Achieving great things together
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.