Kindness has no nationality: RUDN volunteers lend a helping hand

Kindness has no nationality: RUDN volunteers lend a helping hand

Students from different countries who walk on campus, play sports, sit on benches, ringing laughter in national cuisine cafes - a familiar picture for RUDN University. But today you won’t meet anyone but rare passers - by, who are likely to be volunteers in a hurry to help a student, employee or university veteran.

Buy food or medicine, help master online technologies to do homework when one has difficulties with the language, or even assemble a wheelchair... Today, about 60 people from Albania, Vietnam, Guinea-Bissau, Georgia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, Colombia, Nigeria, Russia, Uzbekistan and Chad work in the volunteer team of RUDN University. Most volunteers are from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, the Faculty of Philology and the Institute of Foreign Languages.

Students work in groups of 5-6 people and change every 4 hours. Every day each of them does at least one good deed.

Artem Zhukov is a 1st- year student of Linguistics, “Last week I received a call from a former researcher at RUDN University, she needed help to assemble a wheelchair. I had no idea how to do it but I coped and was happy to get such sincere gratitude!”

This is how it works:

  • A student, employee or veteran of RUDN University contacts the Volunteer Center: +7 (968) 534-29-81 or the Unified Information Service: +7 (499) 936-87-87
  • Calls are received from 9:00am to 9:00pm (if it is urgent call any time. For example, recently, around midnight, volunteers urgently went to buy a blood sugar test for a student with diabetes living in a quarantine unit)
  • Volunteers will be able to help you, the fastest - within 1.5 hours. If the volunteers are in a shop during the call, then in 15 minutes they will buy everything you need. Of course sometimes you will have to wait around 3 hours.
  • After you give the volunteer a list of what you need, you need to transfer an estimated amount of money. After doing the shopping the volunteer either transfers change to you, or you transfer the missing amount.
  • If there’s nothing much to buy, volunteers buy things in the nearest stores, if there is a lot to buy, university corporate cars take the volunteers to large supermarkets
  • Older employees and veterans of RUDN University most often seek household help: buy food or medicine and walk their pets.

Students mostly need help with online learning. Most often, volunteers help to master MS Teams, understand the University telecommunication platform or join a lecture in Zoom. International students get online help with buying a computer mouse, keyboards and webcams.

“Volunteers phoned me and helped me make out how MS Teams works. Before, I never studied online and did not work on this platform. But now I can explain how to use it to other people,”says Beavogi Silvin Bade (Guinea), Faculty of Economics, 5th-year student of Human Resources.

 “When I help people, I think about my parents who might also need support. Now even a small thing that one person can do brings us closer to victory over the virus. I am inspired by the example of our residents and students who went to help in hospitals,” says Blerina Makhmutai (Albania), 3rd-year graduate student of Journalism, Faculty of Philology.

If you need some medicines, volunteers will buy that too.

“In work, we use protection: masks, gloves, hand antiseptics. We take a prescription from the doctor in our clinic, buy medicine in pharmacies and bring it back to the doctor or to the guard of the unit where the student lives,” says Ede Maduabuchi Daniel (Nigeria), 1st-year graduate student of Pharmacology, Medical Institute.

Since several blocks of dormitories are on quarantine, the volunteer team has significantly more work - in a week they received and completed 233 orders from 286 students, 10 employees and 4 residents.

Their main route now is grocery store - hostel and back! They have become regular customers of all nearby supermarkets.

Shopping for dormitory blocks in quarantine:

• By 9:00 pm superintendents of the blocks send shopping lists to the email address of the director of the Center for Youth Employment Program, by 9:00 am the next day they receive the name and contact details of the volunteer, who will be buying it

• Senior tutor of the block transfers the estimated amount of money to the volunteer

• A volunteer (or a group of volunteers, if there is a lot of shopping) is taken by RUDN corporate car to the nearest store to buy the necessary things

• Then the volunteers bring what they’ve bought and separate cheques for each block to the entrance of the block and leave the bags at the front desk

“Now we can’t go out, because we live in a quarantine block, and the volunteers help us a lot. When I needed medicine, they brought them to me the very next day. We don’t see those who help us, but are very grateful to them, ” says Castello Perez Dieter (Cuba), 2nd-year graduate student of Management of Innovations, Faculty of Economics

For reference:

To start work, volunteers underwent mandatory online training to provide effective and safe health care. The course included the basics of safety, hygiene rules, the basics of working with older people and people with disabilities. Then they passed the tests developed by the Online University of Social Sciences with the support of the All-Russian Popular Front, the Association of Volunteer Centers, "Medical Volunteers" and Federal State Budgetary Institution "Rospatriotcentr".

All volunteers are registered in the system of the Federal Agency for Youth Affairs “#We Together”, which allows providing assistance not only to employees and students of the University, but also to other residents of Moscow.

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