Caritas in Drohobych strives to become an example for the whole Ukraine in the development of volunteering


18.09.2014, Ukraine-France
Nearly 20 volunteers and workers of Caritas of Sambir-Drohobych Diocese became participants of trip to France within the joint project with Caritas France (Secours Catholique) and Association Katimavic of the project “Les ?changes sans fronti?res – Exchanges without borders”.

Project “Les ?changes sans fronti?res – Exchanges without borders” started in summer last year, when a group of young and enthusiastic French people visited Ukraine. Their trip was aimed to get acquainted with our culture, way of life, and the most important – show experience and example of the development of volunteering. Caritas France is renowned by the considerable number of volunteers who are involved in its work on free of charge basis: their number amounts to over 90% from the general number of employees.

At the moment a club of volunteers of Caritas Drohobych consists of 50 people of different age groups, gender and social status. Meetings of volunteers are held systematically once a week, apart from this volunteers come to Caritas individually when they have a possibility. Each year they get involved in traditional initiatives “Christmas Candle”, “Easter breakfast”, “Easter winning”, “Christmas dinner”, assist in center for the disabled “Amazing Hands” and in center for children from disadvantaged families “Stronger together”.

Trip to France lasted for two weeks and during this time volunteers found out many new things, got acquainted with culture of France and lifestyle of young people, adopted experience of volunteering that is really developed in the European Union counties and notably in France.

Group of volunteers from Drohobych visited distinguished places in Paris, also Poitiers city and Secondigny village, place of dwelling of French volunteers who take part in project “Les ?changes sans fronti?res – Exchanges without borders”. They are all young actors and participants of Katimavic organization: they put performances, stage them in different cities and countries and give collected money for charity purposes. Also during stay in France volunteers from Ukraine had a meeting with other charitable communities and surely with Secours Catholiques and Emmays Niort.

Within stay of Ukrainian volunteers in France there were meetings with local citizens, mayor of Secondigny village, representatives of civic and charitable organizations, visits to home for elderly people, farm and solidarity shop, communication with media, and also a range of excursions, special church services and prayers for peace in Ukraine. And was the most outstanding in this trip: volunteers organized a fair of handiworks of “Amazing Hands” center clients (youth with special needs) and “Stronger Together” center children (from disadvantaged families) from Caritas of Sambir-Drohobych Diocese.

“The last days of stay in France were really unforgettable for Ukrainian group of volunteers together with French friends, but at the same time these days were very sad. Because anything good has its end and farewell is always the most complicated. However, we sincerely believe that it is still not the end for young and full of energy Ukrainian and French volunteers. We will do our best for the project to have its continuation and Caritas Drohobych to become an example for Ukraine in the development of volunteering,” Nataliya Senyshch, coordinator of volunteers group in Caritas of Sambir-Drohobych Diocese, is convinced.

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