The Slovenia Times

Open-hearted volunteers rewarded for their work


Šušteršič, who is now retired, has helped organise volunteers within the Slovenian branch of the Caritas charity at the regional and locals levels.

As a jurist, she was a pioneer of providing legal advice to people in distress, and has helped many NGOs launch new programmes.

Thanking for the honour, Šušteršič stressed that an individual could not do much on their own if they did not have good co-workers, people and organisations behind them.

"It's right that once a year the society and the state thank those among us who very conscientiously help people in distress," Pahor said as he addressed the event.

He believes the award is important not only to better understand and value volunteer work, but also to encourage all open-hearted people to open their hearts even more and think about how they could help too.

There are at least 300,000 people in Slovenia doing volunteer work at least occasionally, according to Primož Jamšek, the chair of Slovenia's committee for state awards for volunteers.

Jamšek believes it would be right to thank them every day and to highlight the most outstanding of their stories.

Special recognitions were also given out today to honour an NGO and four individuals for their work in various fields.

Last year, the national award went to the Slovenian Hospice Association in pioneering a humane and compassionate care for the dying and their relatives.

Slovenia overhauled volunteer work and set down systemic regulations with a special law passed in 2011, which the same year introduced the national award.

Its first recipient was retired doctor Aleksander Doplihar, who launched the first pro bono surgery for people without medical coverage in 2002.


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