The leader of an organization from Timis: There is a concept that volunteering is a job. No. You do something because you want to
Volunteering starts to catch better and better in Romania, although until not so long ago it was a domain appreciated by many in which very few were implicated. Now, especially the youngsters started to get implicated, to be volunteers, to do good things for others and get satisfaction out of the fact that they’ve changed something, asking for nothing in return. Or at least they tried… Ghita Petrus is the Project Manager of Butterfly Dreamer and he has volunteering for breakfast for years now…
The association was established in Sannicolau Mare, but it also hasw an office in Timisoara, that is recently opened. Ghita Petrus has founded Butterfly Dreamer in January 2012 to offer chances to youngsters with fewer opportunities. They develop all sorts of national campaigns – Dare to dream, Dare to learn, where all sorts of charitable events take place.
“We’ve collected money for the kids wing of the children’s hospital in Sannicolau Mare, we made Christmas campaigns in which our volunteers are creating handmade decorations and sell them in the center of the city, we’re organizing a football championship. We have partners in many cities, all the way to Constanta, we have an international network, from Japan to Pakistan and Brazil. We do youth exchanges. We are making activities for youngsters with fewer opportunities, like sending them in youth exchanges.”, says Ghita Petrus, Butterfly Dreamer’s Project Manager.
Approximately 500 youngsters were sent in youth exchanges by Butterfly Dreamer both in our country and abroad. In these youth exchanges, youngsters from different countries are meeting and are conducting all sorts of activities. For example, for a week we’ve discussed about how to improve their skills for public speaking, and they’ve developed a handbook regarding the matter.
The association is financed by European founds, there are programmes that they work with like Erasmus+, Europe for Citizens, European Youth Foundation, and so on. It also develops a project with the West University of Timisoara, with the Political Science, Philosophy and Communication Science faculty in order to create human rights courses with the students.
“We have developed non formal education manuals that we are implementing also in Timisoara, workshops for disabled persons, we collaborate with the Something to Say association and we want to organize activities with them starting November, we want to organize the FARE football championship in partnership with LPS Banatul. It is a championship which promotes the idea of fighting against discrimination. Practically, we play football for two days to promote a message”, said Ghita Petrus.
The association does a lot and it manages to change a little something. In Europe, volunteering is done on an extended level, but here is barely taking shape.
“We want something to be changed, the education, the system but nobody doesn’t really want to do something about it. I’ve been taking care of this to leave something behind. You change a seed here and there, but something is changing. I liked it. If I am a volunteer, I can always tell to someone else: <<let’s be in this together>>. We all live in this society and if always wait for someone else to do something… Volunteering makes you feel a little better. Here there’s still the concept that volunteering is a job. There’s no connection, you go and do something because you want to, no one forces you to, you see people smiling”, said Ghita Petrus.
The initiator of the organization says that volunteering starts to get shape in our country also. Even more, there is a law regarding volunteering that recognizes the experience that you gather, you have a volunteering agreement and you can also make the the practical courses from the faculty as volunteering in NGOs.
“Slowly, things are starting to move. Compared to 7-8 years ago, volunteering has more visibility. We still can’t understand the difference between volunteering and work, but I believe that we are on the right track. If people want to do something, they will always find time for it. I would say to any youngster or mature person who wants to start this, to give it a try. There are so many problems that need people and require such little effort from them. If you choose 2-3 hours on a week, things move along plus you are making good use of that time. It’s a thing that you can try out, have a taste of, just a little after which it either grows on you or you realize it’s not for you” says Ghita Petrus.
The association has made an action which offered free hugs to random people. Mina Duma, volunteer of the association has been through this for the second time. And she would do it again…
“After all, a happy volunteer sends a powerful message. There was a girl that was kind of sad and when I was saying about the free hugs she was all like <<I want one, I want one>>. She really needed that and it made her day better. One hug is better than a Facebook like” said Mina.