Strength in diversity | The power of everyone in volunteering

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Fiji Red Cross volunteers attend to homeless Fijians at the Suva Bus Stand. Picture: FIJI RED CROSS FB PAGE

The power of everyone is reflective in the diverse and widespread efforts of individuals across the globe who selflessly give their time and expertise to create positive change.

Whether it’s rebuilding communities post natural disasters, providing education and healthcare in remote areas, or advocating for social justice, volunteers are at the forefront of creating a better world for everyone.

On December 5 each year, the observance of International Volunteer Day (IVD) recognises and celebrates the efforts of millions of volunteers around the world who contribute their time, skills, and passion to make a positive impact in their communities and beyond.

The theme for this year’s International Volunteer Day is “The Power of Everyone,” stressing the collective strength and impact that volunteers exert when they join forces together for a common goal.

One of the remarkable aspects of volunteerism is its ability to empower communities.

The power of everyone lies in the collaborative essence that volunteers bring to their work. When individuals from different backgrounds, cultures, and skill sets join forces, they jointly create a synergistic effect that leads to more sustainable and impactful outcomes.

By working together, volunteers can address complex challenges that may seem impossible for a single individual.

The power of everyone emphasises the importance of inclusive volunteering.

Every individual has unique talents and perspectives to contribute, and by embracing diversity, volunteer initiatives can become more effective and reflective of the needs of the communities they serve.

Inclusivity in volunteering ensures that the power of everyone is harnessed to its full potential, creating a richer tapestry of ideas, best practices, and solutions.

In Fiji, the United Nations (UN) Volunteers Pacific Field Unit in collaboration with 25 local and regional volunteering organisations will be organising a Volunteer Fair at Thurston Gardens in Suva, Fiji on December 2, 2023. The creativity and diversity of the 25 volunteering organisations aims to celebrate and highlight the achievements of volunteers and volunteer organisations.

The event also intends to encourage and raise awareness among the public when it comes to volunteering activities and their impact as an integral part of contributing to the wider Fijian economy.

The participating volunteering organisations participating at the Volunteer Fair are as follows:

•Act It Network

•Ahava Project

•Alive as Life

•Australian Volunteers Program

•Empowering Women Fiji

•FENC Fiji

•Fiji Council of Social Services (FCOSS)

•Fiji Red Cross Society

•France Volontaires

•Habitat for Humanity Fiji

•Inspire Pacific

•International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF)

• Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)

•Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA)

•Pacific Disability Forum (PDF)

•Pacific Ocean Litter Youth Project (POLYP)

•Pacific Youth Council

•Peace Corps, with USAID

•Reproductive & Family Health Association of Fiji (RF- HAF)

•Rotaract of Suva

•Selfless Fiji

•St. John’s Association

•World Wildlife Fund (WWF)

•United Nations Volunteers (UNV)

•Volunteer Service Abroad (VSA-NZ)

The event is open to the public and will be officiated by the Assistant Minister for Women, Children and Social Protection, Sashi Kiran, who is a well-known champion of volunteerism.

Some of the key highlights that members of the public can anticipate are free yoga and wellbeing class, performances from the winners of the Fiji Voices for Climate Action: Poetry Slam, the 75th Human Rights Day Pacific Film Festival promotion, free health checks, and various volunteering opportunities that the general public can sign up for.

The power of everyone has amplified in the digital age, where technology connects volunteers across borders and enables them to collaborate on a global scale.

While, online platforms and social media have become powerful tools for mobilising volunteers, allowing them to share resources, expertise, and inspiration, Fiji still has a digital divide in certain communities and therefore many still seek a sense of community through in-person gatherings like these, and therefore it is important to make volunteering as inclusive and accessible as possible.

Let’s hope that the virtual space will continue to harness new possibilities for collective action and has made it easier for people to contribute to causes that resonate with them, regardless of geographical constraints.

We also look forward to virtual celebrations for IVD in this digital era. International Volunteer Day is an opportune time to celebrate the everyday heroes who selflessly give their time and energy to make a difference.

Whether it’s through organised volunteer programs or individual acts of kindness, the power of everyone is manifested in the countless acts of generosity that occur every day around the world.

This day is a reminder that everyone can contribute to positive change, no matter how big or small their actions may seem.

As we celebrate the power of everyone on International Volunteer Day, let us recognise and appreciate the collective strength of individuals coming together to create a better world.

Volunteers, with their diverse skills, backgrounds, and passions, showcase that positive change is achievable when we connect the power of everyone.

Whether you’re a seasoned volunteer or considering taking your first step, remember that your contribution, alongside others, has the potential to make a significant impact.

Together, we can build a more inclusive, compassionate, and sustainable world for everyone. If you are residing in Suva, head down to the Thurston Garden Fair from 10.00am to 3.00pm and be part of the celebration of unity and impact and share widely on your social media accounts with the following hashtags: #IVD2023Fiji #IfEveryoneDid #ThePowerofEveryone #IVD2023.

•AVANEESH RAMAN is the content curator of blog The A Connection — https://theaconnection. The views expressed in this article are his and may not necessarily be shared by this newspaper. For more, log on to