Today is International Volunteers Day and it is through volunteering that we see the power of women to invoke human rights.
Since 1948 the UN has been proclaiming the rights that every individual is entitled to regardless of race, colour, religion, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Each person’s dignity can only be fully recognised by acknowledging our inherent human rights to freedom and justice whilst living a peaceful existence. So this year the COVID-19 pandemic has influenced the 2020 Human Rights Day theme – Recover Better – Stand Up for Human Rights. Accordingly, better human rights are central to recovery and tackling inequalities, exclusion and discrimination is a task for every human, each of us in our own small or large way depending on our capacity.
“Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home — so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world… Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world”. Eleanor Roosevelt.
As we lead up to Human Rights Day on the 10th December, let’s be challenged to consider how we, as one individual, working with a team can make a difference. The UN raises awareness on the important role volunteers play in responding to the challenges facing the world through this annual International Volunteers Day. Consequently, the 2020 theme is Together We Can Through Volunteering.
Volunteering – Women’s Super Power!
Volunteering is both challenging and rewarding. So it is challenging because it means commitment even when you don’t feel like it. People are depending on you, and being a no show can let many down. But it is also very rewarding because you can take action toward a value that you hold. Therefore your actions literally drive the issue forward creating the needed change in the world. Also it is empowering human rights in a way money can’t. It’s mobilising people power.
Women are great at this. Hence through out history women have invoked many human rights. Volunteering is an inextricable part of Australia’s national identity with 5.8 million formal volunteers donating 734 million hours of time to the community. Women volunteer more commonly than men – 36% compared to 32%. ‘Joanne Scott argued that, for many women, and especially their leaders, volunteering was a ‘career’. Or, as Arlene Daniels termed it, they were ‘community service professionals with invisible careers’ (Scott, 14; Daniels, xxvi). Prominent women in voluntary organisations established and pursued careers, at the same time exercising considerable power within their various voluntary organisations. Cecilia Downing who led the Federated Association of Australian Housewives is a case in point; her career involved a range of voluntary associations over many decades (Smart, 1994; Smart, ADB; Carey & Heywood, AWR).’ Read more
Why I Volunteer
I have been a volunteer at the Freedom Hub for three years. Roles have taken up include, being a survivor school teacher, accompanying survivors on excursions, as a co-writer of the Survivor School curriculum, attending events, setting up, serving and clearing at events and now writing blog posts!
I juggle this with work, family, study and- well, just life. Why do I do volunteer? As a woman of faith, I want to live out my belief that each person deserves dignity and access to opportunities through the empowerment of education and inclusion. Therefore, we must not leave it others. Each one of us has a responsibility to act as Eleanor Roosevelt states “In small places, close to home” . So we need to look for opportunities to make a difference, close to home and as citizens of our Earth.
Written by: Gail Staples
Want to know more about volunteering with us at the Freedom Hub – ask here and we will send you an info pack
Want to know more about human rights?
Tomorrows article: How to Shop Ethically
ABOUT 16 DAYS OF FREEDOM
Thank you for your part in this 16 Days of Freedom. We cannot change culture without awareness so please share this post with your friends. Here are the hashtags for your share: #16daysoffreedom #freedomhuborg #womensrights #orangetheworld
16 Days of Freedom is a campaign we are running to align with the UN awareness campaign United Nations’ UNiTE campaign on gender violence against women and girls. We are focussing on women and girls in slavery. For 16 days we will post a story to highlight the issue. To end the 16days we invite you to come to or host a Festive High Tea for Human Rights. These will be held on or near the UN Human Rights Day on the 10th December.
You can join our High Tea for Human Rights in Waterloo, Sydney, by clicking HERE.
You can Host your own High Tea by registering HERE and we will send you an information and fact sheet to read or distribute to your guests.
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