Three in one
How to develop, help others, and also help the society as a whole, all at the same time? Volunteer – online!
Belgrade, 6 March 2021 - On the phone, on the computer, at home, on the bus, in the park, wherever and whenever they can, Nina and Dorothea volunteer. Online. They both volunteered even before the pandemic, but COVID-19 interrupted them. For Doroteja Vujadin, this was a serious obstacle.
“I couldn’t imagine being locked up at home [during the pandemic] and only study for school. [I couldn’t imagine] this being my entire life during that period. That’s when I came across the Online Volunteers platform.”
At the outset of COVID-19, UNICEF recognized that young people want to contribute to their community even during a pandemic. That’s why the platform was created in cooperation with the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the Young Researchers of Serbia. Since March 2020, it has gathered more than 1,000 young people and grown into the National Online Volunteering Platform – volonterinamrezi.rs. For Nina Stojanovic, volunteering equals development of young people.
“Volunteering is precisely the process where you develop as a young person and through which you can acquire 21st-century skills - whether that’s innovative thinking [or] critical thinking, but peer support definitely develops when you volunteer online.”
In addition to meeting volunteers from all over Serbia, Doroteja points out that it’s important that they are also always exchanging experiences and sharing good examples of activism while volunteering. She believes friendships will come out of it too.
“We started this WhatsApp group of ours where we talk not only about our tasks but also about our personal private problems.”
Online volunteering on UNICEF's platform is a universal and effective way to address problems of the wider community. Nina and Doroteja worked on reducing language barriers, a task that involves translating texts that will help teachers introduce innovations in their methods of work.
“This is content that’s published both for teachers and also for our peers, so we, as volunteers, are an extremely important link as intermediaries for conveying and understanding the content. So that's something that online volunteering has brought me,” explains Nina.
Nina and Doroteja believe that the promotion of online volunteering for young people will result in their active participation in society and will build their skills necessary for better jobs and a better quality of life. There are no set age limits or any other limits, since volunteering should be available to everyone regardless of their background, their social, economic or any other status. That’s why Nina, who is a member of the UNICEF Youth Board, wants everyone to join them.
“So far, over 9,500 volunteer hours have been invested, we have a community of over 1,000 volunteers. So, I invite you to join the Online Volunteers platform and be part of a big family!”
Online Volunteers is a platform that brings together all organizations, institutions, sports federations, local self-governments, and provides them with the opportunity to publish their calls and find volunteers regardless of the geographical distance, whether for online or offline activities. It will also help organizers to manage volunteers online.