UNV: A symbol of global solidarity

November, Sudan: UN Volunteer Jen Paton helps to refurbish classrooms at the Hope Institute for Teaching and Rehabilitation of Deaf Children. Credit: OCHA
A UN Volunteer in Sudan shares her thoughts on International Volunteers’ Day

Jen Paton is a UN Volunteer working with the UN Office for OCHA in Khartoum. To mark International Volunteer Day on 5 December, Jen spent a day at the Hope Institute for Teaching and Rehabilitation of Deaf Children, working with students to refurbish classrooms at the school.

“Spending a day outside the office with the kids from the Hope Institute emphasized to me the value volunteerism can have in society,” Jen said. “It gave all the students an opportunity to participate in efforts to make lasting improvements to their school; inspiring them to work together in search of a common goal.”

This dedication and sense of purpose captures the essence of what it means to be a UNV in Sudan. In her role working in OCHA’s humanitarian financing section, Jen is faced with the daily challenge of ensuring that people’s humanitarian needs are met “I feel privileged to be part of an organization working to meet the needs of vulnerable people across Sudan,” she said.

The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme was established by the UN General Assembly in 1970. Today more than 7,500 UN volunteers work to support peace, relief and development initiatives across nearly 140 countries. UNV Sudan brings together almost 500 Sudanese and foreign volunteers, working across the UN system in community-based development projects, humanitarian aid activities and the promotion of human rights and democracy.

Solidarity and Common Purpose

Through volunteerism, UNV looks to foster a sense of solidarity by encouraging people across society to bring about positive change in their global and local communities. Founded on this idea of solidarity, UNV is a programme that transcends geographical, cultural and professional boundaries, instead uniting people through a common purpose to alleviate the scourge of human suffering.

Volunteering is about giving up your time, contributing your skills and standing in solidarity with others. It empowers all people, young or old, to participate in efforts to make a lasting, positive change to society. Over the past week UNV Sudan has put together a series of events aimed at highlighting the value of volunteerism.

“This week we have sent our UNVs out into the community to work with local people on worthwhile projects such as the renovation of a deaf school and juvenile rehabilitation centre,” says Nota Sarafoudi, the UNV Programme Officer in Sudan. “We hope that these projects will empower young people to use their energy, creativity and talents to bring about positive changes in their communities.”

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