At a time people with disabilities are making efforts to work in community as other citizens, ENGAGE, the national NGO promoting inclusive volunteerism, in partnership with the International Citizenship Service, ICS organized an event “Everybody can serve.”
Managed by VSO, the aim of the event was to develop partnership, networking fostering event promoting a more inclusive society through volunteerism.
“Our aim is to engage the people with disabilities in community through different means including sports,” said Simone Galimberti, cofounder of ENGAGE. “The participation was encouraging.”
Volunteerism can be seen as a transformative platform that can offer persons living with disabilities empowerment opportunities to reclaim their due role in society. “Volunteerism proves that persons living with disabilities can also be active citizenship, shifting the traditional stereotype “paradigm” that sees them only as “passive” recipients of aid and social work,” said Galimberti.
The event included a market place, a partnership/collaboration corner and discussion/debate component. Twenty Eight organizations, including private sector companies and not for profit took part to the market place.
“Volunteerism is a two way, a person with disability can learn new skills and build professionalism and build career opportunities through volunteering,” said Birendra Pokharel, Past President National Federation Disable Nepal.
The objective of the event was to create awareness about how people living with disabilities can be active agents of change through volunteerism, sharing of practices among volunteering and disabilities focused organizations and creating opportunities for networking and new partnerships.
“Volunteerism can boost the employability skills of persons living with disabilities and can help bring persons living with disabilities back to the society,” said Sagar Prasai
“Why a person living with disabilities cannot volunteer? Why a person living with disability cannot be a social worker but just be at receiving hands?” asked Sushil Adhikari.
Mukunda Dahal, Secretary, National Federation Disable Nepal “Volunteerism should be done by pitting or sympathizing but should be done to empower by empathizing; we do not need sympathy but we need equality.”
ENGAGE promotes inclusive volunteerism as a platform to empower persons living with disabilities. ENGAGE runs ENGAGE Corps, a national part time service experience focused on disability sector.
” So far seventy volunteers have been involved in projects related to sport (wheelchair basketball), education (support for persons living with disabilities). ENGAGE is working to make sure that a person living with disability can also volunteer,” said Galimberti.
Shudarson Subedi, a leading the international disability community, Ashoka Fellows and current President the National Federation Disabled Nepal (NFDN) and Chair person of Disabled Peoples International South Asia and Vice Chair person