There are a number of animal charity rescue groups based in Doha dedicated to helping abandoned, injured, homeless and orphaned animals. In general, they rely on volunteers, donations and fundraiser events as they are not governmentally funded. If your teen loves animals, this is a great way to offer meaningful volunteer work and to really make a difference. Have them check out Cat Assistance Team, PAWS Rescue Qatar, Second Chance Rescue Qatar and Qatar Animal Welfare Society.
Shezin* (17) was afraid of dogs when she went on a school-organised community service trip to an animal shelter to walk dogs. “Ironically, I enjoyed it much more than I had expected,” she says. “And facing my fear made me realise my capabilities. I gained a lot of confidence from visiting the shelter, and I wanted to give something back.” Shezin learned that the dogs spend most of their time in a cage and can only go for a walk if there is a volunteer available to walk them. “That’s when I took charge and started organising regular after-school trips to the shelter. Amazingly, on the second trip I organised, 80 people signed up! This success really motivated me and kept me interested in the activity. I am still organising the trip every Sunday after school.”
If your teens is interested in veterinary science, they can ask a local veterinary hospital if they can volunteer. Alternatively, Al Shaqab Equestrian Centre has a volunteer programme that includes event assistance, horse anatomy workshops and summer courses.
If the environment is important to your teen, there are beach-cleaning days, which are regularly organised by private and governmental organisations. Join the Facebook page of the Doha Beach Clean Project, or keep an eye out for the beach clean-ups organised by the Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning, which is responsible for protecting Qatar’s natural habitat and ensuring the cleanliness of public areas.
Doha is fast becoming the sporting capital of the GCC. The Qatar Olympic Committee arranges more than 80 events per year, many of which need volunteers. Check out their website for an overview of all sporting events that are being organised, the biggest one this year being the UCI Road World Championships (cycling) in October. This is a great international event to volunteer for. Volunteers are needed for check-in, crowd control, lost and found and venue support.
If your teen prefers a more personal approach, loves sports and likes to work with kids, why not ask around at local sports clubs to see if they need volunteers?
Evolution Sports Qatar has a volunteer programme, generally open to those who would like to gain experience across a variety of sports or those who are looking for a placement in gaining community service hours. Evo Sports hired one of its former volunteers this year as a full-time football coach, while he decides on whether or not he wants to attend university. As all activities are after school, they are relatively easy to fit into a teen’s schedule.
In order for teenagers to gain meaningful work experience they need to find their passion first, then find an activity to match. They must show commitment. It does not matter whether the work is paid or not; the effort and time they put in now will be rewarding in many ways in the future.
*Last names omitted to protect privacy.
TESSA KERKVLIET HAS LIVED IN QATAR FOR ALMOST THREE YEARS AFTER HAVING MOVED TO DOHA FROM THE NETHERLANDS WITH HER HUSBAND AND THREE SONS. SHE IS AN ENGLISH/DUTCH TRANSLATOR AND PREVIOUSLY WORKED AS A MEDICAL LIBRARIAN IN A HOSPITAL WITH AN EMPHASIS ON TEACHING RESEARCH SKILLS TO MEDICAL STUDENTS.