Volunteer Spotlight – Zainab Alqritli
Zainab is a Libyan-Jordanian who lived in a lot of countries before moving to Istanbul back in 2014. Earlier this year, she graduated as an interior architect. Since then, she has been busy studying Korean and Chinese while spending the rest of the time developing her art skills, hoping to get an art degree in the future. She started volunteering in Istanbul&I in October 2021 and now is part of the HR Team as the Internal Events Officer and the Events Team as an Events Officer.
This is her answer to the question: Why do you volunteer in Istanbul&I?
For a long time, I suffered from severe depression and anxiety. I still remember when my family and friends talked to my therapists; they would describe me as a selfless person who loves to help others without hesitation, which I used to hate because I used to see myself as a selfish person who doesn’t care about others.
While I was struggling with my mental health, I always enjoyed helping and meeting random people. I hated when they thanked me, but I still enjoyed the time I spent helping them. For a couple of years, I looked for different organizations to volunteer for and Istanbul&I was my top choice. Although I always wanted to be part of one, I couldn’t bring myself to join any. It was always hard for me to get over the idea that I’m a selfish person who helps others only for my own pleasure, not for good intentions.
However, when the pandemic happened, I started getting better, day by day and I started to understand myself better. Instead of getting angry at myself for feeling good when I help others, I accepted that I get charged up when I help others, meet new people, and connect with random people. After the situation got better and I felt mentally stable, I decided to give it a shot and apply for Istanbul&I. I got accepted—luckily—and decided to enjoy this new experience. Every time I join an event or a project, I only think about having a good time while helping others and building connections with other volunteers. That’s how I go back home every time after volunteering feeling charged up and thankful about my day. Also, being part of the HR Team and Events Team made my experience more fun!
I am glad that I decided to join Istanbul&I and I hope with the help of the HR Team and Events Team to be able to plan fun events that everyone enjoys!