Achiev­ing great things to­gether

Central Otago Mirror - - CONVERSATIONS - GIL­LIAN WHITE

Ev­ery year on De­cem­ber 5 In­ter­na­tional Vol­un­teer Day, a United Na­tions led ini­tia­tive, is cel­e­brated world­wide.

One bil­lion peo­ple vol­un­teer around the world, all giv­ing their time and skills to im­prove com­mu­ni­ties, sup­port peo­ple, en­hance their sur­round­ings, and bring peo­ple to­gether. Vol­un­teers across the re­gion are part of a big­ger global move­ment of vol­un­teers.

The theme for 2016 is ‘To­gether we can’ which em­pha­sises the power of com­mu­nity, and that by work­ing to­gether we can achieve great things.

At a lo­cal level we see hun­dreds of groups or in­di­vid­u­als work­ing to­gether to sup­port others, to im­prove our sur­round­ings, to de­liver and en­hance events, to keep ac­tiv­i­ties and pro­grammes run­ning.

We’re also con­nected with the wider world in many ways, and have some great or­gan­i­sa­tions and vol­un­teers op­er­at­ing in­ter­na­tion­ally based right here in the Cen­tral Otago Lakes Dis­trict.

Cromwell lo­cal Bruce McPher­son vol­un­teers with Vol­un­teer Ser­vice Abroad. VSA is New Zealand’s largest vol­un­teer­ing agency work­ing in in­ter­na­tional de­vel­op­ment. Kiwi vol­un­teers like Bruce share skills with peo­ple in the wider Pa­cific to help them build a bet­ter fu­ture for them­selves and their chil­dren.

The work they do is hugely var­ied and driven by the de­vel­op­ment needs of their in­coun­try part­ners.

Alexan­dra based It’s Not About Us was formed at the be­gin­ning of 2013 to fa­cil­i­tate what be­came known as Mis­sion Tanna: in­stalling a self-pow­ered wa­ter pump for a vil­lage in Van­u­atu.

All three trus­tees, Matt, Pete and Wayne live in Alexan­dra and de­vel­oped a broad mis­sion state­ment to tar­get the root causes of poverty, suf­fer­ing and need - with an em­pha­sis on get­ting wa­ter to those who need it - and have spent the last three years mak­ing that hap­pen.

Along with It’s Not About Us, Or­phans Aid In­ter­na­tional based at Ter­race Junc­tion in Queen­stown is an­other lo­cal trust founded and run by peo­ple who care about the marginalised and dis­ad­van­taged amongst us. They care about the child who has no par­ent, no home, and who is not loved.

They care enough to do some­thing about it and are throw­ing a life line to chil­dren and adults who des­per­ately need as­sis­tance. They are a di­verse team of staff and vol­un­teers who all have a pas­sion to see chil­dren loved and cared for.

This Mon­day will see vol­un­teer or­gan­i­sa­tions cel­e­brat­ing and recog­nis­ing their vol­un­teers up and down the coun­try for the in­valu­able work they do in our com­mu­ni­ties, lo­cally and glob­ally.

If you are a vol­un­teer, give your­self a huge pat on the back and if you are think­ing about what you can do to get in­volved – think no longer, pick up the phone and have a chat with us.

Gil­lian White is Vol­un­teer­ing Cen­tral se­nior co­or­di­na­tor.

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