Nepal launch volunteerism book and award volunteers in a week-long IVD celebration
20 December 2002
Katmandu: Celebrations for International Volunteer Day (IVD) in Nepal this year extended from 3 until 11 December. Several volunteer organizations and government agencies organized volunteering activities including a book launching and awarding volunteers as part of an effort to promote volunteerism in the country.
Nepalese witnessed several expressions of volunteerism -- providing blankets and snacks to old people, cleaning shelters for the aged, distributing second hand clothes to street children, essay writing contests for students and painting of schools. These were organized by the National Federation of Disabled and the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme.
Highlighting the celebration was the launching of the book, "Volunteerism in Nepal" on 5 December, led by former Prime Minister Lokendra Chandra. The book was the outcome of a research done during the International Year of the Volunteer (IYV) 2001. It contains the history, current situation of volunteerism in Nepal as well as narrations of experiences of volunteers and heads of volunteer-sending organizations based in the country. IYV also gave the opportunity to include the volunteering agenda in the Government’s five-year plan and to lobby for a permanent national forum that will solely promote volunteerism in the country.
Another historic first for Nepal was the awarding of model individuals and volunteer-based organizations. Led by the IYV National Committee, a nationwide search was launched for individuals and organizations that have displayed exemplary commitment to volunteering and volunteerism.
Among the winners, in the individual category, were Sewai Lal Chaudhary, a "green campaigner" for the past 20 years; Dr. Rauniar, a homeopathic doctor who established a feeding and learning programme for street children; Prof. T.R. Vaidyay, a pioneer in volunteering programme and research; and Raju Napit, a widow who helps abandoned women to earn income and has recruited hundreds of women volunteers to educate other women on reproductive health, breast cancer and other women-related issues. The Nepal Red Cross Society and a local volunteer-sending agency Samuhik Abhiyan won in the organization category.
A discussion forum on the "Role of Volunteers in Development" was also held amongst government representatives, members of the media and volunteer organizations. The event was attended by more than 100 people and was organized by the Nepal Volunteers Federation.