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Volunteer porter

Vanessa is a volunteer porter in a care home in Amsterdam. The function of porter was created to take care of all those extra things required to maintain the corona measures, including:

  • to remind residents with dementia/Korsakoff syndrome or similar what is and what isn’t allowed;
    • to supervise visits according to the current applicable rules (in the chatroom, only after a health check including temperature, etc.)
    • to accept things like gifts, shopping and laundry from family and friends for the residents.

‘Like many other self-employed workers, I saw all my assignments drop away when the lockdown was imposed. In order to still feel useful, I started working as a volunteer porter two days a week. This helps me to keep a routine and I love getting to know a world that until now was relatively unknown to me.

It sometimes brings me to tears, for example when a resident with dementia said to me: ‘You know, years ago, when I was little, people could just go outside by themselves, for example to go to the shop’. Or someone else who said: ‘It’s a little bit like when the Germans were here, don’t you think?’. But then there are also lots of times that it brings a smile to my face, for instance when you see how it makes residents happy to be able to have more visitors again, or for the presents they receive, or just by having a long chat with them and giving them extra attention.’

by Vrijwilligers Centrale Amsterdam (Volunteer Centre Amsterdam) / Photo by: Sake Rijpkema

by Vrijwilligers Centrale Amsterdam / Photo by: Sake Rijpkema


Het huis van Amsterdam met dank aan: Gemeente Amsterdam West Soundtrackcity