The whole country of Azerbaijan, as well as the city of winds, beautiful capital city of Baku, holds its breaths in expectation of hosting the 4th Islamic Solidarity Games. With only 107 days to go until this historic sporting event, the preparations for the Games are in full swing. Even with a team of specialists making sure that the event will be hosted successfully, the role of volunteers cannot be overstated. More than 12500 candidates sent their applications to the Baku 2017 Volunteering Program to become part of the Islamic Solidarity Games.
"This number has exceeded all our expectations. We are surprised, however, such enthusiasm expressed by young people towards representing their country is obviously a result of Baku2015 first European Games’ success. The Games are for everyone, and apart from the sporting, economic and social aspect, they create huge opportunity for young generation to learn, experience and develop. Over 76% of interviewed volunteers explained their willingness and interest in Baku 2017 games referring to the work experience and important skills their friends gained during Baku2015 European Games. So, the new wave of volunteers was for sure inspired by the previous brilliant experience of their friends." – said Afsun Gurbanov, Senior Manager, Workforce.
One of the volunteers giving it their all to work at Baku 2017 Islamic Solidarity Games is Maleyka Taghizade. She is only 16, but she volunteered in over 15 projects. She notes that her interest in volunteering on other projects skyrocketed after Baku 2015 European Games.
"Everybody likes winning and for me, becoming Ambassador Volunteer on Islamic Solidarity Games is a win. Some young people who know nothing about volunteering and its principles may think that it is a simple waste of time. But in reality it is not a waste, its earning – you make new friends and gain professional experience.
I was always interested in sports. I even went to Volleyball but due to injury left my training. And in order to keep my sporting spirit I’ve decided to join volunteering, and looking back at this decision now I can say that it was a brilliant decision.
Being a volunteer is similar to being an athlete, but in my humble opinion volunteering is way more interesting. Here we work as a team, despite differences in race, religion or language, what we do is respect each other.
Moreover, before the start of the Games volunteers are participating in leadership, public speaking, social communications trainings. Of course, these trainings could help us in building our career and develop in all spheres."
The Ambassador Volunteer Maleyka, who now studies at the 11th grade and prepares to apply to a university, also shared her plans for the future: "I’m thinking of hosting a radio show in the future. International events like the Islamic Solidarity Games sure help you improve your language skills, which is very good for my future career.
Getting ready for the exams all day obviously tires me out. But the team that works with the Islamic Solidarity Games Volunteers is thinking of different activities so we would have a fun time. For example, the "Show your talent" contest will be help among volunteers soon and I plan on singing in that contest. It’s not hard to see that the contest will be very interesting and competitive.
Maleyka, who stresses that she wants to develop not only as a volunteer at the Islamic Solidarity Games, but also a helpful member of the society, already has her own project, despite her young age.
"My project is a camping project for the youth. More than 300 young people will take part in the project. My experiece as a volunteer helped me make a decision to bring this project to life. In a way this experience raised my confidence. Now I know where to start. The motto of "If you want something, you will achieve it; you just have to believe" that was taught to us during the Games made me realize that there is nothing I can’t do.
Volunteering at the Baku 2017 Islamic Solidarity Games means being united to me and solidarity is the bridge that will take us to a brighter future."