Happy International Volunteer Day

Yesterday was International Volunteer Day, a day established by the UN to celebrate the power of volunteering. I do believe that volunteering creates a great impact in society, and it can indeed be amazing that people are willing to work without material rewards. Honestly though, what I believe that I admire the most is not the act of going to an organisation some hours a week to contribute to society. Not even the act of going away for a year to do voluntary work. It is rather when you practice what you preach, in every aspect of life, also when no one sees, not as volunteers but as humans.

For me, a hero is the teacher who sees and supports every child according to their circumstances, in spite of tightly pressed schedules and demanding working environment. A hero is the doctor who treats an undocumented patient according to medical ethics, even if it is against hospital routines. A hero is the girl on the bus who speaks up when a passenger attacks another person with xenophobic, homophobic, racist insults. A hero is the one who in everyday life stands up for human rights, acts for justice, and treats everybody equally while embracing and appreciating the diversity and uniqueness of each individual.

If we want to make a change, we can make a change where we stand. We don’t have to wait for an organisation or coordination. Every decision that we take has consequences, every act that we do will influence someone else. Maybe not as great as we wish, but still, maybe, greater than we think. Now, this is of course also much easier said than done. Helping each other, treating others as we wish to be treated. It sounds so natural, sometimes that we have been told since childhood. Yet, how many people actually manage to adhere to it? I guess we all succeed at times and fail at times. Being a hero might be something transient too? This got confusing. How can something so simple be so difficult?

Well… Good luck!

Love, J

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