human development, social justice and sustainable social systems

Volunteers make real change!

Statement on the occasion of the International Volunteer Day

Today, on the International Volunteer Day, Caritas Europa extends its most sincere appreciation to all volunteers, who selflessly dedicate themselves to serving others, to taking action and building more inclusive communities. They are the driving force behind many successful stories. Volunteers deserve public acknowledgement and equal legal protection across Europe.

Many of Caritas’s actions and initiatives become a reality only because of the dedication of volunteers. They are drivers of social change as they contribute their time and efforts to helping people hit by hardship. Through their active participation, volunteers live out Caritas’ core values of solidarity and respect for human dignity.

For example, the “Soup for homeless” initiative of Caritas Georgia is run by volunteers. During winter time, when cold weather and lack of warm food can cause disease and even lead to death of homeless people, volunteers provide hot meals at the Station Square in Tbilisi. Elena Kemoklidze, a volunteer participating in this initiative shares her experience: “I joined them, when the project “Soup for Homeless” had already had a few years’ experience. One day a small, tiny boy of 3-4 years old came to me, asking for food. I gave him a portion of hot soup. But he did not eat himself, he took a plate to a woman with a baby. I remembered this child, his behaviour touched me. Every time he was coming to eat, he tried to care about someone else first.

The International Volunteer Day is a chance to promote the impact one person can have on another person, in the community and even in society at large. &ldquoThe volunteer, trying to help others and trying to make a better world, also changes himself. The volunteer expresses solidarity, fraternity and commitment for the people and he promotes participation in society: his own and that of others,” says Jorge Nuño Mayer, Secretary General of Caritas Europa.

Every day volunteers show that together we can contribute to a more welcoming and just Europe and strive to provide a better future for all!