Naše Mesto (Our City) is the biggest corporate volunteering event both in Slovakia
A couple of years ago, volunteering was seen as a compulsory Saturday working day, and people didn’t show a great interest in it. But thanks to Our City, this attitude has changed. The windstorm in the Tatra Mountains in 2004 helped spur the creation of Our City and to a certain shift in the perception of volunteering. Many companies wanted to contribute to the Tatras’ recovery. The Pontis Foundation united with Scouting Slovakia, who joined corporate volunteers in helping repair the damage. They organized extended weekends during which volunteers cleaned up the devastation wrought by this natural calamity. The companies involved then wanted to preserve the continuity of corporate volunteering. The first thirteen companies founded the Slovak affiliated branch of Engage, which has been the co-organizer of Our City ever since.
The very first year of Our City was in 2007 when organizers held a modest event, with only 20 companies and 400 volunteers taking part. At that time, it was held only in Bratislava, and the event was known as Naša Bratislava (Our Bratislava).
Ten years later, Our City is a national event taking place in 32 cities and 20 towns and villages and more than 130 companies get involved. In June 2017, over ten thousand volunteers (of it six thousand from companies) took part in almost five hundred activities. Thanks to the enthusiasm of volunteers, dozens of public areas get revitalized during two days in June every year. We paint kindergarten and school premises, clean water trails, clean up illegal dumps and so on. The sign up for the companies and NGOs to this event is done via the Pontis Foundation portal www.nasemesto.sk.
Through Our City we are trying to achieve positive change and create visually attractive cities, which provide many opportunities for cultural and social activities, and which are safe and available to all their inhabitants. Such a change is possible only thanks to meaningful cooperation between local governments, the non-profit and private sectors, and the public. It is our goal to continue connecting non-profit organizations with volunteers who offer their physical and professional help for the public good. We also strive to involve companies in new areas and thus promote the development of volunteering in all regions of Slovakia.
We feel a joint responsibility for the state and development of volunteering, and that’s why we are continually trying to improve the event and boost the contribution of volunteer activities. Our City is a gateway to the world for many companies and individuals, and we truly want this journey to be successful. For this reason, we are doing everything necessary to enable the volunteers to have a positive experience, remain motivated and continue to help their neighbourhoods and communities.