The role and motivations of the volunteers of the Action for Defenceless People Foundation in "Operation Freedom"

Alexandra Valéria Sándor - Gergely Pataki - Krisztina Baranyai


Medical and health volunteering, which is part of humanitarian aid, contributes to the reduction of social inequalities in access to health care and benefits the professional and personal development of volunteers. In 2019, the Actionfor Defenceless People Foundation's volunteer team of doctors, health workers, and other professional helpers separated a Bangladeshi 'Siamese' twin couple, Rabeya and Rukaya Islam, born conjoined at the head. The Islam twins' ongoing four-phase multidisciplinary surgical series, dubbed "Operation Freedom", which requires expertise in anaesthesia and intensive care, neurosurgery and plastic surgery, began in February 2018. The main aim of this study is to assess and compare the motivational structure of the volunteers (doctors, health care workers, and other professional helpers) involved in the project. The results show that the two major factors, the expression of values and understanding, that were identified in the motivation of volunteers of "Operation Freedom" played a greater role in their motivation than the data found in the international literature, both in the overall sample and in all occupational subgroups. However, except for the subgroup of health workers, growth, the social factor, and self-protection were considered weaker motivational factors.

Keywords: humanitarian volunteering, medical missions, Operation Freedom, Bangladeshi Siamese twins, volunteer motivations,