Ronald Van den Broecke is a volunteer at “Udrejsecenter Kærshovedgård” in Denmark. Here, refugees whose asylum application for Denmark have been rejected spend their last time before they are deported. Danish Red Cross manages humanitarian responsibilities at the centre.
Focusing on the people
As one part of Ronald’s engagement, he is a contact and friend to a refugee at the centre. Together the two go out to have fun, expand horizons and help the refugee forget the severity of his/her situation for a while.
“I’ve only volunteered for the Red Cross a couple of months, but it has already been a very insightful experience”, says Ronald and continues to explain:
“Refugees are constantly debated and it has become a highly politicised topic. Because the debate is ever ongoing, we distance ourselves from the fact that each refugee is also a human being - an individual with his/her own story and reason for fleeing. Volunteering for the Red Cross was a great way for me to learn to look beyond the politics and instead focus on the humanity of helping people who have not had an easy life.”
Using network to raise funds
The residents at Kærshovedgård have very few personal possessions, and very little means to lead an independent life. To help ease their stay, Ronald also takes part in crowd funding a number of necessities.
“It’s often small everyday items that most of us take for granted like swimwear, bike lights or tools for dental hygiene” he explains.
As a freight forwarder, Ronald is able to use his network and experience in his efforts to help the volunteers:
“We’re lucky enough to have a large network and a number of large customers here in DSV. Using my network and asking around with a couple of customer contacts can be a big help in getting a good deal that makes a big difference for the refugees”
Happy to help
Ronald is telling his story in the hope that people appreciate their everyday lives and will consider volunteering.
“I may have a bad day because I have to inform an unhappy customer about delays and late arrivals on shipments. But when I can then think of the stories I’ve heard from the refugees, I remember that I am very lucky and my problems are non-existent in comparison to what they are going through”
“It makes me happy to be able to help!”
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