“Volunteering: Charity or Solidarity?”
International volunteering is a complex mesh of individuals, groups and institutions that shape our worldview, where the lines between charity and solidarity are never clearly drawn. In the 42nd issue of the ICYE Newsletter we therefore pose the question, “Volunteering: Charity or Solidarity”. Charity refers to help or money given to people in need. Thus, for example, the primary motivation of many volunteers to help others can be aligned with charity, and there is certainly noth-ing wrong with this. Nevertheless, charity can only take us so far. Solidarity moves beyond the help given and is reflected in the quote of the aboriginal activist, Lill Watson, “If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is tied up with mine, then let us work together.” In “Volunteers Voices”, seven current and former volunteers depict their experiences, anecdotes and reflections of their volunteering in relation to theme of the newsletter and propose ideas for building solidarity and work-ing towards a better way of engaging in local communities. An US-American volunteer in Denmark describes it as the begin-nings of her understanding of what it means to be a global citizen. A British volunteer in Honduras explains that he learnt the definition of solidarity from the El Venado community, which taught him as much as he taught them. A Brazilian in Poland places emphasis on ‘exchange’ of life and experiences. A German volunteer in Iceland says it’s about taking and giv-ing, working together as a community. Along the same lines, the British volunteer in Russia and Costa Rican in USA offer that building solidarity is about integrating oneself into the host community. A Swiss volunteer in Honduras says she met people who never gave up and the experience has changed her life and her future. All volunteer articles depict relation-ships built on solidarity, which have led to respect, mutual learning and growth.
News from Int’l Organizations, amongst others, feature: the 10th anniversary of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indig-enous Peoples; and ILO – World Employment and Social Out-look 2016: Trends for Youth. News from NGOs report on: A.I. Report 2016/17; #GirlsCount; the 2017 European Action Week Against Racism; the LLLP Erasmus+ Implementation Survey 2016 Results; and Youth Action Net: New Video Series Profiles Youth Taking Lead on SDGs. ICYE Programme News include: the “Calling Youth to Action in a Global Visibility Drive” training for youth workers; ICYE Ecuador’s workshop on prevention of violence against women ICYE Iceland/AUS meets the new President of Iceland; AUS workshops „Acted Out“ & „Earth Citizens“, respectively on human rights & refugees and on inclusion and equality; PATH – Volunteer Path & Tool for Heritage.
Wishing you an interesting reading, we look forward to receiving articles and pictures for the next issue of “Worlds of Experience”, dedicated to “Good Practice on Intercultural Learning & Human Rights”. Please send your contributions to firstname.lastname@example.org, before 30 June 2017.
ICYE International Office