11-26 September 2021

About the Greenbelt Workcamp

The European Green Belt is a valuable ecological network along the former Iron curtain which divided Europe into east and west for nearly 40 years. The European Green Belt forms the backbone of Pan-European ecological network and provides a significant contribution to European “Green Infrastructure”. The Greenbelt-Initiative is an example of cross border cooperation and nature conservation. European Green Belt is a space for encounters between people and cultures and opportunities for a joint sustainable approach to natural and cultural heritage.

With this project in the Green Belt at the Austrian-Czech border, the Austrian League for Nature Conservation – Lower Austria and SCI Austria want to link international cooperation and nature conservation. Through the involvement of the communities in the border area and the close cooperation between the local people and international volunteers in the context of the Greenbelt Camp, we hope to bring peace, cooperation and unification ideas of ??the European Green Belt to life.

In order to preserve the diverse natural and cultural landscape along the European Green Belt, nature conservation-oriented management – in particular of open land biotope types such as (semi) dry grassland and rock dry grassland – is essential. This usually takes the form of manual maintenance of the valuable and species-rich biotopes and can hardly be managed today without the help of volunteers. Young people are invited to work together to help maintain valuable biotopes on the Green Belt and are given the opportunity to learn about the history of this landscape.

What will you do? In this Workcamp, you will take concrete action to maintain biodiversity in a part of the European Green Belt zone along the border between Austria and Czech Republic and contribute to preservation of endangered species in this area. Almost every day, we will work together for 5-6 hours. We will mow steep meadows and remove bushes from dry rocky grasslands that are threatened to be overgrown by bushes and trees. But don’t worry, we will have enough free days in between to rest and get to know each other and the region.

Study part! Apart from contributing to protection of endangered species by physical work you will also learn about them as well as about other plants and animals in the area. We will reflect upon ecological problems and initiatives that one can take in order to support environmental protection and promote a sustainable green Europe.

Leisure time! The beautiful region of Lower Austria offers a lot of possibilities for free-time activities. You can learn something about wine-production, we will visit the castle of Falkenstein, make a trip to Mikulov. There is also a little pond near our accommodation, where you can swim during your free time. Anyway, the free-time activities depend on you!

Who can participate?

  • Between 18 and 30 years old
  • Living in one of the following countries: Austria, Spain, Greece, Bulgaria, Kosovo, Italy, Ireland (if you?re not living in those countries but you are motivated to participate in the Camp please contact us at coordination.sciaustria@gmail.com 
  • Motivated to take concrete action to improve the natural environment and resist global challenges
  • Able to participate in the complete project
  • Be aware that the work is physically demanding!

We explicitly encourage participants of all genders, sexual orientations, abilities, races and ethnic backgrounds to apply.

This Project is founded by European Solidarity Corps. Therefore all travel costs will be reimbursed after the workcamp for a maximum of 275 Euro per person. Food and accommodation are included and a pocket money will also be provided to participants during the camp.

All participants will receive Youthpass upon successful completion of the workcamp.

Who organises this?

SCI Austria is the Austrian branch of the peace organisation Service Civil International. We exist since 1947 and organise volunteering camps and international educational projects around peace and social justice. We are not affiliated with any political party or religion. You can find out more about us on our website http://www.sciaustria.org/. If you have any questions about the project, you can reach us at coordination.sciaustria@gmail.com

Naturschutzbund Nieder?sterreich (Austrian League for Nature Conservation – Lower Austria) is an environmental NGO that supports and maintains protected areas in the region and wants to contribute to conservation of species and ecosystems in Lower Austria (Nieder?sterreich). See also https://www.noe-naturschutzbund.at (in German). 

This Project is supported by European Solidarity Corps programme of the EU

How can I apply?

Fill out this application form shorturl.at/ovHX0  

We will get back to you with the selection results as soon as possible!

 Posted by Kathy at 00:11 Volunteer activities Comments Off on GREENBELT CAMP is looking for participants
 

The training will take place from 19th (afternoon) till 26th August 2021 (7 working days and one travelling – 19th arrival and first working day and 26th August – departure day) in Bulgaria, in Imenieto hotel, Emen, in Veliko Tarnovo region. The participants need to arrive in the afternoon on 19th August and depart on 26th August 2021.

34 participants ***15 partner organisations***13 countries:Greece, Spain, Italy, Cyprus, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Serbia, Turkey, Czech Republic and Bulgaria. Residents of other EU countries are also welcome to apply!

