Every year, International Volunteer Day (5 December) is an opportunity to thank and honour all the people who make our organizations alive, all those volunteers who are committed on a daily basis to ensure that no elderly person is isolated. The challenge is immense, but they are more and more numerous to join us, especially the young ones!
Andreea is a volunteer like no other: at the age of 24, she decided to leave her country, Romania, to volunteer with a team of the Petits Frères des Pauvres in France for a year as a European Volunteer*! She explains: “What is European volunteering and what am I doing in France, you might ask? Being a volunteer means travelling to unknown territories, getting to know different mentalities and being outside your comfort zone all the time. This virus invades our organism and never disappears. Untreated, the virus will make us want to do even more: the desire to commit ourselves to help those who really need us. It is thanks to this virus that I became a volunteer in the Ouest Var team (in the South of France), to help break the social isolation and loneliness of the elderly. My main mission was to think about and set up activities to help older adults become familiar with digital tools. The essence of my mission can be summed up with my two favourite words: sharing and learning”.
Last March, Andreea confided her anger: “The lockdown confirms to me once again that we don’t listen to the voice of the elderly and that we don’t pay enough attention to their needs… and that annoys me! ». And while her mission has just come to an end, she dreams “that many other young people can have the same experience as me! I have a real attachment to the Petits Frères des Pauvres, I talk about it all the time around me. It was the best time of my life, in terms of experience, self-knowledge and relationships I was able to build! ».
*The European Voluntary Service is a European Union program that offers every young European between the ages of 18 and 30 the unique opportunity to commit to a non-profit organization in another European country for several months, to participate in building a more inclusive society, helping the most vulnerable and addressing societal challenges..