In my youth, I often volunteered with orphanages and animal rescue organizations in my country. Although I felt that I could and should do more to help build a better world, I didn’t know where to start. This was until I delved into the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
I then realized that what I wanted was a volunteer assignment within the United Nations system, particularly in a place where I could advocate for equality, respect for diversity and peace and development. I applied for a UNV assignment and was accepted as an Air Operations Assistant with UNMISS.
UNMISS was established in 2011 after South Sudan became the newest country on earth and works to deter violence, provide refuge at Protection of Civilian sites across the country, facilitate humanitarian assistance and investigate human rights violations. It is an impartial partner at national and sub-national level to political, religious, traditional and community leaders to foster reconciliation.
The people of South Sudan deserve to enjoy life, deserve to have food, water, electricity, education and a prosperous future for their children. This is the spirit of volunteerism for me – volunteering to make people’s lives better. --Ia Saakadze, UN Volunteer Air Operations Assistant