Painting a Better World

“Volunteers do not necessarily have the time; they have the heart.”- Elizabeth Andrew
In an age characterised by unprecedented global interconnectivity and interdependence, the pivotal role of volunteerism in shaping international relations has become increasingly apparent. Every year on December 5th, we celebrate International Volunteer Day (IVD), a day that shines brightly in the complex web of world events as a testament to human kindness and solidarity. This day is a tribute to the enormous influence that volunteering has on communities all over the world and its capability to improve lives. Honoring the innumerable people who selflessly give their time, expertise, and compassion to effect positive change, IVD is a globally observed event.
International Volunteer Day began in the early 1980s when the UN General Assembly acknowledged the vital role that volunteers played in promoting social and economic development. In order to raise awareness of the selfless deeds that when taken as a whole have the power to create a better world, the UN declared the fifth of December to be a day to honor these unacknowledged heroes. In addition to offering a chance to thank volunteers for their unceasing work, International Volunteer Day (IVD) is a worldwide call to action that inspires people to perform acts of service in their communities and as individuals.
IVD’s historical development reflected the shifting dynamics of volunteerism globally as it acquired attention on a worldwide basis. As societies navigate complex global challenges, the significance of volunteerism extends beyond local communities, resonating on an international scale. A plethora of international projects that highlight the various ways that volunteers bring about positive developments are sparked by International Volunteer Day. This day is used globally by organisations and communities to highlight initiatives that best demonstrate the transformational potential of volunteers.
There are a wide range of worldwide volunteerism activities on International Volunteer Day, from sustainable development programs that address environmental issues to campaigns that support inclusive healthcare and education. These initiatives show the usefulness of volunteers as a group as well as how flexible they can be in responding to changing international issues. Examples from different parts of the world illustrate the achievements linked to IVD. Cross-cultural collaboration and understanding can be demonstrated, for example, through joint endeavors involving volunteers from many nations.
This section of the article explores a few instances among many that highlight the various and significant ways that volunteers in Pakistan help to effect positive change in the global world. The projects included campaigns for inclusive education and healthcare, disaster relief and humanitarian aid, and environmental sustainability. Case studies include, Afghanistan’s protracted turmoil has resulted in a significant number of Afghan refugees looking for safety and assistance. Over the years, Pakistan has been a haven for millions of Afghans. The goal of several volunteer-driven projects, backed by national and international organisations, was to give the Afghan refugee population healthcare, education, and necessities.
Pakistan has encountered difficulties in the fight to eradicate polio, just like a few other nations. Active participation by the nation has been shown in global polio eradication initiatives. In an effort to vaccinate every kid and end polio, global health organisations backed vaccination campaigns that involved volunteers from the medical field as well as members of the general public in Pakistan. Pakistan has participated in national and worldwide volunteerism initiatives in response to natural catastrophes like earthquakes and floods. Rebuilding towns devastated by floods is supported by emergency relief, medical assistance, and international cooperation from many organisations.
Cultural, religious, and social practices in many societies include a strong infusion of volunteerism, resulting in a generation-spanning tradition. Selfless deeds, charitable giving, and communal service are highly esteemed in Islam. Islam’s volunteerism values go beyond only fulfilling obligations; they also call for followers of the faith to actively participate in deeds that promote human welfare and uphold the moral principles of justice, compassion, and selflessness. In this context, the teachings of Islam have taught us to be charitable and to treat our brothers as we would like to be treated.
“And they give food, in spite of their love for it, to the poor, the orphan, and the captive, ‘We feed you seeking Allah’s Countenance only’. We wish for no reward, nor thanks from you” (76: 8-9)
Our lives are significantly shaped by our education. One effective strategy for fostering in students a sense of civic duty, social responsibility, and global awareness is to incorporate volunteerism into their academic Programme. A significant advancement in this area in Pakistan is the introduction of official volunteer programs in educational institutions that provide students with chances to perform community service. Furthermore, granting academic credit to students who participate in volunteer work acknowledges the educational benefit of community service and promotes increased involvement.
The promotion of even greater international cooperation is essential to IVD’s future. The active involvement of young people is vital for the sustainability of IVD initiatives. Prospects hinge on engaging and empowering youth, providing them with platforms to lead and contribute to volunteer efforts. Governments, non-governmental organisations, and the commercial sector can work together to strengthen the global impact of volunteerism. How volunteers interact and participate can be completely transformed by virtual volunteering, online platforms, and artificial intelligence used for planning and coordination.
In a nutshell, by tackling urgent global issues, encouraging community empowerment, and advancing a cooperative and compassionate culture, volunteering has the potential to create a Utopian Society. Volunteerism has a lasting good influence that goes beyond short-term aid; it fosters long-term positive change, sustainable development, and environmental leadership. Volunteering produces aware, proactive people who actively work to improve the world by promoting civic participation. Eventually, volunteerism laid the groundwork for a Utopian future where a person from all walks of life work together peacefully for the benefit of the planet and all of humanity. This world is characterised by generosity, compassion, and a strong sense of purpose.

The writer is Islamabad based Human Rights Activist and Freelance Journalist. He tweets @Zamanbajwaa

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