By Deeba Shahnaz Akhter
Human beings are full of sentiments by nature to help others especially in case of emergency and disaster. One way or other way, individually or collectively people are rendering their services voluntarily on different occasions and incidents. Sparing time from hectic schedule to contribute for establishing safer communities, poverty alleviation and capacity building of communities, imparting professional life saving skills, direct or indirect involvement for sustainable development without any agreed stipend are different examples of volunteerism. World over people are trying to serve their communities, few are linked with government organizations, few are linked with Non-Government organizations but good thing is their intention, motivation and practical participation towards peace and prosperity in their communities .
The volunteering services have been acknowledged by Global Platform resulted International Volunteer Day (IVD) was established by United Nation (UN) General Assembly through Resolution 40/212 on 17 December, 1985. Since having the legal recognition civil society, United Nation Systems, Non-Government organizations, Government organizations celebrate the IVD on 5th of December every year. This is the day to promote volunteers contributions to development at local, national and international level. This is the special day to pay tribute to the volunteers working for betterment and development in their communities. I pay heartily regard to all those people who rendered their services for sustainable development by volunteering their time towards mobilizing and engaging communities and imparting skills to have positive socio economic impact for better future. Volunteers’ continuous efforts are not only great contribution towards development rather a real strength to achieve global Sustainable Development Goals 2030.
As the volunteers are driven by a desire to contribute to the well-being of their society, without expectation of material reward, and their efforts promote civic values and social cohesion, so concerned organizations should give them proper right to assist them with recognition as volunteers are registered with Punjab Emergency Service Rescue 1122 as Community Emergency Response Team member. They get recognition as Rescue Scouts and work with Emergency Service in all mass gathering events like, Muharram, Eids, Rabbi ul Awal after getting trainings from rescue trainers on life saving skills, emergency evacuation, community search and rescue techniques, shifting protocol, fire safety and basic firefighting.
Furthermore volunteers are encouraged to be part of safety mission by identifying hazards vulnerabilities and capacities assessment of their area, providing emergency response in case of emergency, launching safety awareness campaigns and events to sensitize citizens for healthy and safe living. Rescue1122 also provides platform to volunteers to work for their area with full technical support of 1122 professionals and bring in notice the major problems of their areas related emergency and disaster to further follow up by District Emergency.
Officer Rescue 1122 through District Emergency Board Meeting headed by concerned District Coordination Officer. This bottom up approach is the best way to address issues at government level and collective efforts by the community and the government for prevention of increasing number of emergencies and developing safer communities in Pakistan. It has been observed that volunteers attached with different Non-Government Organizations and National Societies work with full devotion in case of any disaster situation but they all trained differently by their organizations on their own approved training manuals of different training programs, which needs to be standardized at national level for uniformity in the services .
In the aftermath of all major disasters like earthquake 2005, Haiti earthquake in 2010, flood 2010 and 2012 Pakistani were found very generous and motivated towards disaster response and relief activities. It is highly encouraging and commendable that people want to contribute to help others within their capacities. It is also a hard fact that the trend of volunteering services is seasonal in our country. It only comes out when we are stuck with a disaster. This trend is different in developed nations as they take it their obligation and work for betterment of their community.
Volunteer should start work with true spirit of working free of cost that means giving services free of cost or Fee Sabeelillah (In the way of Allah). The volunteer working in the way of Allah means without blaming employee of concerned organization for paid working, without any hypocrisy or show off nature of his / her work and performing those tasks for which he/she is qualified and have time. Volunteering should be priority of everyone especially professionals should play a lead role in rendering their services on volunteer basis. The doctors, teachers, lawyers, engineers and experts of different fields can earn extra money but all should spare sometime for volunteer services because their participation can create a visible difference for developing healthier and safer communities in Pakistan. Volunteer efforts never get wasted as it develops trust among the society, develop strong linkages between groups, enhance harmony and limits the distance.
World over volunteers are unsung heroes of the nation because they selflessly provide huge contribution of their time and skills. I pay rich tribute to all on behalf of Emergency Service Rescue 1122 for their continuous motivation valuable contribution and being responsible citizen of their community.