Inside Moldova's Volunteer-Run Call Center

Discover how dedicated volunteers offer support across borders.

Inside Moldova's Volunteer-Run Call Center | Discover how dedicated volunteers offer support across borders.

The Volunteer Center RVC that has provided hope and support to many people especially during times of crisis, works cooperatively with Good Deeds Day, an annual day that is the peak event of year-round activities promoting doing good that was initiated by businesswoman and philanthropist Shari Arison in 2007. On this special day, millions of people from 115 countries across the globe participate in doing good.

In October 2023, the Chisinau Call Center, a project of the Volunteer Center RVC, focused its efforts in emergency mode, reaching out with vital support calls to Russian-speaking citizens of Israel, specifically residents of Ashdod and Ashkelon. This initiative, spearheaded by dedicated volunteers who underwent training from JDC, marked a pivotal moment in the center's history, showcasing its unwavering commitment to providing assistance to those in need.

Empathy and support from far away
Amidst the backdrop of global challenges and uncertainties, the emergency support calls to Israel were a testament to the resilience and compassion of the call center's volunteers. These calls were met with a sense of trepidation but also a deep sense of duty and empathy, as many of the volunteers had personal connections with Israel through relatives, acquaintances, and friends.

“Many of us have relatives and friends in Israel, and we cannot be indifferent to what is happening in this country. We know the difficulties faced by lonely elderly people, considering our experience with the elderly here in Chisinau, and naturally, we are very sensitive and attentive to the problems of the people of golden age who are in such a difficult situation in the country, staying there, and it is very pleasant to hear that they are coping well, calm, confident that they have not been abandoned, that local volunteers visit them - they need support very much - both physical and moral, they feel care from all sides and it inspires hope that what we are doing is important, good, and one big deed,” Olga Sakharova, a call center volunteer, told Goodnet. 

During these difficult days, the volunteers' efforts were met with reassuring responses from the beneficiaries in Israel. It was heartening to hear that they had access to essential resources such as groceries, safe rooms, and hot meals, thanks to the support provided by volunteers, municipal authorities, and community initiatives. Many beneficiaries were also able to find refuge in nursing homes and quieter places, receiving assistance from their children, grandchildren, and neighbors.

The collaborative efforts between the call center, JDC, and the municipalities of Israeli cities were instrumental in organizing and facilitating this process of calling and supporting elderly clients. The hotline became a lifeline for those seeking information about evacuation, humanitarian aid distribution, and other crucial resources. The volunteers worked tirelessly, rotating shifts to ensure that every call was answered promptly and every query was addressed with care and diligence.

Beyond the logistical aspects, these support calls were about more than just providing information; they were about offering a sense of comfort, solidarity, and human connection during challenging times. The volunteers' willingness to step up and be there for others, despite their own concerns and uncertainties, exemplified the spirit of resilience and compassion that defines humanitarian efforts.

Combating loneliness on a communal level
In September 2019, the call center was revamped and expanded. Before its updated format, the center ran projects like "Free Ears" and "Stay Informed," which aimed to combat loneliness and keep elderly clients connected to their communities. These initiatives were crucial, but their significance became even more pronounced during the pandemic when self-isolation left many elderly people feeling isolated and disconnected.

The true test of the call center's resilience came in February 2022 with the onset of the war in Ukraine. Operating in emergency mode, volunteers dedicated their time to reaching out to elderly individuals associated with Hesed Ukraine, offering support and gathering essential information about their needs. From medications to emergency assistance and evacuation aid, the volunteers worked tirelessly, manning hotlines and providing vital information to those in distress.

Amidst the chaos and challenges, the spirit of camaraderie and compassion prevailed. Volunteers took turns, ensuring that every available resource was utilized to aid those in need. The calls were not just about providing information; they were about offering moral support, particularly to those who couldn't evacuate due to age or health concerns.

As the situation in Ukraine stabilized, the Call Center transitioned back to its regular mode of operation. Volunteers engaged with beneficiaries one-on-one, chatting about various topics, inviting them to community events, and extending warm wishes on Jewish holidays. The daily ritual of calling each member of the Hesed community in Moldova on their birthdays further strengthened the bonds of friendship and solidarity.

The impact of the effort and dedication of the volunteers reverberates throughout the call center and beyond. The experience not only strengthened the bonds of camaraderie among volunteers but also reinforced the center's mission to serve with kindness, empathy, and a steadfast commitment to making a positive difference in the lives of others.

The Do-Nation Foundation Spreading Kindness in Saint Lucia
Doing Good Italian Style
You Can Take Part in the Global Day of Doing Good

Good Deeds Day, an annual global day of doing good, is the pinnacle of doing good year-round. Initiated in 2007 by business woman and philanthropist Shari Arison, Good Deeds Day has grown to 115 countries with millions of participants.  Good Deeds Day 2024 will take place on April 14.