Today, 5 December, is International Volunteer Day. This is a time for thanking volunteers for the priceless contributions they make.
2011 marks both the European Year of Volunteering and the 10th anniversary of the International Year of Volunteers (IYV+10). This year, the Red Cross Red Crescent has worked to highlight the value of volunteers and, together with the UN, to declare that volunteers are a big piece of the puzzle in attaining the Millennium Development Goals. And finally, the Red Cross Red Crescent, for the first time in its 150 year history, developed a resolution and advocacy report linked to greater recognition and protection of all volunteers.
People volunteer for all sorts of reasons: to help others and to help themselves – to forget their own problems by focusing on the needs of others.
Volunteers are not saints. Far from it, they are neither more or less human than the rest of us. They are our mothers and brothers, neighbours and colleagues. These are humans who, despite all their flaws, express in their actions what is most beautiful in being human: the natural instinct to help.
In fact, today we celebrate humanity because the volunteers are the embodiment of it.