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IRCS embark on developing Volunteering Management Guidelines 

Volunteers work behind the scene with almost little acknowledgement but their work may change the complexion of the community. The charitable organizations in the world believe, that they are able to run their operation with the support of the volunteers  ‘People want to volunteer and we work as the catalysts' said Dr. S.P. Agarwal, Secretary General, IRCS while addressing the valedictory function of the ‘Volunteering in Emergencies' Workshop held from November 27th – 29th, 2007 at the National Headquarters. The workshop however was organized at CTI, IRCS, Bahadurgarh, Haryana. He further stated that volunteering is at the core of the Red Cross movement and the challenge of today is to retain the volunteers.

The workshop was an eye-opener for 26 participants who represented different State branches of the Indian Red Cross Society. At the inaugural function Mr. Mohamed Babiker, Head of India Office, International Federation quoted his own example of starting his career with the Red Cross as a volunteer in 1984. He also said that the volunteers can surely be of great help in achieving the goals of Global Agenda and Millennium Development. Mr. N.K. Singh, Director (Dissemination) stated that we are looking for the volunteers and volunteers are looking for us. We need to finalize the volunteer policy and implement it as soon as possible.

Mr. Prabir Kumar Das, 37 years of age and a volunteer with the Orissa Red Cross State branch for the past five years said that “Super Cyclone of 1999 of Orrisa made me realize the power of volunteerism and the role of Red Cross in search, rescue and relief operations. I was so much influenced that I joined Red Cross”. He further said that he'll serve Red Cross till his last breath as his life has been given a direction Mr. Das has been awarded by the Governor of Orissa, twice for his commendable work in Red Cross activities. He also organized a cycle rally with 25 other local volunteers and covered a journey of 700 km from Boudh to Bhubneshwar and spread awareness on the Red Cross activities. 

Ms. Binita Burman Dutta, representing the women cadre of volunteers is a teacher by profession and a volunteer with Assam State branch for the past four years. She said “I never wished to become a housewife. Red Cross has changed my life as it has given me a reason to live and helped me in my confidence building'.

The workshop covered almost all the aspects of volunteer management and provided a platform in obtaining inputs from the branches to develop the emergency-volunteering concept. The positive outcomes were that a Volunteer Cell would be created at the National Headquarters level, Uniform Volunteer Registration Form would be developed and efforts would be made with the support of the participants to come up with a database on volunteers which could be of great help during the emergencies.
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