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Volunteering blog

International Volunteer Day 2021 - Who is your volunteer hero?  


We all have at least one volunteer hero in our lives, someone who has selflessly contributed to the wellbeing of others or to a cause close to their heart, helping people or the environment. On December 5th, the International Volunteer Day, we celebrate them all. All the volunteer heroes around the world, who share the values of active citizenship and, above all, kindness.

Every year the world comes together to celebrate volunteers around the world and to reiterate in a common voice the value they all bring to our society. Since it was first mandated by the UN General Assembly in 1985, the International Volunteer Day is an international observance when we recognise, celebrate, promote and cheer volunteers and volunteering in all shapes and sizes. 


Inspired by UN Volunteers’ 2021 campaign ‘Volunteer Now for Our Common Future’, we wanted to acknowledge the inclusiveness towards which we aim in Europe when it comes to volunteering, looking at all the ways in which volunteers are given the opportunity to bring their volunteering contribution, leaving no one behind - not as a volunteer, not as a beneficiary of their service. 


For this, we turned to what we believe to be one of the best examples of a municipality to strive towards an inclusive volunteering ecosystem - Berlin, the European Volunteering Capital 2021*. Since the beginning of its tenure, Berlin has shown consistency and strategic vision towards further developing an even more impactful volunteering infrastructure for all citizens of Berlin and beyond. 


It was a near impossible exercise to try to write here all the names of those who volunteered and made a difference, even just in the city of Berlin. We might need a whole week, not just a day, to think about them all. But we start the list here, and leave it up to each one of you to call out the name of all the other volunteers who you’ve known, who have helped you or whom you’ve helped others with. 


Here it goes: 


Thank you, 


  • Alexandru, volunteering to tackle educational injustice 

  • Binta, volunteering for women’s rights and against FGM

  • Brigitte, volunteering to preserve history and culture 

  • Catherine, volunteering and advocating for queer people

  • Charlotte, volunteering to bring awareness on climate change and action 

  • Christa, volunteering to introduce senior citizens to internet and technology

  • Dilara, volunteering to strengthen her school community

  • Edwige, volunteering enabling education for refugees

  • Elif, supporting refugees through her volunteer work and the Young Islam Conference

  • Eveline, volunteers accompanying people living with dementia

  • Felix, volunteer and advocate for the environment and climate action

  • Felix, volunteering as a teacher in an emergency shelter

  • Francesca, volunteer teacher of German language for refugees

  • Gabi, volunteer for young people living with disabilities and their families

  • Gabriele and Uta, volunteering to support and nourish those in emergencies situations

  • Gertrud, volunteers to honor history and enrich our present and future

  • Grecia, migrant volunteer in the Berlinese community 

  • Helmut, volunteering bringing humanitarian aid to the world from Berlin

  • Henriette, volunteering to support with senior care

  • Hicham, volunteers to give voice to the marginalised

  • Iris, committed to volunteer to support the mental health of others

  • Johannes, volunteering to teach beekeeping to refugees 

  • Joshua, volunteering to support homeless people

  • Jutta, volunteering to support stronger connections within senior care communities

  • Karin, volunteering to bring his community the feeling of belonging

  • Kyian, volunteering to teach youth the fundamentals of IT

  • Kristina, volunteer helping to build schools 

  • Marianne, volunteering to enrich seniors citizens’ lives through dance

  • Melanie, volunteering and advocating for women’s rights

  • Michaela, volunteering to bring dignity to people in the last stage of their lives

  • Monika, volunteer supporting senior citizens to live better lives

  • Noa, volunteers for protecting biodiversity 

  • Petra, volunteer for the right to education of every child refugee 

  • Regine and Wolfgang,volunteer by bringing music to people while coping with the pandemic

  • Sabrina, supports former children in care to integrate and accept their past 

  • Sarah, volunteering to support parents with caring for their children 

  • Svenja, volunteer photographer for parents who have suffered loss 

  • Thomas, volunteering to facilitate community integration of people living with HIV

  • Tim, volunteer at the water rescue service

  • Ulrich, volunteer tutor for children at Zukunftshaus Wedding

  • Ursula, using stories to enhance equality in education 

  • Ute, volunteering at the vaccination centre in her community

  • Werner, volunteer bringing support to homeless people




This is just the start of our list. Who else should be called out here? 

Who are volunteer heroes in your community? Call out their name. And #PassItOn. 

Go ahead, we have all day. Actually, we have the whole week.






*On 5 December 2021, CEV also announced the winner of the European Volunteer Capital 2023 title. 

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