Last week, the president of Rwanda Red Cross (RRC) Bernard Nzigiye called upon the public especially the youth to embrace voluntary work saying they are not only the core foundation of the organization, but a key tool to national development.
He explained that although the organization has done a lot to get volunteers, it still needs more.
“Based on the activities we intend to carry out this year in reaching out to the needy, we need more volunteers to make sure that our work can benefit a big number of people in the poor communities,” he said.
He pointed out that the organization needs about 100,000 volunteers but that it has only managed to get 40,000.
However, he noted that the culture is really lagging behind and that a lot needs to be done in making sure people understand the reason why such services are important to the community.
Margret Mugabirwa is one of RRC`s volunteers who doubles as the Coordinator of Kicukiro and Bugesera districts.
In an interview with The Sunday Times, Mugabirwa said based on her experience for the time she has worked with RRC, the youth will effectively contribute to the development of their communities if they could work as a team or volunteer.
“The most important thing is to realize the benefits of voluntary work to the communities or even to the poor and needy.”
“Some youth are willing to work with us, but most of them are too reluctant, something that to me proves they are not much aware as to why we engage in such activities,” said Mugabirwa who has been working with RRC since 2000.
This was during a meeting that brought together RRC district representatives to check on their achievements as well as setting plans for 2012.
Just like Mugabirwa, most of the participants echoed the same concern.
Mugabirwa`s call for the youth to engage in supporting those who can not afford basic services came just a week after the Gender Minster, Aloysea Inyumba, called upon parliamentarians and the community to support the disabled and the mentally handicapped.
The Minister had initiated a move that saw medical staff of Rwanda Military Hospital offering a week long free medical services to children of Inshuti Zacu Centre for the physically and mentally handicapped in Kicukiro District.
“Children even those who have not got the chance to stay in such centres deserve assistance and its our responsibility as Rwandans to support the young generation so that they can have good health and education so that they take part in the development of this country in future ,” the Minister said. Inyumba called upon district authorities to consider allocating services related to supporting the needy on the district budget.
Speaking to some people about voluntary work, people have mixed reactions about it and indeed, there should be a simplified mechanism to educate the public about it.
However, those with the knowledge are well versed.
“Apart from benefiting others, voluntary work is also very important as it enables people to get experience especially if they are engaged in works connected to their career,” says Aline Uwera, an accounting student at the School of Finance and Banking (SFB).