New drive for volunteers
`LEND A HAND' CALL
By John Horgan
A MAJOR programme to stimulate
Catholic interest in volunteer aid to the underdeveloped countries was launched in London by the Sword of the Spirit this week. Called "Volunteers for International Aid", it will concentrate on attracting university graduates and people with technical qualifications for service of a year or longer in the mission countries.
Representatives of eight national organisations attended a meeting organised by the "Sword", and the Newman Association yesterday (Thursday) at which the new programme was discussed.
Delegates from the Union of Catholic Students, Young Christian Workers, Young Christian Students, the League of Christ the King, Ad Lucent and the Grail who spoke stressed the need for Catholics to exercise their responsibilities more fully in the international field.
The new programme plans to recruit volunteers in all the social and technical fields except teaching, which will continue to he handled by the Catholic Overseas Appointments Bureau.
It has five main aims: 1. To provide information, primarily to Catholics and Catholic organisations, about the possibility of technical and social service in the developing countries; 2. To keep in touch with other organisations doing similar work; 3. To co-operate with member organisations of the Lockwood Committee, of which the Sword of the Spirit is a member. This was set up by the Government last year to co-ordinate the work of organisations concerned with volunteer aid; 4. To recruit volunteers directly 'for specifically Catholic organisations and institutions abroad; and 5. To obtain information directly about potential projects in the developing countries.
Mr. Dudley Plunkett, secretary to the programme, told the CATFIOLIC HERALD this week that "Volunteers for International Aid" would not clash with work being done by other groups such as the V.S.O.
"What we want to do," he said, "is to stimulate Catholic interest in this sort of work and make Catholics more conscious of their international responsibilities." In the past. he thought, Catholics had not been sufficiently aware of the opportunities for volunteer service, such as those offered by the