International Volunteer Day 2018

Picture caption: Volunteers at the meeting in Caicoli. Picture by UN in Timor-Leste.

A group of 15 international volunteers met at the United Nations in Caicoli this week to discuss their experiences and all agreed: volunteering makes us better people.

Today is International Volunteer Day. It is estimated that there are as many as 200 volunteers from all over the world in Timor-Leste at any one time. ‘’We’d like more opportunities for volunteers in rural areas,’’ said Victoria Gregory the Program Manager for the New Zealand Governments Volunteer agency, Volunteer Services Abroad. New Zealand has 24 volunteers in Timor-Leste at the moment, of whom five are stationed outside Dili.

Japan has 32 international volunteers with 16 outside Dili.

The gathering drew volunteers from Japan, Korea, China, Nepal, The United States, and Australia.

Australian volunteer Caroline Gatenby said she had volunteered in Bangladesh, India, Vanuatu and now Timor-Leste.

The volunteers were working in professional and trade areas including graphic arts and design; accountancy; statistics, school teaching, administrative tasks but they bring more than their assigned experience: one had brought his love for soccer, another has started a ‘’frisbee’’ game on Sunday evenings in Dili.

‘’Our strength is people to people connections,’’ Ms Gregory said.

The United Nations in Timor-Leste Resident Coordinator Roy Trivedi began his service career volunteering in India. ‘’Volunteering at the international level is about travel, meeting people and sharing ideas,’’ Mr. Trivedi said.

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