International Volunteer Day (IVD) – (December 5) is an international observance designated by the United Nations since 1985. It offers an opportunity for volunteers and volunteer organisations to make visible their contributions at local, national and international levels – to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
The IVD is marked by many NGOs; it is also marked and supported by United Nations Volunteers. Apart from mobilising thousands of volunteers every year, the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme works closely with partners and governments to establish national volunteer programmes to create structures that foster and sustain local volunteerism in countries. The main focus of IVD 2014 is not only celebrate volunteerism in all its facets – but also pay special tribute to people’s participation in making a difference at all levels. IVD 2014 highlights the contribution of volunteers in engaging people from the grass-roots in decision-making processes, ultimately creating space for participation that leads to: stronger governance, social cohesion, peace and sustainable development.
According to statistics for volunteerism in Canada the numbers speak to the dedication and commitment of individuals willing to make a difference in other people’s lives. In 2010, more than 13.3 million people, accounting for 47 per cent of Canadians aged 15 and over did volunteer work. Overall, volunteers devoted almost 2.1 billion hours to their volunteer activities, a volume of work equivalent to around 1.1 million full-time jobs.
Following the same tradition Gujarati Cultural Society of Manitoba (GCSM) organised various cultural and social activities. According to Taruna Tailor, Director GCSM, this year the Society organised Bhajan Sandhya, cultural activities, annual picnic, Anand Bazaar (Food Festival), participated in FOLKORAMA, and celebrated Navaratra, Diwali, Cricket and Volleyball Tournament.
GCSM also publishes quarterly newsletter ‘DARPAN’ for their members and running the School with the active participation of volunteers, School which is recognized by the provincial school system of Manitoba. Beside these regular activities this year GCSM organised Kite Flying in Honour of Narendra Modi’s winning the Parliamentary Election in India.
The GCSM is a non-profit organization was founded in 1978 in Winnipeg by people from the western State (Province) of Gujarat, India. The primary objective of GCSM is preserving and promoting the native language, traditions, heritage and culture. With more than two thousand members, the GCSM has been actively involved in enhancing the understanding and friendship among all other communities in Manitoba.
Taruna said that, “There are plenty of opportunities for volunteers who are willing to serve the society and volunteering provides an excellent opportunity to develop leadership skills.” She shared that she is able to participate in the community activity with her job only with the active support and motivation of her Daughter Sarita, Son Sagar and Husband Bharat Tailor; she is working with Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport.