5 December marks International Volunteer Day (IVD), an occasion to celebrate and promote the efforts of volunteers around the world - including those in Luxembourg.
The United Nations General Assembly mandated this international observance in 1985. The theme in 2023 is recognising "the power of collective action: if everyone did". The idea, according to the United Nations is that "if everyone volunteered, the world would be a better place".
In Luxembourg, many organisations (including those with links to the international business, social and sports communities) rely on and continue to seek volunteers. An example of a recent event made possible thanks to the efforts of volunteers is the International Bazaar (Bazar International de Luxembourg), one of the biggest charitable community events in the Grand Duchy - run entirely by volunteers.
Volunteers are the backbone of many other clubs and associations, animal shelters, charities and other non-profit organisations in the Grand Duchy. Anyone interested in volunteering can thus do so in almost any field: from helping out at sports clubs (see also: https://sportunity.org/) or with scouting (including the English-speaking Telstar International Scout Group) to supporting animals and nature (e.g. the nature conservation NGO natur&ëmwelt or at various animal shelters / animal welfare organisations), or joining the team behind a particular business club or chamber (there are many to choose from in Luxembourg: American, British, Irish...) or strengthening the team of a charity in support of a particular cause (from supporting medical research or women and children's issues to helping refugees and other vulnerable members of society).
According to Luxembourg's Ministry of Family Affairs, Solidarity, Living Together and Reception, the International Year of Volunteers in 2001 "gave an important boost to volunteering" in the Grand Duchy. The following year, the Higher Council for Volunteering was created, which in turn led to the launch of the Agence du Bénévolat and its volunteering portal. This agency works to promote and develop volunteering and the website provides information on specific volunteering opportunities in Luxembourg: https://benevolat.lu/agence.
Other sources of information on this subject include the Serve the City (Luxembourg) online volunteering platform: https://servethecity.lu/. Serve the City first launched in Brussels, Belgium in 2005 with a week of volunteering before expanding to about 100 cities around the world.
Luxembourg also offers volunteer service programmes for young people (aged 16-30), coordinated by the National Youth Service (Service National de la Jeunesse - SNJ). These include the national volunteer service programme (in Luxembourg), the European Solidarity Corps (in other European countries) and the Development Volunteer Service (in developing countries). Further information is available on Guichet.lu.
IVD 2023 celebrations in Luxembourg include the launch of a new magazine by WeCitizens, a local non-profit organisation dedicated to the development of the social and solidarity economy - proceeds from Cosmopolis 21 go towards the non-profit's initiatives.
Another way to celebrate this occasion is by simply getting involved by volunteering when and where one can. In return for their time and commitment, volunteers (in any field) can develop their skills, make new connections and keep active, all while giving back to their community.