Rosario Sequitin, 53, from the Philippines has been working in the Capital as a volunteer for the past 10 months; Rahul Chakraborty, 31, has spent one-and-a-half years in the Ghana and helped form a national-level disability forum there.
On Wednesday, Rosario, Rahul and many others gathered at the India Habitat Centre on the occasion of International Volunteer Day and discussed the need for active citizenship for sustainable development, in a bid to promote volunteering as the future of development in the country.
Organised by VSO India — an independent international development organisation that offers volunteers an opportunity to work abroad — the meet was attended by people from across the country who have been working in the world, as well as individuals from abroad who are working voluntarily here in development sectors like empowerment of marginalised communities including dalits, tribals, Muslims, women and the disabled on issues related to health, education, livelihood, and disabilities.
Ratna Viswanathan, executive director of VSO India, said there is an increasing trend towards volunteering in India in different ways. "It can be teaching, supporting an online campaign or helping senior citizens. However, the need of the hour is professional volunteers who help in capacity building of civil society organisations," she said.
Panelists at the seminar included Dr Nachiket Mor, musician Rahul Ram and journalist Jehangir Pocha, who discussed on the various facets of volunteering. The crowd shared their experiences and suggested ways to popularise the sector.
VSO has also organised a volunteer mela on Friday as a continuation of the event. "This is where young people from universities and people from other walks of life will have an opportunity to interact with VSO India and its partners and sign up for volunteering. It will be followed up with an Indian Ocean concert," Vishwanathan said.