Volunteering: The Art of Repairing

Last week I travelled around the UK interviewing outstanding volunteers for the vInspired National Awards 2013. In the process I began to notice a pattern in the lives of these super humans who consistently go beyond the call of duty to help others.

Whether it was family illness, childhood scars or bad early life choices, each of them at some point had been emotionally damaged. Instead of allowing themselves to become consumed by their circumstances their pain lit a fire inside and so a new journey began.

“I don’t want any young person to ever be on the outside.”Linda Markey (After being rejected from a street party in 1953 because her Mum couldn’t afford a ticket.)

The Japanese use the word kintsukuroi “to repair with gold”; the art of repairing pottery with gold or silver lacquer and understanding that the pieces are more beautiful for having been broken.


I think in the case of these outstanding people, volunteering has become their own golden lacquer – through their pain they have managed to pull the pieces of themselves back together and become beautiful people who believe way beyond themselves.

We can’t control what life throws at us and pain is something we are all programmed to avoid, but in order to become truly impassioned we must use our pain to power our future. We must stay constantly aware of the struggles of others, only then can we experience enough disgust and desire to take action and change the world for the better.