EMPATHY FOR FELLOW CITIZENS
Since the beginning of the new situation related to the COVID-19 pandemics, youth organisations have, in cooperation with Red Cross and Crisis Headquarters, initiated different volunteering actions. Young people have been helping the eldest, without rejecting any, seemingly simple job – from the purchase of the basic supplies for neighbours, to the preparation of the premises of Novi Sad Fair and the setup of temporary beds.
Radovan Laćarak and Filip Tintor, two young volunteers who have also often joined volunteering activities European Youth Capital share their experience from the fair with us.
Foto: Marija Erdelji
What has motivated you the most to apply, taking into account the potential consequences on your health?
Filip: I was motivated by the opportunity to genuinely help someone in this situation. There will always be volunteers, but I believe that those who can and want to respond to this kind of situations are a kind of heroes who motivate others to join, too, with the purpose of the establishment of social solidarity.
What were your tasks during volunteering?
Filip: Since we were all surprised by this new situation, I needed some time to adjust to all the changes as well as to the new way of learning. As soon as I found out that OPENS cooperates with the Serbian military with the purpose of the preparation of the premises of the Novi Sad Fair for accommodation of the sick fellow citizens, I immediately joined the action. Our tasks included the setup of beds, transfer of protection supplies and basic supplies.
What are the reactions of people who see a group of volunteers on site?
Raša: The comments are mostly praises, but there are people who say that we fool around with our lives. I think that everyone, if they have the possibility, should help those who really need that help. In this kind of situations, it can be seen how much you actually love your fellow citizens, your neighbours, grandmas and grandpas.
Is there a kind of fear for your own health?
Filip: I would not call it fear, but of course, we are all careful and we take certain precautions, such as more often disinfection of hands and keeping a slightly greater distance than usual.
Raša: I would rather say constructive fear, which is more like caution. I am always cautious and I respect protective measures for myself and other volunteers.
How do you protect yourself from virus on site?
Filip: All volunteers have been provided with the basic protection from the virus. That includes gloves, masks and disinfection means. We all know that that is not enough and that it is necessary that people restrain from contact. All volunteers are careful while talking with someone or gathering in slightly larger groups. The premises at the fair are large so we all have enough space for free movement and generally, the danger is low as long as we respect certain rules.
Has this engagement changed your views regarding volunteering?
Raša: It has, completely. I considered volunteering in a different manner, mostly for fun and hanging out. In this situation, I have learned to be responsible and respect protocols, also, I have seen the better side of our military. The guys have really done an amazing job.
Filip: The current situation has changed my views regarding volunteering in sense that I was surprised when I saw how many people had applied to volunteer. The devotion and desire of the fellow volunteers to contribute to something that is crucial for someone is really visible.
More than 250 volunteers of youth organisations from Novi Sad, European Youth Capital Novi Sad (OPENS), Novi Sad Volunteering Service, Youth Policy Institute, Novi Sad Youth Forum, Kolping, Students’ Parliament of the University of Novi Sad, Čepom do osmeha, “YOUTH Fest” Civil Association, Novi Sad Humanitarian Centre as well as European Youth Centre of Vojvodina responded to the invitation in order to support the action.
Let’s take care of each other and help each other!