Volunteering, more important than ever

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Volunteers have done a discreet but essential task, making little noise, to keep people from falling deeper into a well of hopelessness and helplessness.

Jordi Balot


Director of the Joan Salvador Gavina Foundation and president of the Catalan Federation of Social Volunteering.

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We have been living with the pandemic for many months now, and we all feel overwhelmed: healthcare services, social services, education, protection services, governments, public administration, business, the non-profit sector…all citizens, at large.

Despite this, and the terrible consequences for so many people, once again we can affirm that those who are most vulnerable and unprotected are the main victims of this pandemic.

Citizens generously and for free went all the way to help their neighbours in need during the harshest times of lockdown (elderly people, the ill, people living alone…) and we have seen how, in a matter of very little time and in a very effective way, solidarity movements established a network of proximity services. Everyone has a role to play, that has made possible the true miracle of life and cooperation.

There’s been a huge recognition to citizens who have done their very best in performing their professional tasks to overcome the worst moments of the pandemic: health workers, wardens and cleaners at hospitals, workers in the food sector, public transport, police etc. All those frontline workers. However, there is one spectacular aspect that has gone largely unnoticed in the media and has been silenced by the administration, but which has played a key role in society is volunteering.

From the very first moment of total lockdown, thousands of volunteers continued their work relentlessly to help meet the needs of the most vulnerable people in our society and to minimize the social impact of the tsunami we are living. A discreet but essential task, making little noise –as volunteers often do– to keep people from falling deeper into a well of hopelessness and helplessness. Volunteers have stood next to the people, in a virtual manner, to offer them emotional support, and many others have continued their tasks in person, despite the difficulties, and they all deserve a huge social and humanitarian recognition.

At this time of the year, with the Christmas period approaching, we observe the International Volunteer Day. And with these brief lines, I would like to show my personal and a collective recognition, on behalf of all the volunteering organisations I represent and all of the good intentioned people in our society, to all those volunteers who, through their generosity, continue to believe in the people and their dignity.

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