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Volunteers all over Russia join the #WEARETOGETHER countrywide initiative

Over 700 companies and associations joined #WEARETOGETHER, a countrywide help initiative started by the United People’s Front, Medical Volunteers national public organization, and DOBRO.RU platform. At an online press conference hosted by Rossiya Segodnya International News Agency, organizers and partners of the project talked about their newly-launched hotline, volunteer branches that assist elderly and disabled, as well as exciting cases of Russians coming together against the coronavirus.    

The Roscongress Foundation was among those who initiated the hotline to assist those in need and coordinate the help for 60+ residents, the age bracket most affected by the COVID-2019. Having learned about the necessity to launch such centre, the Roscongress Foundation moved fast to prepare the infrastructure, provide the equipment, and train the personnel to make it happen. The foundation single-handedly operates the hotline. All coordination services for the hotline employees come at no cost, which is particularly important during these challenging times.   

Mikhail Kuznetsov, Head of the Executive Committee at the United People’s Front, reported that the elderly and disabled assistance hotline already received over 4.5 thousand calls and the number keeps growing. 150 non-profit organizations joined their efforts for the #WEARETOGETHER initiative. “Everyone is coming together for this: our entire volunteer corp, Volunteer Centre Association, Medical Volunteers. The latter have taken the hardest hit: their organization is the foundation for the volunteer community that helps the elderly, buys groceries and meds for them. Still, the moment the hotline was launched it became evident that there is a huge number of those that need help and those who want to give it. Life itself inspired #WEARETOGETHER project,” said Mr. Kuznetsov.

Aleksei Komissarov, Co-Chair of the Central Headquarters, United People’s Front and CEO of the non-profit organization Russia – The Land of Opportunity called upon the participants of Digital Breakthrough, their flagship competition to contribute ideas and IT-projects to the battle against COVID-19. He invites everyone to send their projects in healthcare, medicine, stats and data analysis, remote education and remote help to The most promising ideas will be passed onto the Executive Headquarters on monitoring and controlling the coronavirus situation, as well as to the Ministry of Communications and to the Ministry of Education and Science. “We are planning on launching an entire line-up of new education and information offerings for remote operations based on the Senezh Management LAB products. Our experts will teach how to run an organization, maintain its productivity and efficiency, file human-resources and accounting paperwork – all of it remotely. We are set to launch in April,” said Mr. Komissarov.   

Unified volunteer registration occurs at http://мывместе DOBRO.RU maintains a separate ‘Coronavirus’ category to aggregate all volunteer-related events in Russia. Pavel Savchuk, Chairman of Medical Volunteers, an All-Russia public organization explained that for identification purposes volunteers will use their passports, as well as a special badge that features a phone number where one can confirm a person’s belonging to a volunteer organization. “We are trying to protect both the volunteers and those they seek to help. In Russia, there are over 30 million people in the high-risk bracket,” noted Mr. Sachuk.  

Artem Metelev, Association of the Volunteer Centres CEO and head of DOBRO.RU reported 1231 help initiatives in just three days. Help is offered in different ways: transportation, food, money, medical equipment, legal and psychological assistance.  

“What is happening right now is a miracle and normal group behavior at the same time: we see a healthy society getting together in a time of trouble. We are going to use our resources to help people and organizations in need, those experiences shortages or deficits brought forth by the coronavirus. We invite all entrepreneurs to become a part of this. The website also features 91 free education projects, cultural programmes, and entertainment. Soon, we will add various possibilities from different non-profits and different competitions,” Mr. Metelev added.

Sergei Plugotarenko, Director of Russian Association of Electronic Communications believes the current situation has potential growth points for the IT businesses. “Being the operator of the Digital Breakthrough competition, RAEC reacted rapidly and invited the 2019 and 2020 participants to join in. There are plenty of applications and online services that help maintain a comfortable life in self-isolation, help control your wellness, contact a medical professional, or get educated online. We will pass the information over to the Headquarters and to the Ministry of Communication. Understanding the challenges the pandemic brings around, we came up with an idea to create IT-volunteers brigades. They could help with the IT issues in the Russian regions, for instance when a university is switching to remote education, or when the elderly requires help accessing the online services, or whatever else the region may need.”  

Julia Nazarova, President of the RUS Food Fund said that by joining the #WEARETOGETHER her organization first and foremost aims to help lonely elderly people. “We are working with headquarters around the country, working together with our partners. This initiative inspires, lots of people are ready to donate food and deliver it, ready to contribute money. Those willing to help can log onto продовольствие.рф, where they can help purchase groceries for those in need. We are putting lists together with local social assistance agencies and regional organizations that we partner with,” said Ms. Nazarova.

Various companies and non-profits keep joining forces with #WEARETOGETHER. The Roscongress Foundation, Rostelecom, and Volunteers of the Constitution have already offered their resources. Talks with Tinkoff are currently underway.

Volunteers receive requests at the following hotline: +7 (800)-200-34-11.

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