Information newsletter of the European Network of Youth Centres – E.N.Y.C.
1. European Voluntary Service Celebrates 20 Years
Volunteering helps our environment and our community to be a better place.
The European Voluntary Service (EVS) gives young people the opportunity to volunteer abroad. Anyone can join age between 17 and 30. There are different kind of opportunities, the difference is the cause the volunteers believe. The various activities could be supporting refugees, activities with children or elderlies, organising events, helping and supporting
organisations work and so many more. Activities could be realized within the framework of non-profit, non-governmental organizations, public institutions or companies.
There are short or long term projects the duration is 2 to 12 months. The volunteers receive support for their travel and living costs, also pocket money and insurance and much more. Just some of the benefits: The young people could get their first experience in a helping environment. Volunteering in a foreigner country is a great way to meet new cultures and make new friends, learn new skills and get the first work experience in an intercultural community and also helps to learn how to work in a team.
This environment helps to develop the communication skills and leadership abilities. During this 20 years almost 100 000 youngsters participate through the EVS.
The EVS started in 1996 and till 2000 it became so successful so it became the part of the YOUTH Programme, later on it was running under the Youth in
Action programme and since 2014 with the ERASMUS+ programme. In 2015 during the ERASMUS+ project the 100 000th EVSvolunteer got the opportunity to go abroad. That’s why it was important to summarize the main rules.
This is how the EVS Charter was made where the core values and the quality standards are laid down. While the 20 years around 5000 EVS accredited organisation are in the Volunteering Database. During this year the non-governmental organisations get an opportunity to share their result and implement and promote EVS with local events.
2. S&G At European Youth Event 2016
On 20 and 21st of May S&G join the other 7500 participants of the European Youth Event in Strasbourg, France. Our team was from 19 participants, including people with disabilities. Our disabled psychologist Ilknur PEDER was there with her wheel chair, representing our country. She said that she was expecting much more disabled people in the event.
Gonca AKÇAER who gave information about ‘’Engelli ve Yaşlı Dostu Teknolojik Ev’’ project’s model. During one of her activities in the European Parliament met an astronaut who was in space for 7 months. In our tent we presented ‘’Engelli ve Yaşlı Dostu Ev’’ project, ‘’Imagination Box’’ – where people had to put them selves into blind people shoes and describe an item without being able to see it. World’s first peace treaty cuneiforms, Kadesh, EVS puzzle explaining the European Voluntary Service, ‘’EngelsizFEST’’ activities. Our tent in the event was next to the entrance of the European Parlament.
Parallel to our activities we had a voting box where we asked the people “should
Turkey has a visa?” Lots of people voted and shared their opinion. Our Volunteers Alexandra, Selim, Carla, Nilüfer and Bledi gave information in our stand and also in the tent of the European Commission. We also participated in the celebration of the
EVS’s 20th birthday. S&G president Gürkan AKÇAER gave information about our country’s first big ‘’EngelsizFEST’ EVS project.
Our volunteer Aleksandra presented our Large Scale EVS project in the EVS tent in front of many interested people. We created lots of beneficial contacts. Our team is happy and proud to be part of this incredible event. See you next time EYE 😉
3. “Follow your dreams” in Finland
European Voluntary Service between ENYC organisations
(Filoxenia, Greece – Villa Elba, Finland)
1 month EVS project in Kokkola, Finland (4.7.-4.8. 2016)
1st story by Kristina Abazaj
Hello! I am Kristina and this July I participated in an EVS programme in Finland.
During the first week, we were living in Villa Elba in Kokkola. This week, was the one that volunteers met each other and got prepared. In the second week, we divided into four different projects.
My project was about preparing a horse club for the competitions in the last week of July. So me, Balint from Hungary and Kevin from Ireland moved to Nykarleby. We were working from Monday to Friday for about 6-7 hours per day. During these weeks, we were preparing the horse club, by painting, cutting some grass etc. As I was in a horse club, I couldn’t miss the opportunity to ride a horse. I was scary but funny in the same time! It was a unique experience!
Also, our weekends were free so, I travelled in some other places in Finland such as Vaasa, Turku, Helsinki and Porvoo. The last one was an amazing little town!
After the competitions and the end of the projects, we gathered all together in Kokkola for a couple of days. The only thing that in the end is making your experience in projects like this one is the people you meet. They are people totally strangers to you in first place and in the end you have brand new friends. And that’s you have to give it a try!!
