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Community work Young Swiss to spend 72 hours volunteering

Volunteering on farms has been popular for years among Swiss youth. 

(Keystone)

From collecting garbage to cooking in an asylum centre, more than 30,000 young people across Switzerland will be participating in volunteer activities for three days beginning on September 10. 

“We want to call attention to the work being performed by committed young volunteers,” said Andreas Tschöpe, director of the Swiss National Youth Council. “Young people contribute a lot to society.” 

More than 700 projectsexternal link will be realised over the three-day period. The majority of activities will remain a secret until the project kicks off. 

However, it is already known that one project will involve a scout troop from Kuonolof in canton Bern cooking for the residents of the asylum centre in Konolfingen. The idea is to encourage contact between the groups. 

No funds will be available for the volunteer projects. The groups are encouraged to use creativity, team spirit and the spontaneous help of the community to realise their goals within 72 hours. 

Aktion 72 will publicise the programme on its website, through a smartphone app, and via partner radio stations. People who want to participate or support the teams with expert knowledge or active help can register over a free help hotline. 

Aktion 72 should demonstrate that “money isn’t the factor that holds our society together, but that rather we all want to do something for more social alternatives,” said the leader of the scout troop. 

According to the Federal Statistical Officeexternal link, Switzerland is a country of volunteers. One in three residents of Switzerland performs volunteer work, for an average of one half workday per week. In 2013 1.4 million people volunteered in organisations or institutions and another 1.3 million performed informal unpaid work. Whereas men were more likely to devote their time to clubs, women tended to work without pay in other households.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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