Volunteering is the intension of some people to work for the good of others, without being motivated by financial benefits.
The status of volunteering in a country depends on many factors, such as history, tradiition and the position of the social system.
VOLUNTEERING IN DIFFERENT COUNTRIES……EXAMPLES:
In Germany, 23 million people over 14 years old become volunteers in clubs, associations, churches, general or various social initiatives. Many aspects of the public and social life could not survive without volunteers. Volunteers firefighters in Germany, for example, have a very active role in the protection against fire. Moreover-furthermore, the civil protection forces of Germany consists mainly of volunteers.
In Italy, a law of 1991 regulates voluntary work and creates the ‘’Service Centers for Volunteers – CSV in order to help to the development of volunteering. The Service Centers for volunteers are created in all regions of the country and provide free advisory services and promotional services, education and communication in voluntary organizations. These centers are unique in Europe.
In France, four organisations have been created in order to help organisations to find volunteers and vice-versa. These organisations are the following : ‘’France Benevolat’’, ‘’Espace Benevolat’’, ‘’Passerelles’’ and ‘’Competences’’, with the latter specializing in online volunteering which allows for voluntary work online, without requiring the physical presence of volunteers in organizations.
Volunteering is a way of expression and also closely linked with everyday life, not something different from the continuous contribution to the fellow citizen.In recent years several small organizations have begun to emerge with dominant informal groups of young people who doing a lot of things especially at the local level in order to enrich their everyday life and try to inculcate the concept of active citizenship in their surroundings.
Incentives for voluntary work:
· -The need for citizens to participate actively in social activities( even at a low level ).
· -The desire to establish social contact and integration in society.
· -Ability to benefit professionally (work experience, etc.)
In social programs, volunteers work with individuals experiencing difficulties. These programs may focus on working with refugees, minorities, children, the elderly or disadvantaged young people. Some examples include the organization of games and workshops for children living in poor urban areas, creative activitieswith the elderly, etc. The art is frequently used as a way to develop activities with beneficiaries. Other programs are more focused on a specific topic (for example the environment, cultural heritage ...) and others include subjects with disabilities.
Many organizations are committed to protecting the environment through the creation of natural habitats, planting trees, cleaning rivers and the sea or the mapping paths in a protected environment. Environmental programs can also focus on methods of reducing waste and creative ways of recycling.These programs awaken the interest of the participants, of the local population and visitors to the natural beauty that surrounds them and the need for its protection.
Educational programs and professional training
All programs, up to a point, include educational elements. Educational programs aimed entirely at capacity development or to awaken interest in specific topics (for example health, racism, etc.)to a specificgroup of beneficiaries. Educational programs play an important role especially in developing countries. These programs often go by volunteers around the world to support local volunteers who know the specific local needs as teachers in primary education in literature and mathematics. Volunteers install libraries or producing teaching materials. Although some of these training programs require volunteers with a more specialized profiles, there are also programs based on participatory method of peer-to-peer education (for example: when older children younger train etc.)depending on the leveland skills ofbeneficiaries( for example: ceramics workshops or laboratories developing rural skills). The products resulting from such programs can be an additional source of income.
Rural Development and Renovation
Many rural areas suffer from a lack of infrastructure. Programs in rural areas are often accompanied by educational information. Such plans may, for example, focus on the renovation or repair of old buildings. Groups of volunteers from abroad with school students can paint walls in schools, repair furniture or to create a sports field.Regarding thetermΔΕΥ, by coordinating events, communication with the residents, monitoring the implementation of European and national rural development programs, volunteers can learn how a program is designed and implemented and how to link the work of the organization with the needs of the local population.
Conservation of cultural heritage
As in programs related to emergency incidents, so programs that have to do with the preservation of cultural heritage,thevolunteersoften worknext tospecialists. The involvement of non-specialist volunteers in such programs encourages the development of simple technical conservation measures. These programs awaken the interest of the participants and the local population about the value and the significance of cultural heritage that surrounds them. The cultural heritage refers to the material heritage (renovation of historic buildings, archaeological work, etc.) and intangible heritage (traditional knowledge transmission and crafts).
Where can someone offer voluntary work;
1. Volunteers in the local community
One of the common ways of volunteering is the voluntary work at the local level. The offer is made by people belonging in the local community where the Non Government Organisation operates / organization of the ΚτΠ who offer part of their time - usually a few hours a week - in order to help in the general administration of the organization or to specific programs. They can also help to organize special events and to promote specific issues and values. Being members of the local community, that results in a better understanding of community’s nature and needs. Being members of the local community better understanding of the nature and needs and can contribute significantly to informing and raising the awareness of local residents. On the other hand, is a very good opportunity for volunteers to gain some work experience which they could use later in their careers.Many companies and organizations consider voluntary service as a good qualification when choosing their employees.
Becoming a volunteer abroad is one of the biggest challenges. The International Voluntary Service can be a valuable learning experience for the volunteers, and for the host organization. but can also have devastating consequences if the people involved are not well prepared .Volunteers from abroad give an international dimension to the host organization, additional human resources and fresh ideas and are willing to help but also to learn . On the other hand, the European Voluntary Service (EVS) is a very important life experience for the volunteers. Working in a foreign country (mainly young people 18-30 years) develop their skills and confidence and become more sensitive to issues involving other cultures (with most of your expenses covered from EU).
(The translation from the initial Greek article has been done from Nektaria Chaniotaki. Thank you very much Nektaria!!!)