“I encourage everyone to participate in volunteer action if and where they can, no matter how small, in order to make our world a better place for all its peoples.”
UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, in his message on the occasion of International Volunteer Day.
On 5th of December, the volunteer community in Cambodia together with volunteers all over the world, celebrated International Volunteer Day (IVD). On that day, over 800 volunteers attended IVD organized in Phnom Penh by UNV, VolCam and the National Committee for Promoting Volunteerism under the leadership of the Ministry of Education, Youth & Sport (MoEYS).
“Make it happen, volunteer”
IVD was a celebration of the hard work and commitment of the volunteers in Cambodia. The event, in line with this year’s theme “Make it happen, volunteer!” showcased the volunteers’ contribution to the development of Cambodia and allowed for volunteers to share their experiences about volunteerism and how it benefited themselves and the community they work in.
UN Resident Coordinator, Ms. Claire Van der Vaeren, in her opening speech, emphasized the importance of volunteers in development; “volunteerism” she said “forms the backbone of national and international civil society organizations in Cambodia as a key driver for development”. His Excellency Dr. Hang Chuon Naron, Minister of Education, Cambodia focused on the benefits of volunteerism, commenting that “volunteer activity expresses a positive attitude and virtue of people and it is also a bridge to connect all parts of society”. Highlighting the mutual beneficial relationship that occurs through volunteerism, Michelle Vizzard, First Secretary of Development Cooperation of the Australian Embassy said “volunteers bring their knowledge and skills with a view to improving the way people, organizations In return, volunteers also receive a valuable opportunity to work with local people, sharing their struggles, learning their customs, building relationships and improving skills”.
Let’s talk about volunteering!
Five Volunteer Stars that volunteer for different VolCam organizations were invited to take part in the Volunteer Stars Talk Show. Kimlay Leav, the president of the U.S Ambassador’s Youth Council spoke about his many volunteering activities including his work with the UN Youth Advisory Panel (UNYAP) which represents a range of young Cambodians and allows them to voice their concerns regarding issues on employment, education, health and the environment. In October, Kimlay also attended the First Global Forum on Youth Policies held in Azerbaijan. Veasna Sophea, a Youth Star Volunteer, volunteered in Prey Veng province earlier this year. There, she promoted local development by facilitating youth groups and organizing a “Back-pack” library. The inspiring speeches and photos from the volunteers was a fun and interactive opportunity for the participants to learn about the different ways you can volunteer and contribute to the development of Cambodia.
The session concluded with a presentation of prizes for the winners of the UNV Facebook Photograph Competition. In October, volunteer photographers were invited to submit photographs depicting volunteers in action, to the theme “make it happen, volunteer!’. Mr. Hor Singhuo, the 1st place winner, received 1,277 Likes on his photo from an event called “Imagine”. Hor Singhuo is a volunteer with ASEAN Community-Cambodia. “Volunteerism” he said “has helped me to view the world differently. It has helped to improve my professional, communication and leadership skills in a way that most students don’t have. More importantly, it gives me opportunities to work in teams, which I believe students should practice more often at a young age”. The three winners of the Facebook competition were awarded photography lessons sponsored by Canon, I-Qlick Cambodia, and the runner ups received Brown Coffee vouchers. e to view the world differently. It has helped to improve my professional communication and leadership skills in a way that most students don’t have. More importantly, it gives me opportunities to work in teams, which i believe students should practice more often at this young age. e to view the world differently. It has helped to improve my professional communication and leadership skills in a way that most students don’t have. More importantly, it gives me opportunities to work in teams, which i believe students should practice more often at this young age.
Volunteer entertainment acts took the stage next and delighted the audience with dances from Michael Jackson impersonations to Hip Hop, musical numbers on the guitar, beat boxing and wonderful singing solos. The La Chhuk Recycling Fashion Show was a crowd pleaser with models showing off dresses made from recyclable material. The talented Sovanaphom Performers finished off the evening with an exciting performance of traditional Khmer drums.
During the IVD fair, participants had the opportunity to closely engage with representatives of more than ten national and international volunteer involving organizations from VolCam, to talk to experienced volunteers and find out more about benefits of volunteering and its great impact.
The exciting event was a fun and interactive way to celebrate the hard work and achievements of volunteers throughout the year. To see more photos of the day check out UNV’s Facebook page!