On 5 December, thousands of volunteers worldwide observe the International Volunteer Day designated by the United Nations. Polish volunteers have carried out 120 projects in 39 countries as part of the Polish Aid volunteer programme during the last five years.
In 2013, Polish Aid enabled 35 volunteers to work in children’s homes, support education of young people from urban slums and poor rural areas, fight against social exclusion and provide medical assistance in 14 countries. This year, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs co-financed twenty-three currently running projects to the tune of over PLN 1.2 billion.
In 2008-2013, as part of the Polish Aid Volunteering Programme, 175 volunteers travelled to Asia, the Caucasus, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and Ukraine. Polish aid funds helped finance volunteer projects to the tune of PLN 7 million during that period.
Polish Aid supports projects that send volunteers to one of over 150 countries from the list of recipients of official development assistance drawn up by the OECD Development Assistance Committee.
Volunteers are usually young, but must be over 18, have Polish citizenship, educational background and skills to qualify for a specific projects. In the case of Polish Aid projects, long-term volunteerism lasts at least three months, while short-term volunteerism – a minimum of 6 weeks.
The International Volunteer Day (IVD) was established by UN General Assembly’s resolution dated 17 December 1985 in recognition of young people who dedicate their time and energy to supporting sustainable development and world peace.
This year on the International Volunteer Day, the UN has launched a special Internet service which enables volunteers to post a short account of their projects. At the time of publication, close to 19 thousand histories by volunteer project participants from all over the world were uploaded on www.volunteeractioncounts.org.