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National volunteer week – a Trócaire supporter story

Ana-Maria Barbu has been volunteering with Trócaire for three years. She tells us about what inspires her about the organisation and its work.

Today, watching a slideshow that Trócaire made for their 40th Anniversary, I saw a picture of the Human Rights Summer Camp I was a leader on in 2011.

At that inspirational event I really admired the desire to tap young minds and to listen to what young people think of current issues related to human rights violations, consumerism and climate change.

I also met some wonderful people, other leaders that were involved with Trócaire as volunteers in Dublin.

Human Rights Summer Camp

Caption: Ana-Maria at the Human Rights Summer Camp (bottom left) and manning a Trócaire stand for this year’s Lent campaign (right).

In the time since then, we have been part of some really interesting campaigns, we organised a Global Garden Lent Campaign Event in 2012 that highlighted the importance of subsistence farming as a way of returning to a normal life for local communities after the civil war in Northern Uganda.

During the campaign to end illegal house evictions in East Jerusalem we took a couch to the streets of Dublin, to talk to the public about the campaign and how they could lobby politicians to take a stand.

This year’s Lent campaign was very close to my heart. I come from a country where action from civil society was suppressed until the Berlin Wall fell in 1989 and the Eastern Block was finally free.

It is so important for individuals to be able to hold their governments to account, to have the freedom to express their opinions and to demand their rights.

The work that Trócaire does in India with local NGOs is invaluable – making people aware of their rights and entitlements. Once they have the information necessary people feel they have a voice, and they can take a stand on issues such as education, equality, health and land rights.

Having a safe space to make yourself heard is one of the cornerstones of democracy and all individuals on our blue planet are entitled to it. Becoming a volunteer always has an altruistic purpose, you want to give back, you want to help others, you want to make a difference. But I feel that by volunteering with Trócaire I’m actually learning a lot – and I have become a better person through the people I have met and I listened to.

Find out how you can volunteer with Trócaire.  

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