Objectives

  • to improve the understanding of youth workers about the specifics of working with people with cultural differences;
  • to increase knowledge on how to reach and involve young people with cultural differences (immigrants, refugees or descendants of immigrant or refugee families; members of national or ethnic minorities; people who have difficulties with their linguistic adaptation or cultural integration) in everyday life activities of partner organizations;
  • to provide youth workers with concrete ideas and tools for the inclusion of disadvantaged young people;
  • to provide a set of specific methods for training and supporting young people with special needs in their involvement in various activities at local and international level;
  • to encourage a positive attitude towards the implementation of projects with the participation of disadvantaged young people;
  • to develop skills for empathy, acceptance and non-discrimination;
  • to increase the attitude towards acceptance, solidarity and the promotion of diversity.

Profile of the participants

  • Age 18+
  • youth workers, social workers, mentors, coaches of youth initiatives and solidarity projects, volunteer coordinators, trainers, facilitators, activists
  • participants may have experience working with young people with fewer opportunities who wish to share with other participants and increase their knowledge and develop their competencies, or
  • so far have no experience and wish to start promoting and supporting the inclusion of young people with fewer opportunities
  • youth leaders who can turn into multiplayer and peer-to-peer trainers
  • willing to share knowledge, ideas, useful tips
  • willing to participate in the creation of the Toolbox for Social Inclusion
  • able to understand and express themselves in English
  • are committed to attend for the full duration of the event
  • are committed to do a follow-up/dissemination activity to be implemented in their country after the training.

More about the place

Apart from the learning experience envisaged in the program, the location of the training offers an opportunity for enriching free time, tailored to the participants’ different tastes and interests: eco paths, waterfall, nature, mediaval castle, picturesque streets and local craftsmanship. The nearby town of Veliko Tarnovo is offering a great diversity of free time places to visit.

More information about the project and the training, the participation conditions, practicalities, eligible travel costs and reimbursment procedure, COVID19 protocol and appication procedure can be found in the detailed

More information about training activities and schedule can be found in the preliminary training PROGRAM.

If you are interested in participating, apply by 31.07.2021 filling in the Online application form

The final selection will be done by CVS-Bulgaria, giving priority to candidates proposed by the Partner Organisations as long as their application is submitted within the deadline and the candidate’s profile fits with the participant’s profile envisaged in this call.

Selected participants will be informed by 3.08.2021. All applicants will be informed about the final decision.

For any further questions, please contact us at trainings@cvs-bg.org or at
+ 359 888 751684.

 Posted by Kathy at 09:13 Volunteer activities Comments Off on TC “Social Inclusion in Action: The Beauty of Cultural Diversity” – call for participants
 

“Strengthening the youth response against LGBTIQphobia” in Barcelona from the 16th to the 23rd of July!

“Strengthening the youth response against LGBTIQphobia” in Barcelona from the 16th to the 23rd of July!

Introduction:
PeaceWeek “Strengthening the youth response against LGBTIQphobia” arrives this summer. This is a space for international exchange where people from different countries have the opportunity to learn about this subject and share their own experiences.

Objectives:
The aim of the activity proposed is to strengthen the capacities of SCI and youth LGBTIQ+ organizations in order to contribute to more inclusive societies through the struggle for the rights of LGBTIQ+ people and the promotion of volunteering as a tool to erase hate speech towards LGBTIQ+ people. Goals:

  • Get to know the realities of the different countries (institutional discriminations, violations of rights, LGBTIQ+ movement, resistance, alliances, asylum procedures).
  • Create a safe space for the participants to strengthen their capacities.
  • Exchange good practices.
  • Get to know local projects.
  • Promote volunteerism and active citizenship as tools of social transformation.
  • Explore topics such as the connection between LGBTIQ+ communities and different groups/movements (feminists, sex workers, refugees/migrants).
  • Explore the topics from a decolonial, anti racist perspective bringing to light different levels of discrimination and privileges.The proposed activity will be in the format of “Peaceweek”, a kind of work camp, where young people from all over the world will take part, but with a good part of the time dedicated to study and debate sessions.

Who can participate? SCI youth workers from Germany, France, Italy, Bulgaria, Hungary, Belgium, Ukraine and Albania.

If you are interested in participating in this project READ THE CALL FOR PARTICIPANTS and fill out this form asap! If in doubt, send an email to incoming@scicat.org.

 Posted by Kathy at 11:09 Volunteer activities Comments Off on Participate in the peaceweek Peaceweek against LGBTIQphobia in Barcelona
 

The project aims to cast a light on propaganda before and during WWII, focusing on its role to enforce the concept of “enemy” – from national and ethnic groups to political opponents and social groups. Moreover a special attention will be given to the role of grassroots media and peace organizations in challenging propaganda through innovative communication methodologies and tools.

