- Approach: Guiding people combat loneliness through volunteering
- Time investment: 3 hours a week
- Costs: 10-50 euro
- Resources: Transforming negative into positive
- Element for success: Volunteering and attention
We got acquainted with Dafina seven years ago while she was in the process of mourning for her late husband. The more we got to know her, the more we became aware of her burdensome life and suffering she was going through. Loneliness and sorrow were her close companions for a long time. When she was three years old, after the death of her mother she was living with her alcoholic father, three brothers, and a sister. Her father abused her, so she decided to run away from home and she married a man who unfortunately was a carbon copy of her father, who beat her up on an occasion and not long after she was alone again and living on the street. To add insult to injury, the court gave custody of their daughter to the father.
Ups and downs in her life
Her life takes a turn for the better when she met her second husband who became her friend, support, the reason for happiness and great joy with whom she had a daughter. But her problems rise again when she is diagnosed with larynx cancer and after several surgeries and therapies she manages to survive but she loses her voice and can no longer speak again. This is followed by the greatest shock in her life and that is the death of her husband. Then she loses the meaning of her life, so sorrow and loneliness become her company again. The only person who understood her is no longer by her side. We were considering how to help her combat loneliness and how to make changes in order to give a true meaning to her life.
Dafina volunteered to help others
We proposed her to volunteer in our association and to participate in some of our activities. Gradually, year by year we noticed changes in her, and the more she dedicated herself to improving other people's lives, the happier she became. We have gradually transformed the negative into positive. Through helping others, she was helping herself.
Transforming negative to positive
We wanted to show our gratitude for all that she has done and for all her selflessness we organized Dafina a surprise birthday party at the premises of Kindness together with all the other volunteers. The moment she saw us gathered together in her honor, the decorated room, the birthday cake, and all the happy faces, Dafina cried from joy, grateful that suddenly in her life there are people who care about her and who love her the same way she cares about and loves the people in need. The quality time she spent caring for others, transforming all the negative in her life into positive, managed to win over loneliness and to show an example for many to follow. Dafina is now 76 years old and she is living an active and fulfilled life.