YOUTH VOLUNTEERISM CELEBRATED IN BHUTANWritten by Cristina
International Volunteer Day was celebrated after a few years of pause in Bhutan, at the Clock Tower Square in the capital Thimphu. In addition to general audience passing by - the square being situated next to the main shopping road of the capital - IVD gathered around invited 150 guests during the day, representing different sections of the society from youth groups and civil society organizations to government officials, international organizations and volunteers. Two local young volunteers hosted the event as MCs, both in English and Dzongkha.
The main speakers of the opening event were UN Resident Coordinator, Ms Christina Carlson and JICA Chief Representative, Ms Yumiko Asakuma. Additionally, volunteer testimonies were given by Mr Kencho Dorji (Go Youth Go, local youth-led informal organization), Ms Janese Boots (Australian Volunteers for International Development program), and Ms Sangay Chezom (Bhutan Youth Foundation), sharing their experiences as volunteers in Bhutan. Spectators had the opportunity to sign up as volunteers, as well as to write on a wall what volunteerism means for them.
One of the highlights of the day was the first ever "flash mob" organized in Bhutan, around 50 international and Bhutanese volunteers dancing together to a rehearsed choreography, with the vocalist singing her song live.
IVD was noted in most national media, including the Bhutan Broadcasting Service with an insert in the main television news followed by discussion panel on "Volunteerism in Bhutan" both in English and Dzongkha.
To commemorate the day, we searched for Bhutanese volunteers' stories where people's creativity and compassion in volunteerism had led to positive change. The short documentary film with two of these stories is now available online (click here).
IVD programme was largely organized by youth volunteers from different youth-led and volunteer involving organizations in cooperation with the Department of Youth and Sports in the Ministry of Education. The event was coordinated by UNV, and supported by Australian Government's Australian Volunteers for International Development (AVID) program and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
- IVD Bhutan: youth volunteers in a group photo IVD Bhutan: youth volunteers in a group photo
- Volunteer board Volunteer board
- IVD 2013 Bhutan IVD 2013 Bhutan
- Flash mob: first ever in Bhutan! Flash mob: first ever in Bhutan!