Whithin the project there will be 5 Remembrance weeks (short term mobilities) and currently we are looking for participants for the Remembrance week in Austria, from the 8th till the 17th of August 2021.

During the Remembrance Weeks participants, supported and guided by the Remembrance Messengers, will implement different activities aimed at going in depth into the following key words/topics:

  • Remembrance                                        
  • Propaganda and media
  • Nationalism
  • Hatred of the enemy
  • Grassroots media
  • Pacifism
  • Counter narratives

The Set of Infographics will be created on the basis of the researches participants will realize during the activity, focused on 10 specific topics:

  • Fear
  • Propaganda
  • Gender
  • Freedom of speech
  • Nationalism
  • History
  • Normalization
  • Youth
  • Social Frustration
  • Hate crimes

Participants will be asked to implement some previous research on the topics listed above with relation to their local contest, both in the past during the fascist/nazi regimes and in the present, in the policies or propaganda carried on by right-wings parties or movements.

It is important to bring to the Remembrance Week every material (soft and hard), pictures, fanzines, presentation, testimony that can give a contribution to the debate and to the research realization.

We are looking for participants who are:


?Age 16+
?Able to understand and express themselves in English
?Willing to be open-minded and eager to learn from the workshops in this activity and from their peers, as well as maintain a positive attitude and a critical approach to the problematics and topics that will be reviewed
?Interested in the topics of fascism, anti-fascism, propaganda, counter-propaganda, anti- racism, migration, etc.
? Willing to contribute to the research creation with material, ideas, participation
?Willing to share experiences and stories from their local environment/context and to collect material that will be useful for feeding the debate and realizing the research
?Are committed to assist or take the lead role in planning and implementing local initiatives during the Remembrance Week in order to disseminate the learning outcomes.

The project covers the costs for:

  • Travel (reimbursement up to 100 euro under reception of the Boarding Passes and all travelling documents)
  • Food and accommodation during the Remembrance week
  • Local transportation
  • Health insurance

The costs for the eventual Covid-19 test cannot be reimbursed.

More information and Application:
General information about the Remembrance weeks can be found below
http://cvs-bg.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/RW-in-Austria_Call-for-participants.docx.pdf
You can find more information about the Remembrance week in Austria (8 – 17 August) and apply by clicking here!


If you have some questions, please do not hesitate to write to cvs.katerina@gmail.com or to coordination.sciaustria@gmail.com

 Posted by Kathy at 11:40 Volunteer activities Comments Off on Remembrance week in Austria- call for participants
 

The project aims to cast a light on propaganda before and during WWII, focusing on its role to enforce the concept of “enemy” – from national and ethnic groups to political opponents and social groups. Moreover a special attention will be given to the role of grassroots media and peace organizations in challenging propaganda through innovative communication methodologies and tools.

Whithin the project there will be 5 Remembrance weeks (short term mobilities) and currently we are looking for participants for the Remembrance week in Poland, Poznan, from the 25th of June till the 4th of July 2021.

During the Remembrance Weeks participants, supported and guided by the Remembrance Messengers, will implement different activities aimed at going in depth into the following key words/topics:

  • Remembrance                                        
  • Propaganda and media
  • Nationalism
  • Hatred of the enemy
  • Grassroots media
  • Pacifism
  • Counter narratives

The Set of Infographics will be created on the basis of the researches participants will realize during the activity, focused on 10 specific topics:

  • Fear
  • Propaganda
  • Gender
  • Freedom of speech
  • Nationalism
  • History
  • Normalization
  • Youth
  • Social Frustration
  • Hate crimes

Participants will be asked to implement some previous research on the topics listed above with relation to their local contest, both in the past during the fascist/nazi regimes and in the present, in the policies or propaganda carried on by right-wings parties or movements.

It is important to bring to the Remembrance Week every material (soft and hard), pictures, fanzines, presentation, testimony that can give a contribution to the debate and to the research realization.

We are looking for participants who are:


?Age 16+
?Able to understand and express themselves in English
?Willing to be open-minded and eager to learn from the workshops in this activity and from their peers, as well as maintain a positive attitude and a critical approach to the problematics and topics that will be reviewed
?Interested in the topics of fascism, anti-fascism, propaganda, counter-propaganda, anti- racism, migration, etc.
? Willing to contribute to the research creation with material, ideas, participation
?Willing to share experiences and stories from their local environment/context and to collect material that will be useful for feeding the debate and realizing the research
?Are committed to assist or take the lead role in planning and implementing local initiatives during the Remembrance Week in order to disseminate the learning outcomes.

