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Why – by a bookworm, Nov 2016

Social responsibility is one person’s obligation to the community to act in a way that would benefit the society as a whole. It is characterized as an individual striving for ethical and sensitive behaviour towards self and others.

You cannot care for others if you do not first know how to care for yourself. When you learn to be responsible for yourself you also learn that it is in your best interest to be mindful of others’ needs and the world around you.

Each of us are part of a clan, a village, a community, a complex, an organization and thus contribute to the growth of a social and cultural order. It is within this order, that we identify ourselves as a member, we contribute to the growth of. Seeing as we are all contributors to a greater whole, it makes sense to act in such a way that defines our actions as serving not just us, or the small circle that we live in, but for the greater good of all.

In the past this could be seen in the lord of the manor having responsibility for the safety and success of his serfs. In present day, democracy puts a different spin on this in that it is the main character of every citizen to do the right thing for a nation to succeed. What was considered personal responsibility morphs into personal social responsibility.

To quote John Rockefeller – “I believe that every right implies a responsibility, every opportunity an obligation, every possession, a duty”

Volunteering and mentoring are means to enhancing responsibility through participation. Contributions to the enhancement of our fellow beings adds to our sense of well-being and speaks to our giving natures. Volunteering is also described as a personal duty, where people can contribute their skills and talents for a common purpose. As Winston Churchill put it “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give”.

Making a contribution to the local community, whilst using skills and experience is motive enough for most volunteers. Some believe they were fulfilling a religious obligation, or they were personally affected and wished to make a difference.

Whatever the reason, it instills a belief of self-worth in the person, translating into mental well-being which in itself helps create a more complete person.