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Ukraine: Volunteering – making of and easy to do


Eva from STaR describes her experiences of volunteering with the Caritas. We hope you are inspired by her example and will do the same!

[This article was originally published in the internal WU Memo newsletter, June 28, 2022]

The bus arrives; I get on, happy but also a little exhausted. Intensive 2.5h I have reached deep into large black garment bags, fished out pants, blouses neatly hung and sorted by color, warming sweaters stowed in the boxes for the winter, children's tights collected, shoes given in the boxes provided and admittedly, with a silent cry 2 old fur coats recovered from a box.

There they hang now on the racks of clothes that I built on my own with instructions. Heavy and empty. Who knows what story they have? What kind of story are we writing?

There is war in Europe and it is important to help wherever possible. That is why I'm here, at the clothing distribution of Caritas Vienna #garderob137 in Landstraße, where every day people who had to leave their homes in Ukraine in a hurry find not only clothes, but also a place to talk.

Not only in the storage, which, by the way, was the visitors' hall of the EOS cinema from 1945 to 2004, the volunteers stand, but also outside in the "foyer" to exchange clothes hooks, bring supplies, hand out hygiene packages. Everyone gestures with hands and feet, which makes for a colorful hustle and bustle and speaks for active, friendly participation.

Via the website of the Competence Center STaR Humanitarian Aid Hub, I was able to gain an insight into the diverse range of services offered by the numerous NGOs and institutions that are actively supporting the people from Ukraine either through donations, donations in kind or donations of time. There is also a link here for staff and employees who want to get involved.

Caritas was my first choice and so I immediately registered on their volunteer platform füreinand.at. Every week you get information where support is needed and you can easily register for an activity and a time slot that suits you.

Everything is very well organized and even if you are prevented, it is possible to unsubscribe. My boss immediately agreed and so I was able to use the quota of 16h of volunteering provided by the Rector's Council. A confirmation from Caritas was quick and unbureaucratic.

On the bus on the way back to the office to be back for my team in the afternoon, I am already thinking about how to continue. Train of hope is my next destination, just around the corner from WU at Engerthstraße 267-269, where there is plenty to do at serving food, serving drinks or washing dishes. Donations have to be sorted there, too, or you can play with the kids in their Let's Play corner, keep order and peace, bring a little lightness and joy.

What a great way to be there for others. The Rector’s Council provides 16h and right now during the vacation season, volunteers are urgently needed. Anyone who can speak Russian or even Ukrainian, broken or fluent, all the better. If someone wants to get involved on a longer-term basis, there is also an urgent need for volunteer coordination, i.e. welcoming volunteers, introducing them, keeping track of them.

16h, which can be divided into smaller but continuous portions and thus meaningfully invested in humanity. It is a lot of fun and there is always something coming back.

You can also sign up as a team and volunteer together. Get on the bus with me and drive off: instead of going to the office go to people who need hands on support.

Thank you!

We thank our STaR team member Eva Maria Basantpreet for contributing this text!

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