The United Nations Volunteers Programme Turkey Office celebrated the International Volunteer Day on 7 December hosted by the T.R. Ministry of Youth and Sports, and held the Turkey Launch of State of the World’s Volunteering Report. At the event, 2019 was declared the Year of Volunteerism.

Differing from the previous years, the event featured in every field of volunteering with a multi-stakeholder representation. It was led by the UN Volunteers Programme Turkey Office and the Ministry of Youth and Sports, in partnership with the Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Services, Ministry of Interior Disaster and Emergency Management Agency (AFAD), Turkish National Agency, Başkent University and National Volunteering Committee.

Featuring two panels on “State of the World’s Volunteering Report 2018 Turkey Launch” and “Senior Volunteers”, the event also had UNV volunteers take up the floor sharing their adventures with the audience. Volunteers from all around Turkey were awarded their certificates for participation in the project “Volunteerism for Senior Citizens and Youth: UNV-Başkent University Senior Volunteerism and Intergeneration” from Prof.Dr. Ali Haberal, the President of Başkent University. Ms. Ravdanur Cuma, Founder and President of Ravdanur Foundation, told her inspiring story to the participants.

The Thread that Binds: Volunteerism and Community Resilience

Published this year as the third of series, State of the World’s Volunteering Report 2018 is based on a survey in five continents to give a better understanding of how societies view volunteering. It reveals the positive outcomes achieved when the government and development actors come together in volunteering in order to alleviate the potential threats to the most vulnerable while promoting the most beneficial aspects of volunteering. The report accordingly makes significant evidence-based contributions to inclusive, citizen-led approaches for resilient societies.

Quotes

Dr. Mehmet Muharrem Kasapoğlu, T.R. Minister of Youth and Sports

“We take up with great excitement the efforts of our youth to make the planet a good place full of love. We support their projects, approaches. In this context, we declare 2019 the Year of Volunteerism.”

Ayşe Kardaş Ergezen, T.R. Deputy Minister y of Family, Labour and Social Services

“We are resolved to reproduce in future, as we do today, this culture of volunteering, which has become a tradition for us.”

Ravdanur Djuma, Syrian Activist, Founder and President of Ravdanur Foundation

“Stories are endless, so are the events. Let’s educate, teach, defend, inform rights, get hands together, let’s volunteer.”

Alexandra Solovieva, Chief of External Relations and Communications Section, UN Volunteers Headquarters

“Volunteering is a tradition in Turkey and Turkey may be a leading country in volunteering.”

Highlights from the Event

In the event drawing a diverse audience from 7 to 70, the leading organisations in volunteer activities kept their stands including T.R. Ministry of Youth and Sports with its Damla (Drop) Project, Turkish National Agency, National Volunteering Committee, T.R. Ministry Culture and Tourism General Directorate of Libraries and Publications, Directorate of European Union Affairs, Keçiören Municipality, and Turkish Red Crescent by its Community Centres.

The reading corner created for the visually-handicapped by T.R. Ministry of Youth and Sports drew much interest from participants. The Minister Dr. Mehmet Muharrem Kasapoğlu read books at the corner, contributing to the project.

UNV volunteers provided English-Turkish simultaneous interpretation for participants. Drawing big attention in the social media, the event was an instant TT on Twitter.

Volunteering Summit in 2019

Following the declaration of 2019 the Year of Volunteering by T.R. Minister of Youth and Sports Dr. Mehmet Muharrem Kasapoğlu, it was decided that a Volunteering Summit be held in 2019 with joint hosting of UNDP Turkey Office and T.R. Minister of Youth and Sports with multi-stakeholder participation from the UN system, public and private sectors, and civil society.

International Volunteer Day

In 1985, the United Nations General Assembly mandated on December 5 as the International Volunteer Day to promote volunteer work and benefits in the world and increase participation in volunteer programmes.

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