“Volunteerism plays a significant role in achieving
the Millennium Development Goals. It plays a healing role by
rebuilding trust in a post-conflict society. And its values –
of solidarity and engagement – inspire us to live sustainably,
so that our human actions do not jeopardize the needs,
or the existence, of future generations.”
Flavia Pansieri, Executive Coordinator for the United Nations Volunteers (UNV)
December 5th is International Volunteer Day, designated by the United Nations to “celebrate the power and potential of volunteerism.” In looking at the website announcing this day, we were intrigued to see volunteerism – a practice we know and love at Global Links – tied specifically to sustainability – another guiding philosophy for Global Links.
This dedication to sustainability was formalized by the organization Volunteer Action Counts, spurred by a return to Rio de Janeiro 20 years after the first United Nations Earth Summit. On their website, they write, “It was recognized that nothing short of a transformation of our attitude and behaviour would bring about the changes that were urgently needed in order to protect the planet from the effects of both poverty and over-consumption.”
Global Links volunteers directly alleviate both poverty and over-consumption, by working with us to recover usable materials and get them sorted, packed, processed and into the hands of people in resource-poor communities who need them.
We are very happy to celebrate International Volunteer Day, and all the thousands of Global Links volunteers, both individuals and groups, that work with us to meet our shared goals. Maybe one day the world will be in such great shape that no one will need to volunteer. Or maybe the term “volunteer” will lose meaning because we all do it, without thinking about it.
In the meantime, we give our volunteers a virtual pat on the back, and invite all of our supporters to visit the website, come in for a tour, share what they know about Global Links and global health with their friends and associates. Look for our facebook posts throughout the day on December 5, highlighting just a few of our many wonderful volunteers.
If volunteers were a nation, according to Volunteer Action Counts, they would form the 10th largest country in the world in terms of population. These are the kinds of numbers than can change the world.