Let’s say «thanks» to volunteers!
«Do we need a common federal law concerning volunteering or the existing ones are more than enough? This is the main question which we need to discuss in our dispute», that’s how Elena Popova, the member of the Federation Council’s Committee of Social Policy, set the theme of the round-table «Humanitarian Cooperation and Volunteering» which was a part of the International forum «Women's Dialogue. Infinity Charity» in Ufa.
Forty years ago our country didn’t know what volunteering is. Only in the end of the 1980s this phenomenon started to develop. Before that the term «volunteering» meant only a voluntary enlistment. Nowadays there are seven million volunteers in Russia. This number exceeds the statistics of 2013 twice. This increase in a number of volunteers also depends on the Association of Voluntary Centers which started working in 2014.
How significant is the role of volunteering service in a realization of projects in humanitarian and social spheres and what difficulties do representatives of volunteering movements cope with? These issues were discussed at the round table by representatives of the governmental аuthorities, local self-government, different charity programs and funds. Moreover, participants of the thematic section shared their experience with each other.
For example, the charity organization «Perspektivy» in St.Petersburg carries out a unique program «Volunteering Social Year» for Russia. It means including a volunteer in a working process which is oriented at help for children and adults with different disturbances of development. Volunteers work from Monday to Friday, thirty-five hours a week, attending their wards and giving them extra care. Besides, the organization pays volunteers a financial compensation and takes over fares. This program is studied by volunteers not only from Russia, but also from Germany, Spain, Poland and other European countries.
Another participant of the meeting, Timur Gadelshin, shared an experience of the City Center for Psychological, Medical and Social Support «Indigo» which held the first city competition «Volunteer-2015» in Ufa in October last year. And on the twenty-first of November there will be the awards ceremony for the winners of the competition in 2016.
Through the discussion Vera Korotaeva from Kirov, a specialist in charity of the Regional Public Organization of Special Needs Children’s parents «Through the Path of Kindness», shared her experience about an inclusive volunteering which means team voluntary work of people with disability or without it. One of the volunteers of the organization is a girl with limited health opportunities. She has been working at this sphere for almost three years and she is an active and a most responsible worker. And the most important thing is that, according to Vera’s words, during this time she has managed to not only join the team but also establish her personal life.
While speaking about volunteering, the participants of the round-table touched the subject of motivation of volunteers. «In this matter it’s important not to overreact, so a person wouldn’t start working for something», noticed Elena Alshanskaya, the moderator of the section, the president of the charitable foundation «Volunteers Help Orphans», a member of the Council of the Russian Federation’s Government in the guardianship in the social sphere. Of course, nobody suggests a refusal of the promotion. Further to this theme Elena Popova suggested thinking about its bonuses in every subject of the Russian Federation and discussing them with the public to know how interesting are the facts of the promotion for volunteers.
But real volunteers who are ready to help other people seek not for money at all. «Volunteers need to be motivated so as to support their interest and it’s highly needed to be done with giving the opportunity to be with their peers, professional development and participating in scale events of many levels», says Alina Abdulina, the leader of the voluntary center «Youngsters’ energy» in Ufa. By the way, volunteers from this organization are participating in the International forum «Women's Dialogue. Infinity Charity» on the 17th and the 18th of November in the Republic of Bashkortostan.
Alina has been working in the voluntary sphere for almost eight years. By taking part in different events from the first years of studying at college, at senior courses she understood that she liked the organizational activity. Since then she has stayed at volunteering and now she is working as a teacher-organizer at native school. «Being a part of something good and kind, understanding that you help people and know that there are many people like you encourages us to become a volunteer. All together we can change the reality for the better», said Alina Abdulina.
In the end of the round table there was an adopted resolution, in which the participants mentioned their suggestions about the development of the voluntary movement in humanitarian and social spheres. So, they considered necessary campaigning about the popularization of volunteering, bringing up the discussion about the relevance of issues of the regulatory control of volunteering and also working out manuals at this matter.
Not only the resolution will be a great help for the voluntary movement but also our thanks to those people who help for free and gives us a piece of their souls.
Polina Danilova, news agency of Eurasian Women’s Community
Translated by Irina Nickishina