The project covers the costs for:

  • Travel (reimbursement up to 100 euro under reception of the Boarding Passes and all travelling documents)
  • Food and accommodation during the Remembrance week
  • Local transportation
  • Health insurance

The costs for the eventual Covid-19 test cannot be reimbursed.

More information and Application:


General information about the Remembrance weeks can be found below
http://cvs-bg.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Call-for-participants-RW.pdf
You can find more information about the Remembrance week in Poland (25 June – 4 July) and apply by clicking here!


If you have some questions, please do not hesitate to write to cvs.katerina@gmail.com or to incoming@jedenswiat.org.pl

 Posted by Kathy at 10:57 Volunteer activities Comments Off on Remembrance week in Poland – call for participants
 

The project aims to cast a light on propaganda before and during WWII, focusing on its role to enforce the concept of “enemy” – from national and ethnic groups to political opponents and social groups. Moreover a special attention will be given to the role of grassroots media and peace organizations in challenging propaganda through innovative communication methodologies and tools.

Whithin the project there will be 5 Remembrance weeks (short term mobilities) and currently we are looking for participants for the Remembrance week in Rome, Italy, which will take place from 14th to 23th June 2021.

During the Remembrance Weeks participants, supported and guided by the Remembrance Messengers, will implement different activities aimed at going in depth into the following key words/topics:

  • Remembrance                                        
  • Propaganda and media
  • Nationalism
  • Hatred of the enemy
  • Grassroots media
  • Pacifism
  • Counter narratives

The Set of Infographics will be created on the basis of the researches participants will realize during the activity, focused on 10 specific topics:

  • Fear
  • Propaganda
  • Gender
  • Freedom of speech
  • Nationalism
  • History
  • Normalization
  • Youth
  • Social Frustration
  • Hate crimes

Participants will be asked to implement some previous research on the topics listed above with relation to their local contest, both in the past during the fascist/nazi regimes and in the present, in the policies or propaganda carried on by right-wings parties or movements.

It is important to bring to the Remembrance Week every material (soft and hard), pictures, fanzines, presentation, testimony that can give a contribution to the debate and to the research realization.

We are looking for participants who are:


?Age 16+
?Able to understand and express themselves in English
?Willing to be open-minded and eager to learn from the workshops in this activity and from their peers, as well as maintain a positive attitude and a critical approach to the problematics and topics that will be reviewed
?Interested in the topics of fascism, anti-fascism, propaganda, counter-propaganda, anti- racism, migration, etc.
? Willing to contribute to the research creation with material, ideas, participation
?Willing to share experiences and stories from their local environment/context and to collect material that will be useful for feeding the debate and realizing the research
?Are committed to assist or take the lead role in planning and implementing local initiatives during the Remembrance Week in order to disseminate the learning outcomes.

The project covers the costs for:

  • Travel (reimbursement up to 100 euro under reception of the Boarding Passes and all travelling documents)
  • Food and accommodation during the Remembrance week
  • Local transportation
  • Health insurance

The costs for the eventual Covid-19 test cannot be reimbursed.

More information and Application:


General information about the Remembrance weeks can be found below
http://cvs-bg.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Call-for-participants-RW.pdf
You can find more information about the Remembrance week in Italy ( 14-23rd June) and apply by clicking here!


If you have some questions, please do not hesitate to write to Katerina at cvs.katerina@gmail.com or to Claudia at formazione@sci-italia.it.

 Posted by Kathy at 12:53 Volunteer activities Comments Off on Remembrance week in Italy – call for participants
 

We would like to invite you to participate in the Online Training Course “CHAPTER: Anti-fascism on the Spotlight” which will gather 25 representatives of organisations from 9 countries – Austria, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Spain and Bulgaria. Participants from other EU program countries are also welcome to apply.  The training is designed for active volunteers who are eager to learn more on the topic of anti-fascism and later apply their knowledge in three types of project activities: Remembrance weeks, a Research and a Campaign.

About the Training Course “CHAPTER: Anti-fascism on the Spotlight”

The online training will gather 25 participants,  nominated by the partner organizations, who are interested in the topic, politically and/or socially active and available for (at least) one of the Remembrance weeks, described above. The training aims to build and train a group of experienced multipliers (remembrance messengers) and remembrance week coordinators, set up a research on the topic and define contents of the Remembrance weeks within the project.

