Buddies (3/5): ‘What if it had been your own grandpa or grandma?’

Some vulnerable or lonely people could use some help, especially in times of corona. That’s why student Iris Hofsink (fourth-year Nursing) regularly does small jobs for vulnerable people.

“Since I study Nursing, I know that there’s a lot of loneliness among vulnerable people. I think it’s important for students who don’t encounter this often, to see this as well. Like Accountancy students who spend most of their time behind a computer.
Vulnerable people are easily forgotten. But I often think: what if it had been your own grandpa or grandma? Or if you can’t manage to do your own small jobs and chores later on in life? It would be nice to see someone stop by then. 

Group chat
In my student association, I arranged for students to be paired up with ‘buddies’ last year. There were requests from volunteer organisation ‘Hart voor Zwolle’ for small chores as well. I did those myself too and I still do. Whenever a chore needs to be done, it appears in our special group chat. 

During the snowstorm at the beginning of the year, we brought food to over a hundred elderly people. There was a tremendous number of volunteers popping up in the group chat. Especially now that students have less to do due to corona, I’m happy to see that they put their energy towards these vulnerable people. That’s what we experienced during Christmas as well when we delivered meals in a nursing home.

One of the elderlies had baked me a bread. She might have worked on that all day, just because I had helped her by giving her a few minutes of my time. That’s the message I want to convey: it’s a small thing for you to do, but it means the world to someone vulnerable. It’s just doing some groceries or assembling a cupboard or screwing in a lightbulb. These people are so immensely grateful.”

Text: Silke Polhuijs
Photos: Jasper van Overbeek

Want to do voluntary work?

There are multiple options in Zwolle. ‘Hart voor Zwolle’ for example, aims at buddy-projects. The foundation saw an increase in loneliness last year. For more info check: stichtinghartvoorzwolle.nl

Or project ‘Impacter’ by ‘Samen Zwolle’. Aimed at youngsters aged 14-27 who want to discover and utilise their own passion and talent through voluntary work. For more info check: impacterzwolle.nl

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