Solidarity and stopgaps
Publish date 25-08-2020
The health emergency that has characterized our lives for many months now has brought with it, almost simultaneously, another emergency, purely economic and social. It is legitimate to have different views on the incisiveness of the response that the State - in the first place the government - has given up to now to the massive problems that the situation required, but what is certain is that those interventions will not be able to respond to the widespread need that health crisis has generated in very large sections of the population, even those that until yesterday were not affected by a situation of necessity.
If on the one hand it is therefore very difficult to think that really "everything will be fine" for everyone, on the other hand there is no doubt that the emergency has also seen the explosion of a widespread impulse of solidarity, with individuals and associations that have tried to break the isolation of those who have not had any parachute available. Already on the occasion of the great crisis that began in 2008, the non-profit and third sector world had played a fundamental role in supporting and helping the population, with an increase in activities and its importance also at an economic level (see the growth of social enterprises).
But that was a financial crisis , which did not directly affect the world of organized solidarity and social enterprise, and left unchanged the possibility of their intervention in different social contexts. Among the reasons why the current crisis is different from that there is also the fact that it directly affects the own actions of the third sector: assisting, educating, caring for, animating. All situations where there is one person who meets another. Exactly what can no longer be done, or rather that can no longer be done in the same way we used in the pre-Covid-19 era.
For this reason, despite the somersaults that the whole world is doing, there remains a strong question mark on the ability of that part of the third sector directly affected by the crisis to intervene over time. Closeness and attention have by no means disappeared, indeed the energies have multiplied, but on large numbers the overall impact in terms of support for fragile people will be all to be evaluated. It is not a detail, especially in a phase in which the public (in particular local authorities) are struggling to respond to such widespread social unease and are almost naturally inclined to rely on associations, voluntary work and thousands of forms of solidarity. organized in this country.
The temptation to be rejected is that the solidarity of the company serves to "plug the holes", that is, to cover public services that have remained uncovered due to the expansion of requests and the aggravation of traditional budget problems. Essential services should not be downloaded on solidarity, but if anything they should be strengthened. Not leaving those who help others alone will be one of the most important commandments of this new era that has opened before our eyes.
NP June / July 2020