International Volunteer Day: EFHR’ s experience at the animal shelter
Every year, on the 5th December, we celebrate the International Volunteer Day (IVD), an international observance adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1985. The aim of this day is to recognise the important role played by thousands of volunteers and organisations that every day dedicate their time, passion and skills to make the world a better place to live. Their contribution at local, national and international levels is indispensable to promote and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, the agenda of 17 global challenges set by the UN General Assembly in 2015. This year, the IVD is focused on local community volunteers who contribute to strengthen local ownership and to improve their resilience against natural disaster, economic stresses, and political shocks.
As every year, the EFHR invited their interns to celebrate this day as volunteers in one of the many associations and organisations located in Vilnius. On the 5th December 2018, Rebecca, Petra and Ksenia spent their day at the Animal Shelter “Tautmilės globa”, one of the non-governmental organization working in the field of animal care, mainly engaged in animal rescue and temporary case.
Each of them had never experienced volunteering at an animal shelter, but it encouraged them, even more, to get involved in this kind of activity. At the beginning, one volunteer from the shelter welcomed them and explained the most important rules that should be taken into account regarding dogs and some special cases. The main task was to take dogs for a regular morning walk, but for the interns it was much more than just everyday common activity.
“It is admirable how much passion and patience the volunteers at the shelter dedicate to the animals. They take care about any special needs of both dogs and cats, considering their age, their behaviour, the conditions of their cages and their past, which is often traumatic because they were abandoned or injured. Besides, what animals need the most is to be loved and I am really sure that it is what it happens at this animal shelter”
‘’It was a beautiful feeling seeing how these dogs are treated by the volunteers and personnel at the shelter. Despite the loss of a roof and people who at first took care of them, the shelter tries as much as possible to make them feel loved and at home.’’
“The reason why a person once decides to devote his or her time to a socially important problem cannot always begin with a touching story or a so-called “turning point”. Most probably, there is some important and sensitive background. In the end, there is no doubt that work and friendship with animals always have an effect on the people as well and change them significantly. For me, it was a great opportunity to follow the instincts and inner voice.”
EFHR would like to thank the animal shelter “Tautmilės globa” for their remarkable and meaningful work, as well as for such an amazing opportunity given to our interns.
EFHR, on this occasion, also expresses its sincere gratitude to all volunteers who have ever joined our team and contributed to the protection of human rights in Lithuania.