20 April 2012

Volunteering With And For Children: Part 1

It is a big weekend for volunteering... both personally and globally! April 22 is significant for me as my organisation CHW will have its fifth anniversary. Everyone at CHW is a volunteer, and during the past five years, we have supported projects in five countries, through the local organisations we have partnered with. As well as this, CHW has its very first in-country team of volunteers, which has just been formed in Argentina. It is so exciting to be working with the volunteers there! 

This weekend is also important for young volunteers everywhere as Global Youth Service Day is being held from April 20-22 this year. It is a campaign which celebrates and mobilises children and youth who are volunteers around the world. 

I recently took part in another event concerning volunteering - the Service Innovation Summit in MadridI was honoured to be given a place and to be a speaker on a panel. Many thanks to the Meridian International Centre for this great opportunity! I spoke about volunteerism in the UK, and the impact of the economic downturn, along with two delegates from France and Greece, who gave the perspectives from their own countries. CHW consists of volunteers only, so learning about volunteerism in other cultures was very interesting, especially as we are aiming to build a network of people around the world who want to take action to improve the lives of children.

It was highlighted by various speakers at the Summit, that especially in these difficult economic times, governments cannot solve all the problems alone, nor do they have the necessary resources to do so. The problems cannot be solved by any one sector. Governments, companies and volunteers can all be part of the solution. Different speakers also said that everyone can be an agent of change. As emphasised by the Global Youth Service Day initiative, this includes the younger members of society too. 

Those hosting the Summit arranged a service project which took place today in the district of San Blas. If I had been in Madrid, I would have loved to have taken part! You can see some of the other projects that people organised on the Global Youth Service Day's website. If you are involved in a project this weekend, it would be great to hear from you and know how it went!

I will post Part 2 tomorrow, which will give resources for those of you searching for volunteering opportunities.

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