Improving the society through taking care of others

Two locals, AEGEE-Skopje and AEGEE-Kragujevac, celebrate different humanitarian events and help out people by teaching them, gathering basic supplies and giving them the best thing they have: their time.

It can be seen how, in times of austerity, the budgets start to be reduced. As a consequence, governmental decisions, but especially daily citizens’ lives begin to shift. It is in this context of change that some people think about those with fewer opportunities. This is what led the members of AEGEE-Skopje and AEGEE-Kragujevac to dedicate their efforts to different humanitarian actions.

“Cheers for volunteers”

This is how AEGEE-Skopje called its first project, aimed at making possible different social actions, mainly focused on children with no parents. Board and active members stopped their lives for a few moments and put themselves in the shoes of the volunteers who regularly share with the youngsters their most precious tool: their time. Fatima Salifoska, president of AEGEE-Skopje, explains the whole idea.

Fatima: Everything started out with the help of Youth in Action, where we received financial support from. Board members and also active ones helped in this event. The first time, after meeting the children from the orphanage, we went with them to an amusement park. All of us brought some toys and other gifts for them. We were surrounded by sun, happy faces and joy. We could not ask for anything else.

The title of your second action, celebrated on November the 10th, with the same children as the previous time, was You came, you saw, and you learned, or ”Дојдов, видов, научив”, as you would say it in Macedonian. How was it organised?

Fatima: In this second event, we were responsible for buying all the material and bringing our own gifts. This time, each member was appointed to organise different kinds of workshops and language classes. The day was composed of Mathematics, English, French, Italian, IT, together with some workshops. We also made cookies, we all watched a movie, and at the end they all got many presents.

What motivated you to participate?

Fatima: I really like helping people, especially children without parents, which sadly is a common reality in our country. I feel amazing when I see the happy faces of the kids during our walks, when they receive their toys, or when you simply know that you have helped somebody. There is nothing more beautiful than seeing them happy and satisfied. Definitely, we will continue to have events like this one in the future, in order to help out this vulnerable category of people.

Hearts wide open

The second story comes from Serbia, from AEGEE-Kragujevac, where the members, with the help of the Red Cross, gathered some things in order to share them, creating a personal awareness of “how our little can mean a lot to someone”. Danica Savic, president of the local, told The AEGEEan some of the details of this social event.

The AEGEEan: Danica, could you please share with us the name of your action and tell us what it is about?

Danica: This action is called “Days of open Hearts” and it was celebrated during the months of October and November 2012. The whole idea emerged out of a pure desire to help the people for who this kind of help is really indispensable, like for example refugees and Roma people. Raised funds were sent to families living in very difficult conditions, sometimes so hard that they can barely feed themselves and provide clothes for their children.

Now that winter is coming, we  can always find some old piece of clothing not worn for a while. Just when you encounter such a thing, at that moment we remember that someone actually needs it more than us, so rather than throwing it away or keeping it in the closet, we choose to give it to someone else! Those who wanted to help but had no old clothing, simply set aside a little bit of money and bought sweets or long-term food and brought it to our office. With the help of the Red Cross, who put us in connection with those in need, we collected the things and we gave them away in the most humble vicinities.

Did you organise any other activity or workshop with the underprivileged?

Danica: The project also included playing and befriending the children from those families at the nursery day care center. Spending time with the youngsters was magical, creative, and of course, full of joy. A loving word and contact with other people who are willing to show them a little attention makes up their minds even more lively and helps them to teach the naive world game. Also, during the reading of fairy tales, painting and storytelling, our members gave them presents made up of collected candies.

With this project you aimed to improve for a few moments the not so comfortable lives of some people, but did you somehow desire to go further and leave a stronger impact?

Danica: The aim of our action was, in addition to the collection of things, to spread awareness of how easy that way of helping is. When we have something that we do not need, Red Cross is open during the entire year for our charitable donations for those in need. We all know how much one unexpected smile from the other person in our everyday activity and rush can make our day better.  It is very simple and the most important thing: it is a circle of sharing joy and positive energy, which is very easy to get and to share.

The actions of AEGEE-Skopje and AEGEE-Kragujevac are just two examples of what could be done and found in any place worldwide. The question now is knowing the procedures to make it possible and having the motivation to achieve it. Would you do something with your antenna this upcoming Christmas to really make it count?

Written by Ana Valiente, AEGEE-Tenerife

Pictures by AEGEE-Skopje and AEGEE-Kragujevac