International Volunteer Day

International Volunteer Day 2021 – 5th of December

In 1985, the UN declared that the 5th of December would become a day, when the world unites and celebrates the incredible dedication and hard work of a very special part of our society – the people driven by their compassion rather money, the people who make the world a better place every day. Ever since 1985, we recognise the 5thof December as an International Volunteer Day.

ADRA as an international network pays a special attention to this day every year. This is the day when we take the opportunity to express our gratitude to the thousands of volunteers who trust us and help us support the people in need around the world. Just in the year 2020, ADRA globally helped more than 34,560,000 beneficiaries, amongst which more than 19,969,000 beneficiaries received help as ADRA’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This assistance would not be possible without all our devoted volunteers. From those who willingly help in the developing world in order to gradually close the inequality gap, to people who never hesitate to help their neighbours or local lonely pensioners – thank you all! Nevertheless, this year we would like to honour particularly those, who took urgent action after the severe natural disasters that occurred in Europe over the past year.

The year 2021 was very challenging for a number of European countries because, in addition to dealing with the coronavirus pandemic and its consequences, they had to face even more serious disasters caused by natural forces. During summertime, wildfires ravaged in parts of Italy, Greece and Turkey, deadly floods mostly hit several regions in Germany and Belgium, and some parts of the Netherlands, France, Luxembourg, Austria, and Romania. Additionally, an unexpected disaster struck the South Moravian Region of the Czech Republic in June – a tornado.

Such tragic events require an enormous amount of financial, medical and psychological assistance as well as manpower. In case of the tornado in the Czech Republic, all of these fragments were immediately covered thanks to not only professionals, but also thousands of compassionate civilians who offered to volunteer both remotely and directly in the affected areas.

Despite all efforts to prevent such tragedies, they can hardly be completely avoided, especially with climate change making these catastrophes even more frequent and ruthless. What we can and try to do is build a strong network of people who are there to take action when needed. We are extremely grateful for somany people with hearts in the right place who prove that integrity and solidarity are key in critical times of crisis and disorder.

“On International Volunteer Day, I appeal to all governments to promote volunteering, support volunteer efforts and recognize volunteer contributions to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. Volunteers deserve our heartfelt thanks.”

António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations

In the light of the situation and context we are facing globally, we at ADRA want to encourage everyone to activate and get involved in the humanitarian and development work in their communities. Only together and with your help we can offer help to many in need.

Thank you again, for making a better tomorrow for all.

Prepared by Veronika Gaždová (ADRA Czech Republic) and Katja Kotnik (ADRA Slovenia).