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FOREIGNER IN BRATISLAVA

Blog: The first Bratislava Week of Volunteering: a success

The first Bratislava Week of Volunteering was held between September 28 and October 3 . The event was coordinated by Bratislava Volunteer Center. Let's look back on what we achieved. 

Visit of the Museum of Trade and its brewery with seniors. (Source: Lukáš Gál/BDC)

32 organizations, 504 volunteers and 705 hours of volunteering. These are the figure of Bratislava Week of Volunteering.

Alžbeta Frimmerová, executive director of Bratilava Volunteer Center analysed “The first year of Bratislava week of Volunteering pleasantly surprised us by the participation of the organisations involved, but also of volunteers. It also proved that the people of Bratislava region has a huge desire to help and participate in volunteer activities. In the tradition of the Bratislava Week of Volunteering we will therefore continue in future years”.

Several activities were proposed to volunteers as well as open days in 11 associations. On Saturday, October 3rd a Volunteer fair with about 20 organizations in Stará Tržnica was also held.

Some of the activities offered during Bratislava Week of Volunteering represent a bonus for the organisations. It allows them to do things they don't have time to do normally or that require a bigger number of people. Unicef organised the stock-taking of their goods and a recruitment of regular contributors, other associations asked for help to clean or paint facilities, a retirement home required volunteers to accompany seniors in a Museum and for a sports day.

Martina Ondrejková, social worker in Primula retirement home was very happy people came to accompany clients to the museum of commerce. Even though Primula and the Museum of Trade are few meters away, it was the first time that Primula organized the excursion. At the end of the visit, clients and volunteers enjoyed a drink in the microbrewery the museum hosts.

Other associations just took advantage of the event to introduce their activities to new volunteers by involving them directly.

A family center in Karlova Ves (Rodinné centrum Klbko) hit the record of 40 volunteers to help the organisation putting together a bazaar of children clothes. Klub Detskej Nádeje, an association that works with children in hospital received the help of volunteers to play board games with the children for a few hours.

Some other activities mixed volunteering with culture. Two activities involved volunteers into cleaning historic buildings in Bratislava. On Wednesday September 30th, a group of 12 volunteers cleaned and painted the structure protecting St James' Chapel on Namestie SNP. Maybe you never noticed that strange glasshouse on the square in front of Stará Tržnica, but it hosts the ruins of a gothic chapel and an ossuary. Volunteers had the pleasure to hear the story of the chapel from Ivo Štassel,art historian and director of the Municipal Monument Preservation Institute of Bratislava. On Friday, October 2nd, was organised the cleaning of a historical water tower situated on the waterfront Army General Ludvik Svoboda in Bratislava. Mister Štassel provided two groups of volunteers with historical informations on the oldest building in town.

Also, two Slovak celebrities took part in the week. Lukáš Latinák, actor and ambassador of volunteering in Slovakia helped painting a fence in a leisure time center in Petržalka and Lucia Hablovičová, model and TV host painted rooms in a facility for children and adults with mental disabilities.

Bartłomiej Fibikowski, European Voluntary Service volunteer from Poland took part in not less than 5 activities. Some were more manual than others. During the week, he volunteered for UNICEF for the first time. For him, Bratislava Week of Volunteering was a way of collaborating with an international organization and make his contribution to UNICEF's activities and to the other associations he helped. “I have a lot of positive energy and I like helping other people. If I can help, why not ?” he explained.

See what we achieved in only one week ? Thank you to all the 504 volunteers who made a difference during the first Bratislava Week of Volunteering. See you next year!

By Claire Billon-Grand, EVS volunteer at the  Bratislava Volunteer Center .

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