Malcolm Trevena, Meaningful Volunteer Co-founder

Megin Alvarez and Malcolm Trevena

1. Can you tell me what motivated you to create Meaningful Volunteer?

Here are some my thoughts on why I set up in the first place:

It was basically because I saw a lot of things wrong with how volunteering was happening around the world, detailed thoughts of which can be found here:

2. What is it about Meaningful Volunteer that brings you joy?

When we have to do nothing! We are all for the empowerment of women. Our district managers around the world are all female. (

What brings me the greatest joy is when one of our staff has an idea and runs with it. Female human rights are often abysmal in the countries we work in, so when one of our female staff has the confidence to start a project on our own, it brings me great joy.

Our school in Uganda – for example – has had many additions which we have had very little to do with. Things like a rain-fed water system, a children’s playground, a livestock pen and so on.

Here are some links for the additons:

3. How has your experience working with this organization made you happier than working at other places?

I work for Meaningful Volunteer and take care of foster children at home, so it is hard to think of “working at other places”.
I don’t think working with Meaningful Volunteer has made me happier. Maybe “content” is a better word. It does feel good to complete a big project in another country.

In a weird sort of way it makes me angrier. Angrier at the injustices around the world. Angrier at the greed of people make it worse (Ten fat pigs at a nine pig trough).

4. What have your greatest successes been?

The school in Uganda. Our wonderful staff.

5. Looking to the future, what is your long-term outlook for Meaningful Volunteer, and what is your greatest hope for the organizations?

We have evolved more into a school building organization. We have plans to construct a school in Nepal later this year. Then perhaps onto Ecuador. Exciting times!

Our greatest hope is that the schools become self-sustaining and our wonderful staff run with the projects on their own. Crazymalc’s wild life-changing idea
Find something more important than you are and dedicate your life to it. The Secret of Happiness according to Daniel Dennett

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