The desire to make a difference: Examples of volunteering in Belarus

intombi volunteer Anna from Belerus

In Belarus, the idea of volunteering is still new. Many older generations do not volunteer. My parents did not volunteer either.

For a few years now, this has been changing. Volunteering is a trend and more and more young people are getting involved. That doesn’t mean that the older generation is less supportive or not willing to help. They like to help their friends, relatives and neighbors. They do it from the heart or out of politeness but not as part of a commitment. For an volunteering position, you need more than just a willingness to help. The desire to make a difference and to take the initiative are the crucial elements. Your own free time also plays an important role. In Belarus, volunteering is a valuable way to spend your free time, similar to a hobby.

Do you know Belarus? In Germany people still often talk about White Russia, but many Belarusians don’t like to hear that. Belarus is located next to Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania and Latvia. The capital is called Minsk.

The country belongs to the CIS countries and became independent only in 1991 by the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) is a regional international organization in made up of various former states of the Soviet Union. The former Soviet Union still has a strong influence on the mentality and culture of the people. You can read more about Belarus on the website of the German Foreign Office:

For most teenagers and young adults, life is more than work and family. I think they want self-development, pleasure and more free time. That’s why volunteering is gaining popularity. Unfortunately, only a few are volunteering ( But the number of people who care about volunteering continues to grow.

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What do you think? What does engagement actually look like in other countries? I’m Anna, I live in Minsk, Belarus and I volunteer at intombi. Today I’m going to share with you what volunteering looks like in Belarus and what made me decide to volunteer.

1. Governmental or on your own? How to find a volunteer position in Belarus

Access to volunteering in Belarus is not very formal. There are usually no forms and no contracts. Only the contact to the organizers counts. You can find the contact online via their websites or Instagram pages. Universities and schools are also places where you can find a suitable volunteer position. This is where groups meet that are committed to different topics.

Sometimes volunteerism is also initiated and/or supported by the government, especially sporting events, conferences, concerts and events. The info about the events can be found in chats and groups in messenger services such as on Telegram or VK, an online platform like Facebook. Students are also notified about this in universities.

Other volunteering activities are self-initiated. In particular, topics such as feminism and LGBTQ+ are not supported by the government. The initiatives are therefore set up by the volunteers themselves

2. The colorful and diverse types of volunteering in Belarus

You can also volunteer at events, concerts, conferences and sporting events. Typical tasks include: welcoming and registering guests, accompanying speakers, giving information, distributing gifts and working as an entertainer.

You can find some volunteer groups at the universities and schools. The volunteer groups organize different events and projects. As a language student, you can often volunteer as an interpreter or translator. What the volunteer groups do varies.

The various volunteer groups::

There are volunteers who help foreign students at the university. They answer their questions, show them around the city, help them learn the language and visit with them the cultural features of the country. Here you can find such a group as an example on Instagram: @without.borders_mslu

Others visit children’s homes and advocate for orphans. They play with them, give them presents and organize small performances and fun celebrations. Other volunteers help out in animal shelters. They walk the dogs, give love to homeless cats and dogs and provide them with food.

Then there are eco-initiatives. The participants ask all students to collect their garbage and throw it away properly. They sometimes organize contests to see who can collect the most plastic. They remove garbage in the parks, collect waste paper and plastic, and talk about conscious consumption and eco-friendly living. You can find such a group here: @green_mslu

Other Belarusian youth are doing a volunteer year abroad.



3. young women do care about the world!

All of us who get involved want to make a difference. At least that is the case with me and my friends and also what I hear from others in interviews. They see problems and cannot remain inactive. Because, it is not indifferent to them, what the world becomes. You certainly do care, don’t you? Besides, we are all curious and have the desire to help our neighbors and create more tolerance and equality. I think it is extremely important and I am very happy that there are many active and proactive young people. Volunteering unites like-minded people. They become stronger and their commitment is remarkable in the eyes of others.

Together, it’s easier to voice ideas and talk about certain issues that are unfortunately still foreign or problematic to others (for example, feminism and LGBTQ+). You don’t feel left alone in front of the crowd that doesn’t always understand you, you feel understood, and you support each other.

Anna with her friends volunteering

4.My tips for other girls and young women

In volunteering you find new friends, you gain satisfaction and you learn that you play an important role in society. Thanks to these initiatives you get a realistic view of the world. You also see the diversity and problems. You are happy because there are solutions and you can contribute something yourself.

Furthermore, you can use your voluntary work to further your education and to create a successful career. Volunteering brings many benefits, such as free admission to various events. You will make useful connections and possibly find your future employer. You can take away a lot for yourself.

Dare! Focus more on taboo topics and change your thinking and acting.

In post-Soviet culture, a strict image of the role of women is still deeply embedded in the minds of older people. The woman is supposed to be a good mother or a good housewife. Views that were typical of the older generation are now being transformed by the volunteerism of younger women.

No one can advocate for young women and girls better than young women and girls themselves. Do you believe that?

We know best what opportunities and problems we face and have creative ideas and solutions ourselves. So if you are looking for a volunteer position, you can easily do some research online. Almost all initiatives have their own websites or Instagram channels and you can simply contact them there. If not, you can initiate something yourself.

Do you volunteer in Germany or abroad? What does your involvement look like? I look forward to your feedback in the comments. Best regards, Anna from the intombi editorial team.

You could also enjoy the following articles:

7 simple Fragen, um das perfekte ehrenamtliche Engagement zu finden!
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So sieht Engagement aus – 4 Möglichkeiten dich zu engagieren

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