The Benefits of Volunteering and to the Volunteer himself

“Volunteering opens a window to the world. Only when one looks at extreme poverty, the need for survival, and racism can one understand what all this means for him and how they can affect the rest of the world. ”

The above mentioned in the RES-EIA, George Chrousos, Professor of Pediatrics, Chair of the Scientific Committee of the volunteer program “Health for All” and Eleni Sotiropoulou, Program Coordinator and Research Associate of the 1st University of Athens today’s World Volunteering Day.

The Health for All program was launched two years ago with the support of the Ministries of Health and Labor, the Central Health Council, the National Vaccination Committee and the participation of 40 scientific bodies and 240 UNESCO-sponsored academic and academic doctors. There has been a large voluntary movement of solidarity and outreach throughout the country.

To date, 6,500 volunteer children from vulnerable groups have been vaccinated by the program, provide comprehensive medical intervention and organize information events on prevention and health promotion.

For the program representatives, but also for the hundreds of volunteers involved in the actions, volunteering is a life-long affair, a selfless contribution, a big hug to those in need, an effort to stand by the person who needs help without discrimination.

What I learned from volunteering

“To appreciate the important things in life, to get satisfaction from a smile, a look of gratitude, a kiss from the five-year-old who gladly made his vaccine, because I’m there, smiling at him, not forgetting him, I’m interested, I want to help him ». As Ms. Sotiropoulou told RES-EIA, “the moral satisfaction, the feeling that I am putting a stone in the building of her offer, realizing its value, are my benefits. I discovered new aspects of myself. I have learned to manage stressful situations. I patted my patience. Everything can be treated with a smile. There is always something more to learn. I have learned to believe in myself. ”

Can volunteering change the world?

“Certainly volunteering cannot replace the State, but it can mobilize the healthy forces of society for the benefit of the weaker. It can be the basis for the creation of action groups for the benefit of social groups who, for various reasons, escape the state’s social protection network. ” He notes that in a recent study entitled ‘Volunteering in the European Union »on social altruism, Greece took the lowest position in the group of European countries, with a proportion of the population participating in voluntary activities, less than 10%.

“Volunteering is a form of community participation, it’s the flame that helps us see ‘we’ and can make us better,” adds the program’s president.

Obstacle in our work: Racism

“Unfortunately racism existed and will continue to exist, but this cannot be an obstacle to offering people, regardless of color, age, gender, religion or country of origin. The Health for All program embraces all vulnerable, non-discriminatory social groups, ”its representatives said.

Does the problem have a solution?

They emphasize that volunteering can open the way to understanding diversity, solidarity and giving, and this can be passed on to younger generations.

“Children are the future but not all have equal opportunities. Some, like the Roma children, have none at all. We all need equal opportunities and education is the necessary weapon, ”they note.

They add that “in each region, the different composition of the population requires a different approach. The point is to change the mentality of parents. From our visits to some 80 camps so far, we have now gained their trust. “They open the door for us to reach out to children, talk to them and provide them with the medical care they need.”

Mr Chrousos explains that the action of the Health for All program is to provide Primary Health Care services and to provide general prevention advice. “At the same time, we are making sure that every problem is communicated to the State so that it can assist in the creation of appropriate infrastructures and social services. It is necessary for vulnerable populations to feel safe, to feel that we are helping them without altruism. ”

Article translated from Greek by Lampros Yiangou (AbleBook)