In the world we live in, governed by greed, selfishness and envy, it seems hard to believe that there are people capable of doing a good thing without expecting a material reward. and not one or two, but thousands. You will believe that in a Romania where so many civil servants, doctors, policemen or more recently magistrates, do not even do their duty until they receive a paycheck, there are also people who carry out, without money, activities for the benefit of those around them.
What is the volunteer? “A sucker”, many will answer. “There is no such thing, they must have some advantage, it is not possible…”, many will answer.
And yet it is possible. It is demonstrated by the thousands of organizations that existed throughout the country and which, because they do nothing scandalous, but on the contrary, worthy of all praise, are so rarely talked about in the mass media.
Looking on the Internet to find out if and under what conditions a possible animal lover could actually participate, not just by protesting unnecessarily, in the care of stray dogs in shelters threatened with euthanasia, I entered the website voluntiarat.ro, where I discovered a new world, parallel to the one so intensely mediatized by news television. The world of volunteers.
What is volunteering?
“The impulse to orientate oneself towards meeting the needs of others without thinking about financial rewards”, sounded one of the definitions of the specialists.
“Volunteering is the public interest activity carried out on their own initiative by any natural person, for the benefit of others, without receiving a material consideration; the public interest activity is the activity carried out in fields such as: assistance and social services, protection of human rights, medico- sanitary, cultural, artistic, educational, educational, scientific, humanitarian, religious, philanthropic, sports, environmental protection, social and community and others like that”, it is written in the Law of Volunteering from 2006.
So here are a lot of fields in which, for various reasons, someone could voluntarily make their qualities available to others.
Why would they do that? We find a series of explanations also on the website voluntariat.ro :
To have fun
To gain experience for better service
To keep your knowledge or skills “in use” that you otherwise don’t use
To not waste time at home
To make new friends and acquaintances
To be with your friends who are already volunteers
To learn new things and form useful skills
To give back some of what you have received from others
To make useful contacts
To feel useful
To be part of a prestigious organization
To make the transition to a new life
To do your Christian duty
To test a new career
To help the less fortunate
To achieve something
To improve the community in which you live
To work with a specific group of people
To take responsibility
To be part of a team
To meet important people in the community
To spend time with your family doing something useful
To understand the problems of the community in which you live.
Not a few are those who, for the reasons presented above, let themselves be trained in such activities.
Somewhere we want to tame ourselves, but we oppose the resistance.
Lately there are more and more volunteers. Almost 74% of the existing volunteers are really young people, but lately more people are contacting us who have lost their jobs and really need to feel useful.
We were also told that there are thousands of volunteer organizations in the country, “but if there is nothing scandalous in our activity, we don’t appear in the news, because it doesn’t ‘sell'”.
“Somewhere we want to tame ourselves, but we oppose the resistance”, added the communication manager.
An intense activity, even if too little known.
Every day somewhere in the country there are volunteering activities, but there were also annual events, with April being the volunteering week.
A lot of work is being done to promote this type of activity.
“The National Festival of Non-Governmental Organizations in Romania – ONGFest is the most far-reaching event of the non-governmental sector in Romania, a promoter of public participation, philanthropic and voluntary behavior, but also an opportunity to bring NGOs to the attention of citizens and the public large.
Organized annually, ONGFest aims to contribute to increasing the number of citizens actively involved in the community, to the development of the associative spirit and to the increase of the involvement of associations and foundations from Romania in society”, according to a press release from the organizers.
A step forward: The VOLUM Federation
The initiative of the VOLUM Federation appeared in the context of the constant growth of the volunteer movement in Romania in the last 20 years, against the background of a growing need for support from the state authorities for the continuation of this development, supported so far mainly by external funds, and against the background of the need of widespread recognition of the value of volunteering for Romanian society.
The VOLUM Federation wants to be a key actor in the further development of the volunteering movement in Romania, assuming the coordination of the institutionalized dialogue with the state authorities based on the legitimacy conferred by its members and the responsibility of realizing a national strategy for the support and development of volunteering in Romania.
So far, they have expressed their support for the VOLUM initiative Caritas Association Bucharest, the Resource Center for Public Participation, the Romanian Red Cross, the People’s Development Foundation, the Estuar Foundation, the New Horizons Foundation, the Princess Margareta Foundation of Romania, Habitat for Humanity Romania, More Green, Save the Children Romania, United Way Romania, World Vision International Romania.
All those interested can find additional details at the address www.volum.voluntariat.ro .