Is the government always willing to accept volunteers?

The case of the recent bush fires has confirmed that when people suffer, there are always others willing to help, the head of the Russian Centre for Voluntary Work, Galina Bodrenkova, said at a round table on the development of volunteering in Russia. She had in mind spontaneous rather than organised voluntary work, when people just find it impossible to stand by without helping. The state should be willing to accept their contributions. Otherwise individuals will try to put out the fires without the proper equipment, will visit children’s homes with unsuitable toys and sweets, or donate blood only in emergencies. She explained that in the US volunteers who take part in civil emergency relief work have been trained in advance, including in giving first aid. Such work is taken into account in university entrance applications. She suggested that in Russia a database should be set up with details of those willing to volunteer, and in what capacity. This would help to popularise the concept of voluntary work and attract more volunteers.

The head of the volunteer group “Kind Steps”, Pavel Tyutrin, thought that volunteers should not take over the duties of the state..



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