Pakistan

LAHORE – Bargad Volunteer Network (BVN) affiliated with youth development organization Bargad commemorated the International Volunteer Day (IVD) in collaboration with E-library Government of Punjab and Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) in E-library, Qaddafi Stadium, on Friday.

Sabiha Shaheen, Executive Director Bargad, while addressing the moot said informed that Pakistan ranks 10th in the number of volunteers globally with 58 million volunteers. The global volunteer workforce is more than half of the employed persons 10 most populous countries. She said volunteering is largely informal and emphasized to promote formal and organized voluntary actions in Pakistan.

MPA Saadia Sohail said that while thinking about volunteerism, the first person who comes to mind is Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). He volunteered to show us the right path. Quaid-e-Azam volunteered to make this country. Life of a politician is a living example of volunteerism. It is in our nature. Present day volunteers will make a difference under Imran Khan who gives special attention to youth.

Haroon Imran Gill, MPA,  said, volunteering is inbuilt in our culture. We can see this in emergency situations and community services at the grassroots level.

Mrs Shafqat Rafiq briefed about the work of Girls Guide Movement that it is doing to help girls for taking community service. She recommended that life skills should be part of the curriculum and the educational institutions should run volunteering programs that bring us closer to our community.

Asif Bilal told that PITB and Sports Board Punjab have established e-libraries in around 20 districts of Punjab. There are 3000 physical books and 100,000 e-books along with HEC and other databases.

Jamil Najam urged the volunteers to fight poverty through in local communities, run clean and green Pakistan campaign, introduce councils in schools and colleges, make environment societies, help each other and take responsibility for our actions.

Taimur Bandey spoke about volunteering as a hands-on experience of youth to groom their social skills and serve the local communities. He proposed to institutionalize volunteerism and said universities should make it mandatory for admissions. Volunteer programs should be student-led rather than administration led.

Noor Imran informed that the BVN is a youth-led network of volunteers working in 18 universities and 83 districts of all provinces of Pakistan to promote volunteering, celebrate diversity and create virtual and physical spaces for youth in Pakistan. Presently, there are 2,588 BVN members, including 813 male and 1,775 female volunteers.

A panel discussion was also held in which young volunteers of BVN Hishaam Khattak, Yasin Akbar, Naveed Khan, Azim Ikramzai, Aqsa Rani Arwa Khan and Saqib Ullah spoke. Other highlights of the celebrations were a documentary on volunteering by VSO, distribution of awards of best volunteers of 2018 and a social media campaign on IVD 2018.

The IVD commemoration was dedicated to this year’s theme “Volunteers Build Resilient Communities” as recognition of volunteers who contribute to making their communities more resilient against natural disasters, economic stresses and political shocks.

Around 300 youth volunteers from across districts of Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and Islamabad participated.