International Volunteer Day is an international observance designated by the United Nations in 1985. It offers an opportunity for volunteer organizations and individuals to make their contributions visible.
The initiative took place along the four walkways of Jeddah city (Tahlia, Rehab, Hilton and Fayhaa); it ran from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
The event included participation of many government hospitals, in addition to a volunteers and specialists who represented many medical departments; many centers for people with special needs also volunteered.
Sierrina Eisa a student at the Open Arab University told Arab News: “Usually I come here to walk with my friends and surprisingly, today I found that the Ministry of Health is celebrating International Day for Volunteering. I think it is a great initiative to encourage youths to volunteer.”
Doctor Hind Faisal, from the department of academic affairs at Sharq Jeddah Hospital, told Arab News: “Sharq Jeddah Hospital and many of its health centers are volunteering today to develop the spirit of volunteering among its employees.”
The campaign aims to provide 2,000 volunteering initiatives distributed through various regions of the Kingdom. it is implemented through 20,000 volunteers among its employees with a total of more than 60,000 volunteering hours.
International Volunteer Day is marked by many non-governmental organizations, including the Red Cross, the scouts and others. It is also marked and supported by UN volunteers.
Apart from mobilizing thousands of volunteers every year, the UN Volunteers program works closely with partners and governments to establish national programs to create structures that foster and sustain local volunteerism. Through the Online Volunteering services, volunteers can take action for sustainable human development by supporting the activities of development organizations over the Internet.
The main focus of International Volunteer Day 2017 is not only to celebrate volunteerism in all its facets, but also to pay special tribute to people’s participation in making a difference locally, nationally and globally.
The Health Minister’s Award for Excellence in Health Volunteering will be announced as well as the best initiatives will be honored at the district level, including hospitals and health centers.