2nd story by Anastasia Georgopoulou
During the period 4th of July – 4th of August I was a volunteer in Kokkola, Finland. I lived in Villa Elba with some other volunteers coming from different countries. At the first week we didn’t provide a volunteer work but we had great time knowing each other and knowing different cultures. It was the week that we had to separate in 4 projects. The volunteering project that I picked it was the “Kokkola Cup”. It is a football cup for children (ages: 4-14) from all over the country. I decided to be a volunteer in this project because I would like to provide help in a football tournament as great as this. It was a pleasure for me to take part (in a different way) in this amazing tournament because I had the opportunity to provide help and corporate with some great people that they were trying to run the tournament and helping us, as good as possible.
I met so many people and I made new friendships! Before “Kokkola Cup ” started, me and 5 more volunteers that we became friends we were cleaning(cutting the grass) and preparing the football fields and the canteens (and shops) of the “Kokkola Cup”. During the “Kokkola Cup” we were responsible for every canteen and football field. We had to supply every canteen if something was missing or we had to take care of the shops (of Kokkola Cup). After the final of the Kokkola Cup we had to return everything in it’s place like before. In general we worked a lot of hours but we had great time in our job as well. After these 2-3 weeks that we worked for the Kokkola Cup, we had “vacation time” so me and some other friends from other countries, we decided to visit some other interesting places in Finland. Except Kokkola, we visited Pietarsaari, Pori, Turku, Vaasa and Helsinki (the capital). We had really good time all together, we built strong relationships, we had new experiences, we provided volunteering work, we met new wonderful places and we have some memories that we will always have in our minds!
4. Dialogue Between Neighbours project highlights
System & Generation Ankara, Turkey
On 6th of August we opened the DBN Fest in Antalya. All participants from the Meeting my Neighbour Project were there and they presented their videos.
Second part of Dialogue Between Neighbours project was held in Eskisehir.
For one more time the participants presented their videos, explaining us what is like to visit and interact with a refugee and to put yourself in their shoes for a while. The event was fully documented by the local media with television interviews and newspaper reports.
On 29th of August we finished the Dialogue Between Neighbours project. The event was held in Yunus Emre Cultural Center in Kecioren Municipality. After the presentation of the videos our team gave presents to all the kids in the hall. The presents were donations from other organizations and people, wanting to help to the children. We want to tank to all the people who helped us during this project implementation.
The winner in our video contest Meeting My Neighbour shares her experience about the project.
This year I’ve attended “Meeting My Neighbour” video contest. It was one of the best decisions I’ve made. Not only because I won the first place but also I got to experience a lot of things. First of all to make my video I’ve visited a refugee family’s house. And seeing their living conditions in person made me realize how lucky I am to be standing where I am right now. I get a good education, I have my own room, I can go to my warm bed during cold winter etc. And now I think all of these things are not for nothing. I believe I have to study hard and use my opportunities to help the others who does not have the same opportunities that I do. I believe this is least I can do. After the announcement of the winners of the contest there were three video festivals in three cities of Turkey, in Antalya, Eskişehir, Ankara. At those festivals meeting other winners and interacting with them was so nice. We had great time together. And there was a press release about the VideoFest in Eskişehir and being interviewed was such an honour. In Ankara at the festival there were Syrian refugee kids and we’ve spent our day with them. Seeing them in such a good mode made our days too. This competition since from the beginning was amazing. I’ve met new people and spend great time with them. I am so happy that I had a part in this competition I wouldn’t change this experience to anything. I am thankful to System&Generation Association for the whole experience.
5. “Green Living in the Rural Area”
Training seminar hosted by Filoxenia in Kryoneri Korinthias, Greece (4-11.5.2016)
My name is Joe, I am a 33 year old electrician from Chester in the UK. I have a keen interest in all things outdoorsy and Green so when I saw the title of this course I was immediately interested and wanted to know more; the fact that it was taking place in a beautiful town in rural Greece was a major bonus! I always try to consider Green issues in my work life and have experience with energy efficiency and renewables. I have also worked quite a bit with youth groups and this is something I would like to do more of in the future, so I hoped the project might give me a few ideas on how to achieve this.
