The great news came from Strasbourg at the end of the second holiday week. The MUNI HELPS volunteer centre was awarded as one among the 28 laureates from all EU member states. The success was announced to Masaryk University by Dita Charanzová, Vice-President of the European Parliament.
Masaryk University has been awarded the prestigious prize for establishing the MUNI HELPS volunteer centre in March 2020 in order to combat the Covid-19 pandemic by finding volunteers to help organisations and individuals, as well as for the centre’s ability to provide assistance on a stable and long-term basis.
The award also cited the subsequent launch of a database system for coordinators and the development of a mobile and web-based application for volunteers. The centre’s care for its volunteers and the understanding that volunteering is not only a way of helping others but also a tool for self-development also contributed to the award.
“We were very pleased to receive the prize. We appreciate it very much because it is not only a recognition of the centre’s hard work, but also of the ideas it is based on. MUNI HELPS has now expanded its scope of activities even beyond what we’ve been awarded for. The volunteer centre is now well-established and will continue to function even after the pandemic ends. We are developing programmes unrelated to Covid-19, such as a student legal counselling centre and an assistance incubator, and we are currently actively involved in helping people in the South Moravian municipalities hit by the big tornado recently,” said Simona Koryčánková, MU Vice-rector for Student and Alumni Affairs.
From 2008, the European Parliament has annually awarded the European Citizen’s Prize to individual citizens, groups of citizens, or organisations. The prize serves to honour outstanding achievements in supporting better mutual understanding and closer integration between citizens and Member States, promoting common values, facilitating cross-border or transnational cooperation within the European Union, as well as recognise everyday activities that represent the values enshrined in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.
In previous years, the award has been won for the Czech Republic by the non-profit organisations Post Bellum, Charita ČR, ADRA CZ, People in Need and the research team at CIIRC CTU.
The award (medal) ceremony will take place nationally and in the European Parliament in autumn this year.