Interview with Natalia Asanova
What is a Volunteer School? How is the learning process organized?
A Blood service volunteer school in Mordovia was opened in April 2014. An idea of the project came from the medical student’s contest "Intellectual assorted show" Blood donation - an act of mercy. Four teams from medical colleges in Republic of Mordovia presented on contest not only professional skills, but also creative achievements. Future doctors solved the tasks in such a masterful way, brought much energy and positive to the staff and guests of the Mordovian Republican Blood Transfusion Station that we wanted to continue cooperation with them. First, we sent offers of cooperation in the field of blood donation to numerous educational institutions in the region. Many responded immediately. Then we began inviting representatives of non-profit organizations, businesses, employees of state departments and offices to the Volunteer school. That’s how we formed our circle of students and partners. Now school is an effective instrument of donorship promotion, as well as volunteering in general.
What goals do you set? Do you have a school schedule?
The goal of the school is a volunteer regular donorship promotion through dialogue, consolidation and interaction between Blood service and the region with donors and volunteers. We would like to attract people and train them in the process of learning, organize their work for the benefit of the donorship development in the republic. For the whole academic year, which begins in the same way as in educational institutions, from September 1, a detailed schedule is drawn up. As new volunteer groups are attracted or when new ideas arise, we adjust our plan. We always have more events than originally planned, which we are certainly very pleased about. All suggestions of volunteers are always taken into account. The individual approach to work is important for us, so any expression of interest to the donorship is always welcome.
Who comes to your school? What are the students' motivation?
The Volunteer school is an excellent place for close interaction between the Blood Service with representatives of different social groups. Students, pupils, corporate partners, representatives of non-profit organizations, the media come to us. Their motivation is different. Some want to get information about donorship from firsthand, some want to promote donorship to their workforce, some plan to create own social project, and by the way, there are great opportunities for this in the donorship. But all these people, in my opinion, are united by the sincere need of help to others, serve the society at this particular time and place. Our students know how well it can be realized with the help of the donor movement.
What peculiarities should a volunteer have in order to become not just a communicator, but a reliable public donor?
Everyone can promote donorship, it depends only on a desire. But a reliable specialist in the field of donation of blood, in addition to good heartedness and humanity, which, in my opinion, are the basis of volunteer consciousness, must have a number of personal qualities - responsibility, punctuality, sociability and, of course, a willingness to sacrifice their interests for the benefit of others.
What training courses does the school offer? Who conducts classes?
The academic year is divided into the autumn and spring semesters. The autumn classes are a theoretical stage there we provide lectures in groups. Further, the most interested in the topic of donorship, in an organized manner come to our station. Here the basic education process begins: lectures, conversations, excursions, trainings and creation of projects. Leading experts of the Mordovian Republican Blood Transfusion Station talk about the donorship, its aspects, answer questions.
The spring classes are a practical stage, we come with volunteers to schools, preschools, hospitals, where our students try themselves as organizers of the donorship. At the same time projects are being finalized, flash mobs are being presented, ideas are being formed for the next academic year. All volunteers after graduation get certificates and souvenirs, the most active are awarded with prizes. But it should be noted that the school, of course, is not limited to strict seasonal frames, work is in full progress both in winter and in summer, all year around.
How do you follow students after graduation? How often do they begin conducting independent volunteer activities?
As usual, people are coming to us at the call of the heart, remain in the donor movement for a long time. In addition, many of our volunteers, impressed with the topic of blood donation, become active donors. We keep in touch with them, willingly assist in the work, regardless of their further choice of volunteer direction. The peculiarity of the volunteering in our small region is that volunteers are not limited to one area of activity, they successfully combine work in donorship with participation in other social projects. In my opinion, the volunteer movement as a whole gets profit, because there is an excellent opportunity to bring together all the most valuable of the best volunteer practices and implement the experience gained in their work, in any professional field.
And our traditional question: what would you like to wish to donors and those who are just going to join donorship?
Dear donors, I would like to wish you at first strong health! Your blood is a valuable gift, your decision is someone's life. Thank you for your choice for the benefit of society! For volunteers in the field of blood donation, the Volunteer school has a wonderful slogan: “Share your life! Begin with yourself! Be an example!” Like donors, blood service volunteers have already made their choice.
For the Russian Engineering Union, donorship became an important idea uniting people - employees of hundreds of enterprises. The wealth of experience of the donation development in the Union is an example of how to build a socially responsible work in a company at a high level and with the maximum result. This was told us by the vice-president of the Russian Engineering Union, the first deputy chairman of the State Duma Committee for Economic Policy Vladimir Gutenev.
20th of April – National Blood Donor Day. We thank and congratulate all donors in Russia for their willingness to donate blood for patients in need of a transplant. Many donor’s events are held and of course many people donate blood on this day. We often ask donors in our interview about the donation procedure, what they feel, what they scare, what it means for them. Story about from Yegor Tischins’s life will help to answer these questions.
On the 7th All-Russian Forum of Blood Service the Blood Donor Center of the Republic of Mordovia got the majority of votes and became the absolute winner in the competition of professional mastery «Blood Service’s institution – 2014». Olga G. Makedonskaya, the medical director of Blood Donor Center in the Republic of Mordovia, disclosed her secret of success and told us her plans for the future in the interview.
Each donor has his own story of how he joined the donor movement. Here is one of them, the story of Sergey Nikolaevich Yefimov, "the Honorary Donor of the USSR", head of the public organization "The Donors of Murmansk".
Why there can’t be too much donor blood and about the use of regular blood donation not only for patients, but for donors as well.
About some results of the promotion Program of voluntary blood donation in our country.
Why financial giants become partners for the Blood Service
What happens when art unites with donorship.
Most people know very little about donation and therefore trust the most unreasonable myths...