Why write about volunteering?Elisabete Teixeira
The Voluntary Work: why writing about this?
In January 2015 I published my book: Voluntary Work, a legal and social reflection. My aim was to gather in a single text all the material I had collected during the university about voluntary work in Portugal (you can check here the link to my book: www.chiadoeditora.com/livraria/o-trabalho-voluntario.
It doesn’t make sense to expose here the legal and social lines of this book, but above all, to call attention to the importance of volunteering nowadays.
We hear more and more about volunteering, and it has taken many forms, in different areas; in culture, in heritage, in helping the poorest and most disadvantaged.
It is therefore becoming more and more difficult to distinguish, in certain situations, a work situation from a voluntary situation. It is important for countries to think about this issue, and not to use a noble cause that serves to help others…to fill gaps in professional markets at the expense of eliminating pay.
This is an unpaid cause and should remain so, with minor exceptions as regards the payment of constant expenses.
Volunteering is now the basis of a society, and a fundamental – often unique – pillar in the access of those with less, to a minimum of survival. It is far removed from the world of money, from the financial markets, but it is also structural from a social point of view. Volunteering does not generate money, but it does generate dynamics that can generate money, and it is undoubtedly an element of economy with all its particular facets.
The idea that a free activity indirectly generates added economic value must be taken into account by policy makers. We cannot only look at immediate profit, not least because the world is made up of complex dynamics that generate a return through repetitive cycles of activity: for which, at first, we may not give much value.
What can generate money and make a positive contribution to a country’s economy is not just what we see: there is a whole social structure that has contributed quietly to this and that is what volunteering is all about. It is an added value for the countries, being very quiet and discreet: it is therefore necessary to give value to what does not seem to be so important at first on the part of the economy and finances.
– by Maria Inês Rebelo