International day of volunteering

Celebrating the international day of volunteering  5th December 2021 


Over 100 volunteers and staff got together to celebrate the international volunteer day at Ilford. There  were  speeches from staff , young volunteers, partners organisation  


Luljeta CEO  said  

Volunteers and friends,  

It is my pleasure to be at this event, to celebrate for the first time the International Day of Volunteers here at Shpresa  

We always have celebrated  the national week of volunteering  1-7th June but  this year we decided to go bigger  as we are maturing as an organisation we are learning more , we are going beyond  the  Albanain community, beyond our  local community , beyond London and  now we are looking and learning how our little work can be part of the bigger movement , we are learning  to go  international  

 This event is particularly meaningful as we are paying tribute to the dedicated and enthusiastic volunteers from the Albanian community and the emergency volunteers who were recruited during covid10 first lock down . 

 This year the theme of the international volunteering day is  what we have worked for the past 20 years   

Volunteer now for our common future 

Through our work we aim to inspire people, to take action NOW for people and the planet and believe that everyone has the ability to do that  

A bit about this day  

The United Nations Volunteers Programme (UNV) coordinates International Volunteer Day on 5 December every year to recognize and promote the tireless work, not just of UN Volunteers, but of volunteers across the globe. Every day, volunteers dedicate time and effort to ensure the inclusion of those often left behind, drive climate action and advance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 


When people are encouraged to get involved in solving problems, the solutions are more likely to be feasible and lasting. Volunteers engage communities and build a people-centric movement to help build a better and safer future for us all. 


For the generations of TOMORROW, we must take responsibility for the changes needed to build a better future NOW. Encouraging, recognizing and promoting volunteerism is an important part of creating a more equal and inclusive future for communities and worldwide. 


 May I, first of all, invite all of you to stand up and give  each other and those who can’t be present a round of applause as a sign of appreciation , and achievements  

We know Volunteers do make a lot of difference. Long before the Governments recognised and initiated  the “Volunteer Movement”, many individuals and organisations had been devoting countless hours of volunteer work to help the needy, spreading love and care in the society and sustaining social cohesion. However at the Albanian community the governments failed to inspire people about it and see the benefits ,  in Albanian  for 45 years the voluntarism was forced ad since 91 we have dealt with many social issues  that have been divisive for the community to do just that. maybe on the years to come this will change and for this we tonight take a stand  and promise to paly our part  

Here at Shpresa we have tried to bring about the culture shift and use volunteering for deeper and better reason  

We wanted to bring hope while offering   help to our members who were very often were feeling vulnerable and were seeking  help 

We wanted everyone  to understand and use  volunteering as a tool to improve  health , gain skills , have fun and give something back to an organisation that had impacted on their  life, either directly or indirectly as well  

And this investment and work showed that our volunteers we were able to :

  • make a difference to the lives of others 
  • help the environment 
  • help others less fortunate or without a voice 
  • feel valued and part of a team 
  • spend quality time away from work or a busy lifestyle 
  • gain confidence and self-esteem. 
  •  a route to employment, or a chance to try something new which may lead to a career change.  

From this perspective, volunteering was  new  way of: 

  • gaining new skills, knowledge and experience 
  • developing existing skills and knowledge 
  • enhancing a CV 
  • improving one’s employment prospects 
  • gaining an accreditation 
  • using one’s professional skills and knowledge to benefit others (usually described as pro bono). 

For others, it was beneficial because of its social benefits. These include: 

  • meeting new people and making new friends 
  • a chance to socialise 
  • getting to know the local community. 
  • A chance to feel and help those who are discriminated in silence or suffering in silence  

For some other , volunteering worked  because of its health benefits  

  •  Their Improved physical and mental health. 
  •  It provided  a sense of purpose and taught valuable skills. 
  • They  Nurtured new and existing relationships 

Shpresa has indeed mobilised a very valuable social resource to serve the community, lighting up the lives of not only the beneficiaries, but the benefactors themselves.  

So we turned the table around helping people not only to help themselves  but discover that they can help others too  

As volunteers would know best, GIVING is a greater blessing than receiving.  

 One thing that the society can take from Shpresa is that “Everyone has something to 0ffer , everyone can be a volunteer in their daily life by helping others anytime, anywhere. “ 

It can be as simple as offering your helping hand to someone who needs a letter to be read, a daily short phone call, helping the elderly next door, giving professional advice to charitable organisations, or  sponsoring a refugee child somewhere in the world.  

