On International Volunteer Day (IVD) 5th December, I pay rich tribute to all volunteers for their valuable contribution to make their communities more resilient against natural and human induced disasters. Salute to all Volunteers as they are giving services free of cost means Fee Sabeelillah (In the way of Allah). Since 1985, IVD is being observed on 5th December every year to promote volunteerism, encourage governments to support volunteer efforts and recognize volunteer contributions at local, national and international level. This year we mark International Volunteer Day 2023 with theme Solidarity through volunteering which means to gather all people volunteer work for social and economic development and to change people’s mindset to build a better world.
The volunteers are driven by a desire to contribute to the well-being of their society, without expectation of material reward. Volunteer efforts never get wasted, as it develops trust among the society, strong linkages between groups, enhance harmony and limits the distance. Ultimately their efforts promote civic values and social cohesion.
The country like Pakistan, where people are unable to come out from the issues of basic needs, they are even highly motivated to volunteer their time to transform their respective communities. On several occasions, this was felt that people are very much interested to be connected with trustworthy volunteer forums and they do whatever they can do in their capacity. The well reputed Integrated Emergency Services model for South Asia Rescue 1122 in Pakistan is highly committed to promote volunteerism for making the communities healthy safe and resilient to live work and travel. Rescue 1122 are training volunteers, engaging them for awareness raising, safety trainings, emergency response and safety surveys. In this regard, Prime Minister Pak Life Saver Program (PLSP) was started to train masses on essential lifesaving skills of Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and bleeding control to save lives. The volunteers are being trained on Community Safety Training to become Rescue Scout and Community Action for Disaster Response (CADRE) training to become the member of Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT). The CERTs have been established in all Union Councils of Punjab Pakistan to assist the Emergency Service in management of emergencies and safety promotion activities. In order to promote safety culture in the industries Rescue 1122 also started to establish Industrial Emergency Response Teams (ERTs).
Any interested citizen to become Rescue Scout can get register on Rescue Scout APP for online registration, online training on first aid, fire safety, road safety, healthy and clean Pakistan and clean environment followed by hands-on training on lifesaving skills by Rescue trainers and certification. Rescue 1122 also organizes advance trainings for volunteers to enhance their preparedness, response and prevention skills. In this mission of saving lives, changing minds and promoting safety Rescue 1122 also collaborates with national and international organizations who can provide technical assistance for empowering volunteers and making the communities more resilient through volunteer participation. The volunteers/ rescue scouts have also been provided a platform to bridge up the gap between government and communities as District Emergency Officer of Rescue Service is the Secretary of District Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) and he can also present communities’ issues in District Emergency Board (DEB) meeting headed by concerned Deputy Commissioner of the district. In this way the issues raised by CERT never go un addressed.
Solidarity through volunteering which means to gather all people volunteer work for social and economic development and to change people’s mindset to build a better world.
In order to celebrate the spirit of solidarity through volunteering the 7th International Volunteer Day CERT Challenge for volunteers has been organized at Emergency Services Academy from 5th-8th December, 2023 in which even the Team from China is also participating. This mega volunteer event and celebration of the spirit of volunteerism would have not been possible without the support of Total Parco and ATS Synthetic. Thanks to them and all volunteers associated with different national and international organizations like UNV,VSO Pakistan, Rescue 1122, Pakistan Red Crescent, Boy Scouts and Girl Guides Association and other organizations for their valuable contribution to develop healthy safe and resilient communities in Pakistan.