Volunteerism should promote peace: Zardari
* Gilani says perception about volunteers as free labour should be changed
ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari has stressed the need for recognising and utilising the power of volunteerism to promote peace, harmony and development around the world.
“We need to recognise and utilise the power of volunteerism to promote peace, harmony and development not only in Pakistan but around the world,” the president said in his message on the occasion of International Volunteer Day observed every year
on December 5.
He said, the day is being observed “to show common concern for welfare of whole community and re-dedicate ourselves for this noble cause selflessly and dedicatedly”.
Zardari said, “it is reassuring that the government has encouraged volunteerism by developing infrastructure and volunteers are now participating in service delivery in all walks of life”.
He, however, added that as volunteerism and social work could not be accomplished anywhere without the active participation of the people, “it is therefore important that philanthropists, civil society organisations and NGOs come forward and supplement provision of various types of services for the welfare of the people”.
He said that global trends towards greater self-help, decentralisation, participatory democracy and networking all had contributed to encouraging citizen participation and volunteerism.
“The government has also adopted a strategic approach to develop and sustain an environment that promotes volunteerism and social work. That is one reason that there are more that 70,000 NGOs in the country providing various types of services for the welfare of the people”, he added.
Free Labour: Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani, while appreciating the services and contribution of volunteers in difficult situations across the world, has stated that the perception about volunteers as free labour should be changed.
“There is a persistent notion that volunteers are essentially free labour. Their efforts are not appreciated and, indeed, are often criticized,” he said.
“We need to shift our perception and see that it is because of volunteers that so many of the services we need are available even at far flung areas with very difficult terrain”, he said in his message on the occasion of International Volunteer Day.
The PM said Pakistan, being an Islamic Republic, had a strong ethic of volunteerism. “For the sake of this purpose, we stand with the international community to celebrate International Volunteer Day on 5th December, 2010 to acknowledge their valuable services,” he added.
He said, “In pursuit of our religious and international obligation of care the government and the people of Pakistan greatly value the voluntary service.”
Gilani said there was a need to highlight and acknowledge their contribution in ameliorating the sufferings of the marginalised segments of the society.
“It also focuses on stimulating people to offer their services as volunteers, both at home and abroad. Over the years, governments, business, nonprofit organisations, and individuals have been contributing to the efforts of volunteers and also acknowledging their services through various activities including parades, marches, or rallies and award ceremonies for volunteers who made significant contributions to their communities,” he added. The PM said, “Today is the day when the whole world as one community salutes the contribution of the volunteers.” app