjoy what they do.

  • Let's be honest, if you dedicate time and effort to something

  • without getting money in return, then why are you doing it?

  • Again, we know it's not because you get free drinks,

  • or a cool t-shirt, or a stack of buttons,

  • it's because you enjoy what you do,

  • because you enjoy what you take away from it as a person.

  • I believe that everybody, at some point in their lives,

  • must have had this idea for a project

  • and most people probably didn't go through with it.

  • Is it because you didn't feel it was worth it,

  • because it wouldn't generate a profit?

  • Or you didn't have the time or the confidence to do it?

  • Think about that project you might have had in your head once,

  • and just consider it for a moment,

  • and then implement those five things that you can share into that idea

  • and think about what that could do for you as a person,

  • how that could change the people that might get involved,

  • and how that could contribute to your community,

  • and how that could change your world.

  • I can't wait to see you do it!

  • Thank you.

  • (Applause)

I often get the question why do people volunteer.

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A2 BEG project people sharing dedicate volunteer build

【TEDx】How volunteerism can change your world | Joyce Bertram | TEDxVilnius

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