The training is designed to prepare the future Remembrance messengers and Remembrance Weeks’ coordinators, providing them with practical and theoretical knowledge on the topic of anti-fascism. Apart from being introduced to research methodologies and communication/anti-propaganda tools, they will learn how to use non-formal education tools in order to reflect on the following main questions:

  • What do we understand by “fascism”? Where does it come from, why does it appear and why do people fall in its net?
  • What history tells us about fascism?
  • What are the current trends and why far right wing parties/movements are rising across Europe? What are the effects of globalisation on the new forms of fascism?
  • How to deconstruct the narrative of “them vs. us”?
  • Which psychosocial mechanisms are involved in fascism and populism? What do fascist speeches have in common?
  • What are the effects and consequences of fascism in our societies?
  • Why must we fight fascism? What’s the role of activism and peace organizations?
  • What new communication methodologies and tools are used to fight fascism?

The specific goals of this training are as follows:

  • To train a group of messengers and coordinators  who will lead the following Remembrance Weeks in each of the partner countries and organisations;
  • Gain and share knowledge on the basic concepts, history and theories around the topics of  fascism and anti-fascism, based on meeting with experts, peer learning and self-assessment techniques;
  • Develop critical thinking on the topic of fascism, to be able to recognize fallacies in speech and identify the signs of extremism;
  • Developing the competences of the participants to plan, organize and implement educational activities on anti-fascism;
  • Develop tools to work on prevention or to react in cases of fascism, hate speech, exclusions or violence (online and offline);
  • Learn new tools on how to develop and implement a campaign based on previous examples;
  • To conduct a research on all materials that can be useful and relevant to the specific tasks of the training and gather them ;
  • To create a toolkit with all useful information at the end of the training, which can be used in the following Remembrance Weeks;
  • Create a bond and ground for international cooperation and networking.

Dates, platform, methodology, experts’ team and draft program of the training course

The training will take place from 3rd to 12th of April 2021 and the team will use the ZOOM platform to interact between 2 and 4 hours daily in the mentioned period. 

Within 10 working days (the program envisages 2-4 working hours per day, using non-formal learning methodology) the group will be able to:

– gather a collection of coordination tools, which will be used for the activities during the Remembrance Weeks

– collect materials on the topic from the different national contexts

– define the scope and framework of a research on the topic, receive tips on research methodologies

– set the outlines of a media campaign on the topic

– contribute to the report of the activity.

The participants are required to be available for the whole duration of the training, taking part in all the plenary and small group sessions, as well as pair and individual tasks. The methods used during the training will follow the non-formal learning methodology: working in small groups, discussions in plenary, brainstorming, presenting, role play, simulations, etc. The team of trainers will consist of international experienced trainers, facilitators and experts.

The selected participants will receive the training program, trainers profile info and some individual small tasks to complete prior to the start of the activity.

Partner countries and organisations

  • Service Civil International Osterreich – Austria
  • CVS-Bulgaria – Bulgaria
  • Service Civil International Hellas – Greece
  • Servizio Civile Internazionale Italia – Italy
  • Centro Studi Sereno Regis – Italy
  • Stowarzyszenie Jeden Swiat Poland
  • Servei Civil Internacional de Catalunya Asociacion – Spain
  • Le Service Civil International – France
  • Service Civil International – Deutscher Zweig E.V. – Germany
  • Utilapu Nemzetkozi Epitotabor Halozat Egyesulet Hungary
  • DINAMOpressItaly
  • UNITED for Intercultural Action – Hungary

Participants from other EU program countries are also welcome to apply however priority will be given to candidates from the project partner countries.

Schedule

The schedule of the training will follow the proposed below agenda:

3rd  April (Saturday) – 4h – 10:00-13:30 CET
4th  April (Sunday) – OFF
5th  April (Monday) – OFF
6th  April (Tuesday) – 4h – 10:00-13:30 CET
7th  April (Wednesday) – 4h – 10:00-13:30 CET
8th  April (Thursday) – 4h – 10:00-13:30 CET
9th  April (Friday) – 4h – 10:00-13:30 CET
10th April (Saturday) – 4h – 10:00-13:30 CET
11th April (Sunday) – 4h – 10:00-13:30 CET
12th April (Monday) – 4h – 10:00-13:30 CET

*There will be 30 min break in between sessions of 4h.

The selected participants will receive the training program, trainers profile info and some individual small tasks to complete prior to the start of the activity.

