People say that volunteering is а vocation, but in times of crisis, it is also a necessity. That’s why this year the annual awards for volunteering, organized by the platform “TimeHeroes”, were held under the motto “The heroes: we need them”. Another novelty was the category “First line impact”, dedicated to those volunteers, who joined the medics in the battle against COVID-19. One of the winners in the category is Miroslava Popova from Veliko Tarnovo. She volunteered in the local hospital from 25 November 2020 and later on, she became coordinator of the volunteers.
Miroslava has begun her journey as a volunteer back in 2007. “ I participated in a youth exchange in Italy and our task was to help the local authorities to restore a terrane near the beach in a little town in Sicily, which used to belong to the mafia.”After her exchange in Italy, she lived abroad and in Sofia. When the pandemic began she came back to Veliko Tarnovo. “In the summer of 2020, I heard that volunteers were needed in the local hospital. At first, I hesitated whether I should join or not. I finally decided to volunteer when a friend of mine got infected with COVID. I felt powerless because she was in Sofia and I was in Veliko Tarnovo. By volunteering, I felt more empowered in the situation and I am happy that I was able to help. I had to carry lab results, food for the medics and the patients in the COVID ward. I didn’t enter the COVID ward, but like all the other people, who are working at the hospital, I had to wear a mask and special clothing to protect myself from the virus”.
Miroslava also explained that by being at the hospital one gets to see the relatives of the COVID patients, who are very scared, the hard work that medics do under a lot of pressure, and that this may be emotionally hard at the beginning. “The doctors and the nurses used to work for 7 days and 7 nights straight, without being able to leave the COVID ward or to see their families.”
Her volunteering experience gave her not only a different perspective on the COVID crisis, but she also won the award for “First line impact”. The prize caught her by surprise. “I had no idea that I was nominated and for me, the biggest award is just knowing that I devoted some of my time to help the people who are at the first line.”
Volunteers are still needed at the hospital. Those, who wish to join, can contact Miroslava via email firstname.lastname@example.org