G A Qureshi
The United Nations (UN) annually observes international volunteer Day for Economic and social development on December 05. The day also known as international volunteer day (IVD), provides an opportunity for volunteers and organizations to celebrate their efforts, share their values and promote their work among their communities, non-government organizations (NGOs), UN Agencies, government authorities and the private sector. The day gives volunteers a chance to work together on projects and campaigns promoting their contributions to economic and social development at local, national and international levels. The UN General Assembly established this day in 1985 as a way of promoting voluntary service at local national and international arenas. The day celebrates acts of the people who try to make the world a better place for everyone through volunteerism. The day cuts across all the races, ethnic groups and religious group to bring volunteers to the same level where they can work together and contribute to change conditions now towards a better future for all.
All United Nations member countries recognize this day although it does not appear on their national calenders. The day is, therefore, marked by Non-government organizations (NGOs) such as the Red Cross, the scout’s movement and the St. John’s ambulance cadets. Other minor organizations at the local level also mark this day. The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) program organizes events to mark the day annually. UNV mobilizes thousands of volunteers every year, advocates for recognition of volunteers , and works closely with partners to integrate volunteerism into development programming. The international community joins hands with all the volunteers around the world on 5th December and celebrates their acts of kindness. (UNV) programme contributes to peace and development by advocating for the recognition of voluntary services for development programming and socio-economic development.
The International volunteer Day (IVD) is a global observance and not a public holiday. The day is an opportunity for us all to promote volunteerism, encourage governments to support volunteer efforts and recognize volunteer contributions to the achievement of the sustainable development goals 2030. (SDGs) at local, national and international levels. Many countries have used the international volunteer Day (IVD) to impress upon the importance of volunteerism at the national level. The volunteers contributions form an essential part of the strive to eradicate poverty, hunger, illiteracy, disease and achievement of millennium development goals (MDGS).
The international volunteer day seeks to recognize individuals who have committed the lives and time to the acts of selfless service to the needy. It involves representatives from media, private sectors, religious groups, Foundations and sports and recreational sectors. The international volunteer day provides a platform for volunteer groups to market their agenda to the public and voluntary activities on their Calendars Furthermore, IVD creates a Sense of belonging to volunteers from the private sector as they feel appreciated and part of a biggest team.
Activities and events help promote impact of volunteering and the UN’s million development goals (Now SDG Goals-2030) via volunteering to;
(a) Help eradicate poverty ; (b) Achieve Universal primary education; (c) promote gender equality and empower women; (d) Reduce child mortality and to improve mental health; (e) Reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS , malaria and other major diseases and (f) Help ensure environmental sustainability. Many people participate in many of these events through the world volunteers web, which the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) operates in partnership with various organizations. Through the online volunteering service, volunteers can take action for sustainable human development by supporting the activities of development organizations over the internet. The IVD logo is used to promote International volunteer day.
The international Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is one of selfless voluntary service. The Principle of offering voluntary service is a guarantee of the humanitarian motivation of Red Cross and Red Crescent workers and volunteers whether paid or unpaid. Whether it is done without pay or with some form of acknowledgement or even modest remuneration , the main thing is that it is not inspired by the desire for financial gain but by individual commitment and devotion to humanitarian purpose freely chosen or accepted as a part of the selfless service that the Red cross and the Red Crescent render to the community . The quintessence of voluntary service is selfless service to humanity the most direct expression of which is at the core of the Red Cross movement principles. Guided by the fundamental principles in all their work, Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers inspire trust among the men and women they assist. At Red Cross, volunteers are seen providing assistance to helpless , building schools for the poor, delivering First Aid to the victims of disaster, supplying relief materials, arranging safe drinking water, restoring family links, disseminating information on Sanitation & Hygiene and many other activities which alleviate people’s sufferings. Every day thousands of volunteers are online and on site, contributing to peace and development, working to achieve the MDGS and engaging people to shape the sustainable development agenda.
The IVD Campaign for year 2021 “VOLUNTEER NOW FOR OUR COMMON FUTURE” aims to inspire people, whether they are dicison makers or citizens of the world, to take action now for people and the planet. When people are encouraged to be involved in solving problems, the solutions are more likely to be feasible and lasting. Volunteers engage communities and build a people-centric movement to help build a better and safe future for us all. As we recognize the collective efforts of volunteers globally, we reflect on the multitude of actions taken locally to help people, communities and neighborhoods become better prepared to respond to the unexpected and better positioned for a more sustainable and better future for all.
For the generations of Tomorrow, we must take the responsibility for the change needed to build a better future now. Encouraging, recognizing and promoting and volunteerism is an important part of creating a more equal and inclusive future for communities and worldwide. Every day, volunteers dedicate time and effort to ensure inclusion of those often left behind, drive climate action and advance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). When we volunteer, our spirits are lifted when we have the opportunity to work collectively and help others. Our sense of purpose is lifted when we see efforts have helped someone else. our confidence lifts when we gain skills and experience through volunteering. On this international volunteers day , let us be inspired by the many individuals who selflessly and tirelessly serve others and lets us resolve to do our part to contribute freely and proactively to change conditions now towards a better future for all . Let us pledge to alleviate human suffering and wipe every tear.
(The author is former Director General Economic & Statistics J&K Honorary Treasurer J&K Red Cross Society)
G A Qureshi