Profile of the participants

The profile of the candidate should be the following:

  • Age 18+
  • Able to understand and express themselves in English;
  • Politically or/and socially active;
  • Have and/or willing to gain experience in coordinating international activities (such as Workcamps, Peace weeks or Remembrance Weeks) and ready to organize the Remembrance week in their country on the topic of the project;
  • Committed to attend for the full duration of the online training
  • Volunteers, activists and youth workers/coordinators who want to learn more about innovative communication methodologies and effective tools to protect refugees and national minorities from organised violence;
  • Willing to learn more about the evolution of fascism, effects and consequences of the ideology in the current situation;
  • Willing to share experiences and stories from their local environment, family, friends and school (university) regarding to unfair attitude to refugees, national minorities and other;
  • Willing to be open-minded and eager to learn from the workshops in this activity and from their peers, as well as maintain a positive attitude and a critical approach to the problematics and topics that will be reviewed;
  • Are committed to assist or take the lead role in planning and implementing local initiatives in order to disseminate the learning outcomes.

Certificates

All participants will receive a certificateupon successful completion of the training course.

Application procedureThe detailed call for participants can be found here.

If you are interested in participating, apply filling in the online application form.

The final selection will be done by CVS-Bulgaria, giving priority to candidates proposed by the Partner Organisations as long as their application is submitted within the deadline and the candidates profile fits with the participants profile envisaged in this call.

Selected participants will be informed. All applicants will be informed about the final decision.

You can reach us on the following e-mail: trainings@cvs-bg.org if you have further questions.

Looking forward to meeting you soon in the virtual space of or training!

Chapter project team

 Posted by Kathy at 20:55 Volunteer activities Comments Off on CHAPTER: Anti-fascism on the Spotlight – online training course is looking for participants
Oct 192020
 

We are happy to share that CVS – Bulgaria is part of the project “HOWs” under the framework of K2: Erasmus+ programme, carried out in partnership with organizations from 3 different countries – Baltic Regional Fund (Latvia), VSI “Inovatyvi karta” (Lithuania), Tudatos Ifjusagert Alapitvany (Hungary). The project was launched on 1.09.2020 and has a total duration of 19 months.

Driven by the ambition and desire to help young people acquire knowledge and practical skills on how to turn their ideas into completed successful projects and to increase their active citizenship and civic participation, together with our partners we have been preparing a diverse and rich programme with various and innovative initiatives, which will also include the creation of an interactive mobile platform with an educational and practical purpose as well a manual giving guidance to the most common problems and difficulties being faced during the process of seeing a problem-thinking of an idea-and coming with a solution.

The project is intended to directly involve more than 370 people and many more indirectly, including representatives of various non-governmental organizations/volunteers, etc.

Expect shortly more details about all the possibilities around the project and how to become part of it.

 Posted by Monika at 11:23 Volunteer activities Comments Off on Project “HOWs”
 

She is humble, hard-working and adds a creative touch in everything that she does.
Coming from the picturesque countryside place Bolshaya Sosnova, she moves to
Perm where she accomplishes her Master degree in Youth policy: leadership and
technologies.


In today’s interview we are introducing you the 24-years-old Dasha from Russia
who is one of our six volunteers in the project “Volunteering circles”

Privet, Dasha! Thanks for having you here. Our first question to you is – Is this your first volunteering abroad?

Yes! Even more – it’s almost my first big trip abroad (smiling) Before, when I was 10 years old I was in a Ukrainian summer camp with my brother and last year I visited Turkey for 5 days. That’s all my experience.

How did you decide to come here in Sofia for one year? What was your motivation?

Actually, exactly after this trip to Turkey,  I decided to go somewhere. It was New Year’s time, maybe that’s why the feeling of necessary changes came.  So, when I came back to Perm, I took a decision to quit my job and started  researching opportunities to go. I was finishing my Master degree at the same time, and I realized that nothing keeps me there (except my family, of course, but they usually support me and this idea wasn’t an exception).

How do you find your work at CVS, can you tell us more about the activities you are involved in?

I found our work in CVS challenging and interesting, because we have different activities, where you have to use varied skills and knowledge. I really like such kind of work, because it helps you grow and be more flexible. For now, I’m mostly involved in SIFF (Sofia International Film Festival) organization, but before I participated in teaching kids in refugee camps, organizing events for them and the local community, worked with participants for training.

Was there anything really challenging for you during these 8 months since your coming here?

Not really. Maybe just difference between people’s way of thinking at the beginning of the project.

If you compare yourself before your project and now in the last part of it, do you think that you have changed and in what way?

