Getting involved: A philanthropy festival aimed to recruit volunteers, not just fund raise.
Photo: Charles Caratini
Philippe Depoorter, secretary general of the Banque de Luxembourg, said earlier this year that: “Philanthropy is a matter for everyone, not just a matter for bankers and the wealthy”. This was apparent Saturday, at an event held on the place d’Armes, where there were no signs of suits and ties. The bank showcased 12 charitable projects, selected out of 142 submissions, during its “philanthropy festival”.
The marquee doors were open for all as employees of the bank donned simple “La philanthropie, ça marche!” (philanthropy, it’s working) T-shirts to serve tea and coffee. Rather than asking for donations, this event focused on encouraging citizens to get involved by raising awareness and giving their time.
Claudia Coimbra from the Luxembourg Red Cross’s Eng Hand fir déi Krank, told Delano: “of course we need funds too but today’s focus is on getting more volunteers.” Their project seeks to help lonely elderly by arranging simple activities to keep them company. “October saw an extremely high demand with over 50 senior citizens signed up for visits from volunteers.”
Screenings of short films from each project were shown and organisers were invited to explain how people could get involved. With booths set up during the exhibition, the marquee was open all day so that the general public could speak to the organisers and find out more about the individual projects.
“A doctor for everyone”
Despite the fact that Depoorter had said that the day was not about competition, RTL presenter Nathalie Reuter presented the “people’s choice” award to Médecins du Monde for its “Un médecin pour tous” project. Doctors of the World began in Luxembourg in 2013 and helps particularly vulnerable people seek medical care. From HIV tests and counselling for sex workers to the chronic illnesses that trouble the homeless, the organisation calls upon medical professionals to volunteer and provide free medical care for those without regular access to the health system.
For those who are afraid of the long-term obligations of volunteering, Serve the City made a call for volunteers who wanted to get involved occasionally. Run by volunteers, it features the slogan, “many people doing small things together can make a big difference”. Manuel Rudkin, one of the volunteers, explains: “Most of us have full-time jobs and we know what it is like to have a busy schedule. We wanted to create an easy way for people to sign up and get involved in small activities. From delivering second hand clothes to painting shelters for the refugees, there is no limit.”