National Volunteer Week
National Volunteer Week is organised every year in Slovenia in the month of May. The Slovene Philanthropy will organise it this year between 23 and 29 May. The purpose of the week is to celebrate voluntarism and thank the volunteers for their activities. Volunteer organisations will present their activities through various events, and invite visitors to join their ranks.
The central events of this year’s national week were the Happy and Ceremonial Volunteer Days. The Ceremonial Volunteer Day was organised on Tuesday in Kamnik, where the Slovene Philanthropy announced the recipients of various awards (e.g. Best Volunteer Story, Heroes of our Time, Volunteer-friendly Municipality 2022, Best Volunteer). On Thursday, the Happy Volunteer Day was organised in Ljubljana, where several volunteer organisations from all over Slovenia introduced themselves.
At this year’s Happy Volunteer Day we also celebrated the European Year of Youth. Tjaša Arko, head of the volunteer programme at Slovene Philanthropy, said that young volunteers had been very active in the last two years. They helped to mitigate the fallout of the epidemic, they warned on climate change and the importance of preserving nature, and they were active in areas concerning the protection of human rights and democracy. The Slovene Philanthropy notes that it is very important for children to already have the opportunity to volunteer and experience solidarity in kindergarten and at school, as well as at volunteer organisations.
In addition to the Ceremonial and Happy Volunteer Days, several events were organised in Slovenia throughout the week. Volunteer-related events were organised in Brestanica, Koper, Maribor, Črna na Koroškem, Prebold, Slovenj Gradec, Štore, Hrpelj-Kozina, Novo mesto, Domžale, and Trbovlje. A special event was also held at the presidential palace, where the president of Slovenia, Borut Pahor, presented national awards and recognitions in the volunteering area for 2021.
Volunteering in Slovenia has a very long and strong tradition. Slovenia is one of the most successful countries in the organisation of volunteering activities in Europe. However, volunteering organisations are facing several problems, including major administrative burdens and a lack of financial support. Irena Joveva, a European MP, notes that the European Solidarity Corps has been given an independent budget item for the first time in the EU’s multi-year budget for the period of 2020-2027, and additional funds were also allocated to the unit in the scope of this year’s European Year of Youth.
The Government of the Republic of Slovenia adopted the Development Strategy of Non-Government Organisations and Voluntarism in 2018, in which the strategic goal is to have a quality and sustainable voluntarism which is widely recognised as a value, and contributes greatly to social wellbeing.