Yes, for sure! At least, I improved my English level, became more confident, discovered a lot of new facts about different cultures and broke some stereotypes. I think that I started to be more open-minded. According some professional skills, now I can put Bulgarian language with a basic level in my resume (laughing), work in multitasking mode (because sometimes we worked in few different fields at the same time, by the way it was wonderful), scheduling and time management. But at the same time, I understood that sometimes I’m very sensitive and pay attention to tine details that usually better to miss. So, I prefer not to be such kind of person, or at least to learn how to hide it. Now I’m working on it.

Would you recommend EVS (ESC) to someone who had never done it before and according to you what are the greatest benefits of the program?

Actually, I have already recommended EVS (ESC) in my university and also I was invited for interview with one school in Perm where I promoted it. The greatest benefit is experience. Experience of being here, working in multinational team, traveling, learning. Everything, because it changes you a lot! (I guess, I’m very bad at standing out benefits (laughing))

If you can pick up 3 words that describe your EVS experience so far they will be…

Just do it!

Do you have any ideas or plans what you would like to do after your project?

Oh, it’s a very difficult question for me. I would try to stay in EU and find a job,  but because as Russian citizen I don’t have such flexible mobility as European volunteers, for example. So, let’s see and fingers crossed.

Are there any tips you would like to give to the future volunteers?

Be independent and use every moment that you have. I lost a lot of time, because I was shy with my English level and thought that people could have fun at me, but it’s nonsense. If you can express your thoughts somehow, run and communicate!

Thank you Dasha. We wish you the very best for all the new ventures, that life has in store for you!

with friends on a trip to Kazanluck
in front of the Buzludzha Memorial House
with friends on the way to Balkan Station Fest
On the left and right – during a short trip on the occasion of our coordinator Kat and my birthday, in the middle – with Gyuzel, supporting the youth soccer team of Russia

The project “Volunteering Circles” (2018-2-BG01-KA125-048262) is Co-funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union and Human Resource Development Center (HRDC).


 Posted by Monika at 11:00 Volunteer activities Comments Off on Dasha Chernyshova – turning wishes to actions
 

She is 23 years old and comes from sunny Barcelona. A graduate in Psychology, with a sharp eye for the little details, passion for photography and never ceasing enthusiasm and curiosity to try new things (or to ask you another question).


In today’s interview we are happy to introduce you Sara, one of the 6 ESC volunteers in our team, part of the project “Volunteering circles”.

Hello Sara, will you tell us – is this your first volunteering project abroad?

Yes, it is. In Barcelona I was participating as an activist in the Amnesty International group of my university, but this is the first time I am doing a volunteering in a foreign country. Also I had lived abroad before because I did Erasmus during my third year of university. I was living in the Netherlands for 6 months and, actually, it was there where I found out about EVS. I was with some friends on a tour, we met a group of people who turned out to be EVS volunteers in Poland.

Nice and was it difficult to find a project to volunteer?

At the beginning I started looking for a project by myself. I would enter the European Solidarity Corps website and spend hours looking for projects. I remember that I was super picky, so I was like “not this one, not this one”. When I finally contacted an organization through the ESC platform, they didn’t even reply, so I started to look for more information and I saw that you actually need a sending organization from the beginning who helps you to find a project and everything is easier. Then I found out about Service Civil International Catalunya on Facebook and I saw they had some projects so I decided to contact them. A week later I had an interview, more like a meeting to see what I didn’t know, and what type of volunteer opportunities exited (there is more than ESC). In that same interview they mentioned that there was this project in Bulgaria. It looked really interesting and I had been in the Sofia before so we tried to see if I could still apply for it. My hopes weren’t high because the deadline had passed, but few days later they told me that I could send my CV and motivation letter. After a while my coordinator contacted me and we had the interview. Everything was in the last minute, so I felt very lucky and happy.

Did you have any hesitations whether to join this project or to find another one?

Actually no, because as I told you I applied for this one and I got in so I didn’t have any other project or plan in mind. I have to say that I really liked the project because it is very diverse in a sense – you have cinema, you have working with refugees, you have promotion of volunteering… and lots of activities that are in between. I was also looking for a specific approach, something that it looked like I could participate from the inside, because there are some volunteering projects that are only about being in the front line but in which you don’t take decisions at all. I wanted to be part of the decision making because I would like to work in the field of NGOs, social justice and human rights. I wanted to perceive first hands how it is to work in an organization like this, before continuing my studies.

Do you enjoy the activities you are involved in?

Yeah, I do. Of course there are always exceptions as there are a lot of different tasks, but usually you get more involved with the ones that you are more interested. I came thinking that I was more interested in the refugees’ circle, but then when they explained more each of them I felt that I was also interested in the circle about promoting volunteering.

