Participants in IVD 2019 celebrations in Lao PDR.
Participants in IVD 2019 celebrations in Vientiane, Lao PDR.

Volunteer for an Inclusive Future: Celebrating International Volunteer Day in Lao PDR

Volunteerism, inclusion, disability, LGBTQ and youth were among the key topics of discussion as UN Volunteers celebrated International Volunteer Day (IVD) with partners at the Faculty of Engineering campus of the National University of Laos in Vientiane.

The IVD 2019 theme, "Volunteer for an Inclusive Future", is a reminder that volunteerism strengthens solidarity and inclusiveness and provides the opportunity for all to participate in the improvement of their communities.

In his welcome speech, Prof. Dr. Vimane Phoummavong, Vice Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, highlighted the importance of the theme, and Alberto Cuomo, UNV Programme Officer in Lao PDR, reiterated that volunteerism is a universally accessible powerful equalizer that can reduce inequalities worldwide.

The event, held on 4 December, was attended by more than 200 students and volunteers who were actively engaged in discussions on how volunteers can contribute to an inclusive future and shared volunteer stories on inclusiveness, as well as interactive awareness-building games.

The event also featured the participation of “Minna-no Café”, a social business run in Vientiane by persons with mental and hearing disabilities, aiming to change the perception of people with disabilities in Lao PDR. (©UNV, 2019

A diverse group of partners joined hands for the celebration, including the Africa-Asia Development Relief Foundation, Laos Volunteers, Australian Volunteers, Cuso International, France Volontaires, Green Vientiane, Huam Jai Asasamak Association, Hubbo platform, Japan International Cooperation Agency, Join Moral Foundation, Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), LGBTQ+ Equality, Stella Association, United Nations Development Programme Accelerator Lab, Vientiane Women and Youth Centre, World Economic Forum Global Shapers and Zero Waste Laos.