The team of the European Volunteering Capital Padova 2020 has decided to take an active role to help risk population groups during the Covid-19’s health crisis.
What is the picture of the current state of the health crisis in Padova and its region?
Things are slowly going back to normal, after having been marked as one of the first ‘red zones’ in Italy. The ‘second phase’ has begun on the 4th of May, a lot of people are back to work and in general we’re able to move around the city a bit more, take a walk in the park or do some physical activities, but there are still risks and we still have to keep social distance.
Padova is hosting the European Volunteering Capital in 2020. How the emergency due to the coronavirus outbreak is affecting the events?
Since February 22nd, when the first Italian diagnosis of Coronavirus was given in our province, nothing has been the same as before; we had to cancel all the events that were planned. The 7 thematic tables keep working and meeting online, while many other people decided to take an active role to help people all around the city.
To meet the needs of these at-risk population groups, who have been disproportionately impacted by the onset of the emergency by Coronavirus, The Provincial Volunteer Service Center of Padova, the Municipality of Padova, the Diocese and Caritas of Padova decided to join forces in a single project, called ‘For Padua we are here. Volunteers for the community’.
How Padova2020’s team is working in order to avoid that the health emergency will turn into a social emergency?
The team is an active part of the project ‘For Padua we are here’, created to coordinate all social support actions for the most fragile categories of the population, aiming to enhance, support and fortify existing associations and volunteer commitments by ensuring that everyone can continue to operate safely and in view to protect everyone's health.
There have been a great number of important actions: 1600 volunteers have been involved, their activities have been organized and they got a specific training; About 3000 families received the coupons given by the municipality to help them with grocery shopping; 136 tablet and computers have been given to families who didn’t have the devices to make the kids attend online lessons; 1400 essential items (food, medicines, personal care items) have been given to those who asked for help; 54 homeless have been welcomed and been taken care of, with the help of the Diocese, Caritas and Red Cross.
How are volunteering people mobilizing to take care of their communities and the most vulnerable people?
Volunteers made themselves available to be trained and then help most vulnerable people, and the associations reorganized their activities using online mode to keep meeting. This health and social crisis is bringing a major cultural leap that witnesses the reorganization of all the activities. No one has completely stopped waiting for the crisis to end.
From your point of view, how do you expect that volunteering could change as a consequence of this new reality?
We think volunteering should and can live this dramatic situation as an opportunity to face new and unexpected scenarios and develop new strategies to meet the needs that are emerging from society.
Do you think that we still in time to avoid the worst economic prospects in the most vulnerable people?
It’s hard to understand what will actually be future scenarios. This crisis surely showed the great weaknesses that already existed, and even though we’re all making a huge effort the situation doesn’t seem to be good.
The future will be challenging not only from an economic and social point of view. Psychological fragilities, difficulties in recovering human relationships, the fears everyone experienced and is still experiencing: those will all be present elements that will have to be faced also as volunteers.