Something that helped in that sense was that, in the beginning of the project we made a task division list and we put our names on the tasks we wanted to take part in. The tasks I’ve been more involved in have been promotion, content creation, communication, organization of events and management. Of course all of these related to the social field. It is really different the communication for company that sells yogurt, for example, than the communication for an NGO.

You are also very good in photography. I saw you at a lot of events doing the shots.

Thank you! Yes, I really like photography and I have a reflex camera which is really similar to the one of our office. So since I knew how it worked, most of the times I ended up being the photographer of the events. I really enjoy it, so I rarely get tired of taking photos. I also started to get curious about video making, so I’ve started to develop this skill a bit.

And how do you find the life in Sofia, was it difficult to adapt here in the beginning?

Not really… Bianca (fellow volunteer) and I arrived in the middle of July. It was very warm and we didn’t know so many people. A lot of people in general in the city they were in vacation, so it was pretty empty. In that aspect in the beginning I was like “uff”. Later when the other volunteers arrived it got better as you meet more people, you start traveling more and visiting other cities. We went to Varna, and we met some volunteers from other organizations across the country. As for the city, I had visited Sofia before in a trip and I really liked it. I don’t know exactly why, it’s different and that makes it interesting.

Was there anything challenging for you in your work, in your life?

In the middle of the project I had some family issues, I couldn’t go back to my family, it didn’t make sense just to buy a ticket, it was from one day to another, so I stayed here. It was hard, because when you are abroad sometimes it feels like you are in a parallel world, you think that back home the time doesn’t pass, but the thing is that yeah, it does and when you realize that it is a bit weird. On a personal level it was a hard moment, but I went to visit them a few weeks later so it was okay.

Do you feel that you had changed during these months?

Totally, yeah. I guess you don’t notice it so much in yourself but when I was back home some people told me that there was something different. I guess that is something that always happens when you travel or you get out of the comfort zone. You develop somehow, of course you change. I guess maybe you gain maturity and tools to work professionally. Also when you meet people from all over the world and with different backgrounds it always happens that you expand your mind more and you discover new ways to approach different subjects. I think it makes you more open in general.

What are your favourite activities during your free time?

I like trying a lot of things, I remember I tried yoga a couple times but I didn’t succeed (laughing). Then I also I tried ceramics, because I had never tried it in my life so I was really curious. I found a place that is really close to my house, it is a studio run by a woman. She taught me how to use the wheel and everything. It is really cool to experiment ceramics with your own hands. I hope I will able to go at least once again.

Have you tried something typically Bulgarian?

The food for sure: shopska salad, parlenka, sirene, liutenitza, tarator… What else… On the arrival training we had to dance the horo, but I don’t know if it counts because I didn’t dance so well, but at least I tried. We traveled a lot around Bulgaria and I guess that when you talk with local people and you spend time with them you also experience the culture. We also took classes of Bulgarian at Edno school. They taught us the language, but they also explained us some cultural things as the kukeri, the symbols for protection and Baba Marta.

What was the most interesting thing you got to know about Bulgaria?

Maybe the people. The few bulgarians that I met are pretty cool. I don’t know how to describe it exactly. In general the young people that I met have a nice sense of humour, they are friendly and easy-going, I don’t know, I like them.

What are your favourite places in Sofia?

Let me see, there is a vegetarian restaurant that we discovered that I love, Dream house. I have only been there a couple times but I like how cozy it is. And the parks, I have lots of good memories in Borisova gradina, laying on the grass with my friends. I’m sure there are more… probably a place with food or beer (laughs).

Are there any tips you would like to share with the future volunteers?

For what I have experienced and also heard from other organisations – I would say apply, do it, but first get well informed about the organization. Try to contact previous volunteers from the project. Each organization has its own way of managing itself and handling situations. Apart from the experience and the work you should have clear what are the things that they are providing, because I know that some volunteers had bad experiences with the accommodation for example. So in order to avoid it, try to become informed beforehand. But apart from that – do it, do it (smiling).

With Dasha and Gyuzel (also volunteers in the project)
going to watch “Lion King” with Biance (another volunteer in the project)
Halloween party at OPEN SPACE
on a trip to Macedonia with volunteers
with the participants in the Human library in Plovdiv
during the promotion of “DOBROFEST”

The project “Volunteering Circles” (2018-2-BG01-KA125-048262) is Co-funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union and Human Resource Development Center (HRDC).

 Posted by Monika at 11:25 Volunteer activities Comments Off on Sara Coll Lopez – to embrace with trust the unknown horizon