ADRA Czech Republic currently serves the population through fifteen centres and three thousand volunteers. Its activities include distributing food, medicine, and face masks; visiting elderly and sick people; supporting with resources and finances; and providing psychological support.
ADRA’s purpose is to serve humanity so all may live as God intended. “We are grateful to our donors, sponsors, and all the willing people who supported us in various ways in the turbulent year of 2020; [who] enabled us to help tens of thousands of people affected by natural and war disasters around the world and in emergencies in our country,” shared Radomír Špinka, ADRA Czech Republic’s country director. “By far, the biggest challenge for us was to organise help with the COVID-19 pandemic,” continued Špinka.
ADRA Czech Republic has fifteen volunteer centres scattered throughout the Czech Republic. 2020 was a year full of changes, which also had an impact on the form of volunteer programs, which differ from city to city.
Every year, ADRA Czech Republic involves more than three thousand volunteers who visit various health and social institutions regularly, attending to those who need it. They visit elderly and sick people in hospitals for the mentally ill or children in orphanages.
At the beginning of the pandemic, the most necessary activity was the provision of protective equipment, and the purchase and delivery of food and medicine for vulnerable groups, especially the elderly and the chronically ill. Thus, in the first months of the pandemic, ADRA volunteers distributed more than 2,000 purchases and over 40,000 face masks.
In the second wave of the coronavirus crisis, the biggest problem turned out to be the lack of staff capacity in social and medical facilities. Volunteers, therefore, began to help professional staff by spending time with clients, involving them in activation exercises, and helping in kitchens or laundries. Most volunteers worked in the Moravian-Silesian Region, where the local volunteer centres established cooperation with the region's management and several companies. As part of this initiative, ADRA trained about a hundred new volunteers and, in total, volunteers participated in more than thirty facilities in the region.
In the South Bohemian Region, ADRA joined forces with other organisations such as Caritas, Diakonie, and the Czech Red Cross. The volunteers helped ensure the operation of a temporary facility for social services clients after discharge from the hospital or people who were in quarantine, as well as provided them with purchases and other necessary matters.
In Příbram, volunteers also helped with tutoring children and, in Brno, they sent greetings to seniors and helped them use tablets.
Another group that ADRA volunteers tried to help were people who found themselves in isolation or loneliness as a result of a pandemic situation. Volunteers contacted people in need by phone or over the Internet and addressed their loneliness in a long-term difficult situation.
In several places, ADRA also organised concerts under the windows of social and medical facilities, in which local music associations and bands participated. “Cheerful tones of live music lit up the eyes of seniors and nursing staff in Klatovy, Znojmo, and Brno,” reported Špinka.
Facing other emergencies
For a long time, before the pandemic, ADRA Czech Republic has also been dedicated to helping people affected by different emergencies. It is about material, financial, and voluntary help, but also about psychological support and accompanying people after tragic events.
An important part of the emergency department is the collection ofcommunity intervention psychosocial teams, whose members are primarily dedicated to providing psychological support to people affected by a tragic event.
In addition to helping after emergencies, ADRA is intensively involved in the training and education of new volunteers. “We focus on the topics of psychological first aid, telephone support, but also, for example, data collection in the field or operation of small equipment (generators, dryers, etc.),” explained Špinka.
In June 2020, ADRA helped after the flash floods around Litovel and, in cooperation with the ČEZ Foundation and People in Need, ADRA managed to clean more than 200 flooded wells in the village of Šumvald, which were the only source of drinking water for the locals.
Špinka concluded by saying: “For us, 2020 was a year of new challenges due to the pandemic, as well as a year of a number of local emergencies that we could not miss. We also continued to work on the implementation of foreign projects, which, despite various difficulties, needed to be continued. We are truly grateful to God and to all our supporters, employees, and the leadership of our local church for their support, commitment, willingness to work full time, and to spread the idea of selfless help to others in good or bad times.”
Photos: ADRA Czech Rep.