I was looking forward to the hands on, practical nature of the course. I read we would be creating footpaths, renovating old buildings and even constructing a treehouse, which I was particularly excited about! I wanted to experience the heritage of Greece and learn more about its ancient history by visiting museums and special archaeological sites. I was also interested to see how the Greek people were dealing with the economic and environmental uncertainty in Europe at the moment. You hear the news, but it’s only by visiting a place that you get a real insight into why things are like they are.
Kryoneri is located about 20 minutes into the hills from Kiato, which is a 90 mintue train journey westwards from Athens. The hostel we stayed in was not a hostel as I imagine them. We had beautiful house near the edge of the village which was surrounded by olive trees and vineyards and had lovely views down the mountain and over the sea to Korinth. It was a very peaceful place, but there was evidently a lot going on behind the scenes.
The project started with lots of ice breakers and general discussion to get to know one another and find out why each person had chosen to come on the course. This was all very informal and enjoyable and it was the perfect opportunity to hear what people expected to get out of their week in Greece. I realised on the first day how like minded we all were, despite being from all corners of Europe, and I was looking forward to sharing ideas and stories with everyone as the week progressed.
The week was a good balance of classroom discussion, manual work, educational visits and downtime. We stayed as a group for all activities and consequently became very close.
discussion, manual work, educational visits and downtime. We stayed as a group for all activities and consequently became very close.
All meals were together ‘family style’ and in the evening we could visit the local taverna to socialise and relax. We had participants from Slovakia, Czech Republic, Romania, Italy, Spain, Germany, Liechtenstein, Turkey and Greece. We all had different backgrounds and different ages so it was interesting being able to talk to new people and hear their outlook on the issues of the week and life in general.
During the project I learned a huge amount about Greek history and also about how Greece is modernising its rural areas to strengthen the economy. My personal highlights include visiting the national nature reserve in Stymphalia, where we saw wildlife and learned about how farming methods have changed over the last 100 years. I also thoroughly enjoyed helping to construct a treehouse with local tradesmen, but only using scrap timber; the techniques were unlike what I am used to, but very effective. For lunch on our last day we cooked with fire in the outside oven and took all the tables and chairs up to the old stone house to eat in there. The food was delicious and it felt great to dine together in such a rustic, traditional way.
I had never been to Greece before this week, but I will definitely go back, either as a volunteer or a tourist. It is such a rich and varied country with loads to see and so many wonderful communities to visit. I feel compelled to do more projects like this, as I love meeting new people and seeing more of the world. It was extremely rewarding to make improvements to the river footpath and the old stone house and I will keep in touch with the locals to see how they progress over the Summer. What struck me most of all as a British person about to vote in an EU referendum, was the amazing work that Europe and Europeans do. In the UK we never hear about any of the positives and this week in Greece has shown me first-hand what a brilliant organisation the EU can be.
I desperately want to remain part of that.
Written by participant Joe Bolton from Chester, UK
Video from the 2nd round of EVS “Green Living in the rural area”
6. EVS Jubilee for Bavaria in JUBI Würzburg, Germany
In November we had two big events in the Jubi: EVS Jubilee for Bavaria on 4th November and Fachtagung and official opening of the building after reconstruction a week later (9th-11th November).
EVS Jubilee was an occasion for us to meet with other, current and former, EVS Volunteers. We listened to talks about the meaning of EVS in general and in Bavaria, and learned new things: did you know that Jubi coordinates about half of the EVS projects in the federal state? This means that in Bavaria, with almost 13 Mio. inhabitants, there are maybe 40 European volunteers at the same time. I had even more luck that I thought – not only did I went to the one part of Bavaria that is unlike the rest of it, I also live, work and spend my free time with other volunteers, which would be less likely anywhere else in the state.
We prepared a small exhibition with photos and quotes from former volunteers.
What is the meaning of EVS today, what obstacles are we facing today in European Union and how EVS can help to overcome them, how can we reach more people with the idea, especially people from underprivileged backgrounds? All of these questions appeared and prompted some members of the public to join the debaters in a fishbowl discussion. Jubi was represented by Manu and by Alicia, a former European volunteer who decided to stay in Würzburg.
The event was organized by Jugend für Europa (German national agency) and Bayerischer Jugendring. After the speeches and discussion participants and listeners could learn more about the activities of organizations taking part in the Jubilee.
ENYC Newsletter 2016 / No 1 – firstname.lastname@example.org
“This project has been Co-funded with the support from the European Union. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.”