My grandma has always inspired me. When I was around five years old, I would go with her to the care homes she volunteered at, every single week. It was such an ingrained part of life for me –something we just did, without fail – that it wasn’t until I was older that I realised not everyone volunteered. I still remember a particularly frank conversation with my mum; she told me that life isn’t fair, and there are so many problems in the world that we can’t fix. But this only frustrated me. If there’s one thing you should know about me, I am stubborn. It must have been then that the seed of an idea was planted.
Through my teens I worked as hard as I could to help those around me. I took on extra jobs to help my family, continued to visit the care homes, worked with children with disabilities, developed websites for free for organisations with charitable aims, and mentored women in tech. But still I had this feeling that I wanted to help in a bigger way.
Straight after university, I moved to London and once I had settled in, I realised that something was missing. Gone were the times when via a simple text from a friend, a bunch of us would get together to help out at a care home, or support a vulnerable person on our street. We always had a good time, and I sorely missed this ad-hoc volunteering that made up such an integral part of my life.
Scouting the internet thoroughly, I found that the standard way of volunteering was to apply for a charity who would then ask for a CV, DBS check, phone interview and then face-to-face. And once you were accepted, you had to commit four hours per week. Sounds simple, right? Now I completely understand why they have such a requirement, but as someone who can hardly commit to going to the gym once a week, this couldn’t work. I work long hours, and my schedule is often subject to change, I still want to help others – so where does that leave me?
I realized that bite-size volunteering is what I wanted, and since it didn’t exist, I would have to create it. This is when I started to play with the idea of a platform crossover between Pinterest and Meetup, but purely for bite-sized volunteering that can fit into a busy schedule.
From my background in software development, I knew that bringing elements of play would make volunteering exciting and fun to those who may be less familiar to it, rather than a chore to be ticked off a list. I took the idea and threw all my energy into it. Since then I’ve been met with positivity, confusion and a good amount of cynicism too, but I’ve also been met with smiles, joy and overwhelmingly positive feedback from all who have got involved in our games.
And that’s my mission, be the change, have fun.
Komorabi now runs immersive volunteering events and activities, from scavenger hunts with charitable missions. Soon we will launch our upcoming app, which will help you find quick and easy ways to make a difference, no matter how time-poor you are.