Some time ago, a video of an old gentleman volunteering at a children’s hospital went viral. David Deutchman from the US, called baby buddy was volunteering at a Neonatal Intensive care hospital in Atlanta, US where he was holding premature babies in his hands.
Many people have praised his kindness and some wondered if they could do something similar in their countries, in their local hospitals. In Romania, there is one hospital where Romanian grandparents volunteer in a similar way to help premature, sick babies or babies that have been abandoned.
At the Marie Curie hospital in Bucharest, tens of people volunteer 2 hours a week thanks to a special programme. Some pensioners have come here through the Senior Club where they used to go to learn foreign languages. They have been informed about the Volunteer grandparents programme through which they volunteer to the hospital. At the beginning, people have just visited the children for one day. That day they sang songs, they took the children for a walk in the park and they played with them. After this day, the association decided to extend the program.
Now, the hospital has volunteers of all ages. The youngest volunteer is 17 and the oldest is 89. All volunteers have been trained how to care for the babies and how to respect hygiene regulations. They have learned how to hug a baby, how to feed them and how to change them. Volunteers have to take extra care, as some babies are attached to machines and to wires as some suffer from serious illnesses.
The Inima Copilor ( Heart of Children) association is organizing courses on a monthly basis for people who want to volunteer and care for babies. So far, 23 retired people have participated and cared for them.