Today is International Volunteer Day! It is the special day designated by the United Nations back in 1985 to give recognition to and celebrate the immeasurable contribution volunteers make to communities throughout the world.
The theme for 2017 “Volunteers Act First. Here. Everywhere.” The theme is recognition of volunteer efforts around the world, as well as a tribute to the support volunteers provide in times of instability, disasters or humanitarian crises.
This resonates within New Zealand, where organised teams from civil defence, Red Cross, St John and many other organisations, church and community groups, alongside the many spontaneous volunteers have all contributed.
The recent earthquakes and natural disasters within New Zealand have highlighted the way in which volunteers come to the fore in such emergency situations to provide help and support in their communities and to the people most affected by the catastrophic events.
Let’s use this day to celebrate and recognise New Zealand’s volunteers for the invaluable work they do in our communities, locally and globally. “Groups and individuals—volunteers from all backgrounds—are effectively responding to humanitarian emergencies everywhere.” Says Olivier Adam, Executive Coordinator of the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme.
“They are regular people who, in the face of human suffering, don’t hesitate to rapidly descend to the affected areas and help however it is needed.” Whether responding to disasters or assisting their communities, volunteers make a world of difference just by donating a bit of their talents and time.
Text provided by Volunteering New Zealand.