LAHORE - Bargad Volunteer Network (BVN) arranged youth conference on Friday in collaboration with e-library Government of Punjab and Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO). More than 300 young volunteers from across the country participated in the event held in connection with Volunteer Day.

The IVD commemoration was dedicated to this year’s theme “Volunteers Build Resilient Communities” as recognition of volunteers who contribute to making their communities more resilient against natural disasters, economic stresses and political shocks.

Young social entrepreneur Noor Imran moderated proceedings of the commemoration while earlier an informal session with youth was conducted by Usama Nasir. Those who attended the celebrations also included MPA Saadia Sohail, MPA Haroon Imran Gill, Incharge E-library Asif Bilal, Head Girls Guide Association Mrs Shafqat Rafiq, Senior Education Advisor VSO Jamil Najam and educationist Taimur Bandey. 

Saadia Sohail said that while thinking about volunteerism, the first person comes to mind is Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). He volunteered to show the right path. Quaid-e-Azam volunteered to make this country. Life of a politician is a living example of volunteerism. Present day volunteers will make a difference under Imran Khan who gives special attention to youth.

Haroon Imran Gill said that to lead community one has to focus on objectives not money. “Volunteering is inbuilt in our culture. We can see this in emergency situations and community services at the grassroots level”, he said.

Executive Director Bargad Sabiha Shaheen informed that Pakistan ranks 10th in number of volunteers globally with 58 million volunteers. The global volunteer workforce is more than half of the employed persons of 10 most populous countries. She said that volunteering is largely informal. She emphasized to promote formal and organized voluntary actions in Pakistan.

Mrs Shafqat Rafiq briefed about the work of Girls Guide Movement that it is doing to help girls for taking community service. She recommended that life skills should be part of curriculum and the educational institutions should run volunteering programs.

Jamil Najam urged the volunteers to fight poverty through local communities, run clean and green Pakistan campaign, introduce councils in schools and colleges, make environment societies, help each other and take responsibility for actions.

Taimur Bandey spoke about volunteering as a hands-on experience of youth to groom their social skills and serve the local communities. He proposed to institutionalize volunteerism and said universities should make it mandatory for admissions. Volunteer programs should be student led rather than administration led.

Noor Imran informed that the BVN is a youth-led network of volunteers working in 18 universities and 83 districts of all provinces to promote volunteering, celebrate diversity and create virtual and physical spaces for youth in Pakistan. Presently, there are 2588 BVN members, including 813 male and 1775 female volunteers.