In the words of Marijana Karajovic: “It is truly rewarding to make women’s struggle during COVID-19 a little easier”

Marijana Karajovic, 29, is a volunteer who recently joined the Serbian Red Cross to help the most vulnerable during the COVID-19 crisis. She was tasked with distributing humanitarian and hygiene kits to marginalized groups of women under the EU-UN Women programme “Support to priority actions for gender equality”.

Date: Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Red Cross volunteer Marijana Karajovic (on the left) and her team member are on their way to distribute humanitarian and hygiene kits. Photo courtesy of Red Cross
Red Cross volunteer Marijana Karajovic (on the left) and her team member are on their way to distribute humanitarian and hygiene kits. Photo courtesy of Red Cross

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Volunteering is a powerful way to have a positive impact on the health and well-being of the most vulnerable. When the COVID-19 outbreak started, I wanted to spend my free time giving back to the community and making a difference in the lives of others, so I joined the Red Cross volunteer team in Kragujevac, Serbia. Every day, I bring hygiene and humanitarian kits as well as leaflets with different important information (on preventive measures, mental health, violence against women, etc.) to women in need. Helping them in this situation really makes my heart full. I gain a sense of achievement and satisfaction that I have personally helped someone.

On the other hand, by volunteering, you do a job. It is a demanding process that requires a lot of responsibility, involves a large number of people who have to agree on different things, arrange the procurement of food, medicine, as well as transportation to the homes of people we are assisting, and all that in a short period of time.

We are often in a hurry and running to get all our tasks done on time, but then all of a sudden it all slows down when an older woman, who could easily be your grandmother, appears at the door and greets you with a sincere smile and words of gratitude. These are the moments to remember.

Before I started volunteering, I could have never imagined that one could feel so enriched when helping another human being and how touching these scenes are. So far, I have had many very emotional experiences – meeting single mothers, women who care for children with disabilities, older women – and all of them show great appreciation for what I have been doing. It is truly rewarding to see that you have somehow managed to make their struggle a little easier.

All these women call me a sweetheart and ask me if I am tired. These caring and courageous women, mothers and grandmothers, encourage us volunteers by showing us the true meaning of helping others.”