Volunteer work– exploitation or opportunity for a great CV?

@ DELFI

Volunteer work is habitually associated with a help for our fellows and with the unselfishness. However, this opinion is only partially true. The whole idea of the volunteer work, regardless of the initiative adopted, is certainly aimed at profiting from one’s potential in order to help people who may be in need for any reason whatsoever.  On the other hand, the volunteer work is surely not selfless, it is indeed a charity work but we, as the volunteers, should be by any means interested in protecting the “interests” of these people whom we have promised help.

Therefore, is not an unpaid volunteer work a form of the exploitation? “There is no such a thing as ‘working for free’, trivial as it may seem, but ‘money is not everything’. The volunteer work is a sort of the school of life, not only do we get to know how to use the office supplies, or how to use the latest software, but we also gain experience, contacts, familiarity, the skill of group work and we even learn how to manage a team of people or an organization. These are the invaluable abilities which will be surely appreciated by our future employer.” said to the PL DELFI Ms. Anna Pilarczyk-Palaitis, the coordinator on cultural projects.

A job does not always imply that we will be given money; very often we simply gain experience. “The volunteer work is a form of self-realization. Undoubtedly, it is a valuable phenomenon which brings not only help for people in need but also benefits for the volunteers themselves. It gives a feeling of being useful and an opportunity for meeting interesting people as well.  In the West Europe and mostly in the Scandinavian Countries people come of age and start their professional careers just from the volunteer work.” said to PL DELFI Mr. Marek Jankowski, the chief of the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity collection centre in Vilnius.

Yesterday (January the 13th), we had the 21st Finale of the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity. In the Vilnius and Vilnius Region, five people were appointed to collect money and they were doing it until late afternoon. After summing up all the donations, the Vilnius collection centre has gathered over LT 3400 (approximately EUR 984). It was the 21st Finale in Poland and the first one in Vilnius but surely not the least, especially considering the sum of money we managed to collect. “Such actions are worth being organized. Our experience shows than the amount of money increases every year. We are happy to see that in this year, Vilnius has also participated in beating another collection record. This year’s Orchestra played for saving the lives of the youngest and ensuring the adequate health care for the elderly.” said Marek Jankowski to the PL DELFI.

During the Great Finale, there were some arguments saying that “the donations we are giving go only to Poland and support only the Polish medical institutions”. “The Poles who live in Lithuania often study at Polish universities so by “clubbing together” to the GOCC collection we are helping our fellows.” explains Marek Jankowski to the PL DELFI.

Another Great Finale of the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity is over, but during the next few days the donations collected from the online auctions and from the volunteers’ work will be summed up. Meanwhile, many of you still remember the Euro 2012 and the magnificent victory of Spain. Many of the volunteers, including these ones from Vilnius, watched over this splendid sport and media event. “My volunteer work included checking the validity of tickets and taking things for a deposit. In order to work as a volunteer, I had to go through a various stages of the recruitment process, for example: online registration and answering basic questions like ‘Why do you want work as a volunteer?’ Then I was asked to come to an interview. I do not like this term ‘work’ because it means to me lugging stones, while the volunteer work was nothing but pleasure. Some of the volunteers worked on stadiums so they could see some football matches. Unfortunately, it was officially forbidden. I had a very good contacts with some organizers who “in every man see a human being”, not just a worker, machine which serves to fulfilling duties. Certainly, I did not miss anything, but on the contrary, I stroke up some interesting acquaintances, I had good time, I experienced only pleasant emotions and therefore, I am very satisfied.” said Ernest Griszka, the Vilnius volunteer of the Poland-Ukraine Euro 2012.

The question arises: if the volunteer work is unpaid and it does not bring immediate changes in our lives or wallets then should we encourage the youth to participate in that kind of activity or should it rather be one’s personal decision? “I think that we should encourage the youth a bit because it is the natural part of the upbringing process. The older people, due to their experience coming from the knowledge of the world, show the young people what is valuable in life and what is not. Of course, it depends on the youth whether or how they will benefit from these pieces of advice. With my whole heart, I encourage to participate in a volunteer work.” said Anna Pilarczyk-Palaitis to the PL-DELFI.

The volunteer work, apart from its obvious aspect of helping people in need, may also help us to find our “path of life”. We just need to find our target group and an organization which we would like to work with. “The volunteer work could be, by all means, our way of self-realization and even more, of discovering the passion in our live. It seems to me that our work should be something we love as we pass there almost the half of our life! Not everyone knows “at birth” who he/she wants to be in the future, so the volunteer work is a perfect way to discover our calling.” summarized Anna Pilarczyk-Palaitis.

We strongly encourage taking up this after-hours type of work. No matter how old we are or what beliefs we hold, it is a great tool of self cognition and it gives a chance to discover in ourselves this “thing” which gives us the strength to get up from our bed with the sense of belonging to something important in the world.

Source: http://pl.delfi.lt/kultura/kultura/wolontariat-wyzysk-czy-szansa-na-genialne-cv.d?id=60430187

Tłumaczenie Bartłomiej Cichoń w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Bartłomiej Cichoń the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu. 

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