As i mentioned above over this 20 years at Shpresa we have  learned that  volunteering can help to improve help , skills , network , access . it makes us happier   

in the next 20 years we will call  for a “third-level volunteering” which means everyone living out the spirit of a volunteer in one’s daily life, and that it becomes part of our nature to help others whenever a need arises.  

Behind each volunteer is the facilitating tasks done by the volunteer teams here at Shpresa.  

I can’t thank enough   

Evis Bodlli  – the founder and creator of the Women’s Volunteering project as we well as Accountancy for all  and at the same time the Head of finances  

Flutra Shega the founder of the Albanain school and Lead of the Breaking the Chains and Young researchers team 

Alketa Hystuma  and Silvana Ahmeti  – The lead of the advocacy project  

Ledisjana Lala, Mirela Hasimvllari and Valbona Ademaj  – lead of the empower women project  

Clea Grady, Amina Meshnuni  Lediana Pajaj and Daniel – lead for the digitalisation 

Esme Madill – Co founder of the emergency response  and Breaking the chains project  

Brenda Roche , Marnie freeman , Rachel young , Andre Demushi for our monitoring and evaluation  work  

Evis Sukaj and Saime Dushku and Gentiana Vasili   – for support of the TA and young leaders /young champions  

We said goodbye to some very dedicate staff , with whom now we work to build further partnership  

Hermonda Kallundra  

Emi Emirjeta Gjoni  

Migena Ademou 

Dorina Abdiaj 


With the organisation’s network and expertise, volunteers are able to identify service opportunities and acquire the necessary skills. Many charitable organisations in UK are recruiting and helping volunteers, but SHPRESA I believe stands out among them.  As it has managed to bring about a culture shift  

For the first time during covid we recruited in mass to help with easy the impact of covid and they were 92 none Albanian speaking volunteers, they were the  savours for so many on their roles as befrienders, story tellers, food delivery, fundraises, this started as a short response but some of the volunteers are still helping , fighting , playing an active role  

My congratulations go to those who are going to receive the awards tonight.  

This is not only a recognition given by Shpresa, but also a milestone of your dedication and long service offered to our community Lastly, let me wish you and everyone at Shpresa for its success in the past 20 years. Also, I would like to call for your support to the promotion of volunteerism by Shpresa so that together we can make a difference and contribute to a more harmonious and caring society here.  

Thanks for the Difference You’ve Made 

Because of you… 

Someone have will have enough to eat tonight. 

Someone have will have decent clothes to wear. 

Someone have will have shelter. 

Someone have will receive medical care. 

Someone will learn the skills they need to survive and succeed. 

Someone knows there’s at least one person in this world who cares. 

Someone has or is about to fight your corner  

This world is a better place because you volunteered, and we thank you for it. 

 After that the young people recognised those that have hold them and have helped them  to now volunteer, access training , university  fell safe healthier 

Miclu team gave out the certificates  to the Immigration Champions and Shpresa team gave out the award for the volunteers nominated   by their peers  

Be the change ,  

Manjola Mjetaj, Vera Celkupa, Esmeralda Lalaj, Denada Dedej , Oriola Uka, Ledjana Pajaj  

Fuqizimi i Grave  

Rebeca Marku, Vera  Picary , Donisa Kastrati, Bukurie kastarti ,Enkeleda Mera,  

Youth champions 

Arlinda , Kejdi  Adela , Serm , Sibora   

Emergency  response  volunteer 

Clea Grady, Jane Lund, Hellen stack, Helen Wing, Louise garner, Abigail Hands, Rachel Alsop, Katheleen Lennon, Aye Visutrakaew, Cath Heinemeyer, Anais Crane, Sue Osborne, Survi Patel, Phil Roberts, Amarjit Ahluwalia, Simon Parker , Esme Madill  

The dance , the food and the atmosphere  that the singer from the Lura Folk group who had come from Albania for Free and the singer Vera Picari who is also a volunteer at Shpresa was amazing !  


The team of the researchers from the LOHST project, the staff from Croydon drop in  and the team, from Miclu dance with everyone  and enjoyed , the presentation , the  food , the signing  and the award  

Everyone left feeling wonderful.


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