International Volunteer Day Observance 2010 in Sudan

UNVs, Children’s Charity Team UP to Restore Hospital Palliative Centre for Cancer Patients in Khartoum

Khartoum, 5 December 2010 - “Volunteering for Millennium Development Goals” was the theme of the International Volunteer Day 2010 in Khartoum. A commemorative event was organized to celebrate the IVD 2010 amidst much festivity at the Radiation and Isotopes Center in Khartoum (RICK) of the Khartoum City Hospital.

Over 100 United Nations Volunteers (UNVs) worked hand-in-hand with volunteers from 99199, a local charity to spruce up three palliative care wards of the hospital. 99199 is mobilizing attention and resources for Sudan’s first state-of-the-art cancer hospital for children. Land for the hospital has been acquired in Omdurman, adjoining Khartoum and is expected to be built by 2013.

The event began by a recitation of Muslim and Christian prayers. One of the lead speakers at the event was the hospital’s administrator, Dr. Ahmed Omer. While thanking the Volunteers for volunteering their time to clean up the palliative wards, Dr. Omer drew attention to the rising numbers of cancer patients in Sudan and the need for care and treatment services for such patients.

The UN Resident Coordinator, Mr. Georg Charpentier, who was present on the occasion, applauded the contribution the UNVs are making in relief, humanitarian and development activities in Sudan, including in remote and difficult locations such as Bentiu and Abyei. Mr. Charpentier used the occasion to deliver the message of the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon’s message to mark the International Volunteer Day.

After the formal ceremony the volunteers got down to work to rehabilitate the three wards identified for refurbishment. They wiped, mopped, washed, and painted the wards. Those with a background of civil engineering among the volunteers carried out the needed repairs.

For three full hours hands went up and down in what seemed like a well-choreographed symphony of buckets, brooms, brushes, mops, gloves and dust pans, among others.

The three wards restored are meant to be used for male, female and child patients.

Thanks to assistance of the UNV programme in Sudan, the four beds in the children’s ward were furnished with mattresses, bed sheets and garbage bins. After painting the walls clean, a section of the volunteers painted floral designs on the walls that made the children’s ward come alive.

The International Volunteer Day is observed to recognize the contribution of volunteers in peace and development initiatives around the world. It is easy to dismiss the work done by the volunteers at the palliative centre as an exercise in tokenism but it sure helped save precious and limited resources needed for carrying out maintenance and restoration work by the hospital for its wards.

The IVD 2010 in Khartoum was also a day of fun. After completing the restoration of the palliative centre, the Volunteers joined a group of children in singing, dancing and merriment. The Hospital Waiting Lounge was soon transformed into a rocking dance floor as the DJ played the popular Waka Waka number by pop-singer Shakira. The song was the theme song for the FIFA World Cup held in South Africa. Next, the UNVs and 99199 volunteers teamed up with the children to participate in a tug-of-war contest. The galvanizing IVD event at the Khartoum hospital concluded with a rip-roaring performance by a Sudanese stand-up comedian.

More than 800 International and National UN volunteers from over 40 nationalities are currently working with different UN agencies in Sudan, making it the largest UNV operation in the world.


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