The value of volunteering work is underestimated by Cambodia’s youth, according to Sean Borat, secretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport (MoEYS).
More than 33 per cent of Cambodians are aged between 15 and 30 years old. However, only a small number appreciate the importance of volunteering work in Cambodia and around the world.
The United Nations (UN), the Education Ministry and volunteers themselves consider voluteering work to be highly valuable for young people. Volunteers help improve quality of life for others. They also gain valuable experience and develop new skills.
Borat was speaking at the eighth National Forum on Volunteerism on Wednesday – International Volunteer Day 2018 – under the theme “Volunteers build resilient communities” at the Institute of Technology of Cambodia (ITC).
He said volunteering work is not only important for individuals but it is an instrinsic part of Cambodian society and contributes to the global community.
He promised that the youth department of the MoEYS will continue to cooperate with the UN and other international organsiations to promote volunteering work in Camboida.
“Volunteering work belongs to all nationals across the world, to work to improve oneself, family, society and community. Volunteering work contributes to society and vice versa,” he added.
In a her keynote speech at the ITC, UN Resident Coordinator Pauline Tamesis said: “The fifth of December is a special day for volunteers and volunteering organisations worldwide as this is the day we celebrate your efforts, share your values, and showcase your contributions to community cohesion and development.”
“The 2018 International Volunteer Day in Cambodia is more significant than in the past because this year we celebrate especially the efforts of Cambodian volunteers in communities who, more than ever through their dedicated hard work, are fast becoming part of the solutions for development in the country,” she added.
Volunteerism is now globally recognised as a powerful contribution to peace and development. Latest studies indicate that the global volunteer workforce is equivalent to 109 million full-time workers.
“Think about it!” Tamesis said. “In 2018, the size of the entire US labour force reached 160 million people. So the global volunteer workforce is significant and matches the size of major global industries.”
Ear Vanary, a fourth year university student at ITC and a volunteer who participated at the International Volunteer Day event, told The Post that she often volunteers with NGOs and the community.
“More than 33 per cent of Cambodians are still in their study years. However, only a minor percentage participate in volunteering work, ” Vanary said.
She added that the work offers many benefits: “Volunteer work helps make me a leader, helps me to work within a team, to solve solutions and aquire more skills.”
Srun Srorn, president of Cam-Asean Youth’s Future, said that more people are participating in government social work but not enough young people are volunteering in other key areas.
“The number of volunteering youth is limited because we don’t have [a strategy] to choose young people to participate and they don’t know where find volunteering work, ” he said.
He said the Ministry of Education’s chief method for sourcing volunteers is through the Cambodian scouts programme.
“Civil society doesn’t have mechanism to offer volunteering work to young people yet, like Ministry of Education, and cannot provide value to volunteering work, ” he added.