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Volunteering Promote Goodness – A strategic EVS project focused on emphazising non-formal learning and raising the awareness about EVS and its values.

The wish to carry out this project was due to the fact, that there is a favourable environment in Europe that makes this not only possible but also desirable as shown by the fact that a growing number of stakeholders from various sectors intends to take advantage of the potential of NFL (non-formal learning). But there are still many people, who don´t know that EVS is good method for using formal and non-formal education and they are not aware of value of EVS and opportunity to participate in it.

This is not only emphasised by the growing attention of youth-targeting programmes (such as YiA and now E+) but also by our own experience. During a needs assessment exercise with returnee volunteers we identified a whole set of skills that their experience brought about. In particular: Global awareness; Adaptability; Interpersonal skills; Delegation capacity; Stress management; Self-confidence; Problem solving; Self-learning capacity; Strategic thinking etc.

In spite of this, links between youth organisations and other actors (i.e. government structures and labour market forces) are still scarce. This is possibly due to the lack of mechanisms to acknowledge and take advantage of inter-sectorial synergies and has emerged as a priority of our partners in the course of our growing collaborations.

Therefore, there was this wish to create an inspiring international environment for Estonia people in order to promote purposeful participation in lifelong learning and contribution to a community on the way of personal development in the global world.

EstYES was targeting the following strategic aims and objectives during the project:

  • To raise an awareness of value of EVS and opportunity to participate in it in Estonia county through increasing number of organisations working with EVS;
  • to raise an awareness of value of EVS and opportunity to participate in it amongst the organisations and youth;
  • to raise an awareness of European Solidarity Corps;
  • to increase the number of EVS accredited organisations and sending Estonia youth to EVS
  • To increase a capacity of EstYES NGO to coordinate, receive and send EVS volunteers
  • to create a systematic and structured new approach to service delivery in order to optimize work with all parties – volunteers, ROs, SOs, supervisors, mentors – involved into EVS;
  • to improve our competence of preparation and supporting EVS volunteers with fewer opportunities during the service with the help of supervision;
  • To create prerequisites for social inclusion of young people with fewer opportunities into EVS
  • to strengthen partnership with international organisations working with young people with fewer opportunities.

Our volunteers within this project did a great job with the promotion and raising awareness of the programmes. They shared their culture and information in the youth centres, education fairs and events, schools and kindergartens, among the parents and teachers. EstYES was also meeting with their partners to develop their collaboration and made agreements with new interested organisations. Collaboration was made with a few organisations who are supporting the youngsters with fewer opportunities.

The project is funded by the Archimedes Foundation Youth Agency from the Erasmus + program.

Tetiana’s initiative project

Tetiana’s initiative project

A day of Ukrainian coziness and warmth in the middle of Old Tallinn.

My name is Tetiana Novatska, I am from Ukraine and I am doing my EVS in Estonia, in Tallinn Children’s Home shelter for mothers and children (Tallinna Lastekodu ema ja lapse turvakodu). This is a place for women and their children whose lives are at risk at the place they lived before. They can live in our shelter until they will be provided with a social room/apartment. Until then, we help the mothers to get their lives on a normal track. As a volunteer in this organization, my main task is working with children – we play outside, read books, draw, cook together etc. If mothers need to go to the doctor or for a job interview, then I look after their children, feed them, get them to sleep, play games together, go for walks. When someone has a birthday or we have national holidays, I always organize the celebration and decorate the rooms.

During the time I have been volunteering here, I learned a lot about the mothers and children who lived and who are living now at our place, so I also wanted them to find out more about me through the culture of my country. The idea was not just to tell them information about Ukrainian culture, but also involve mothers and children in the process – learning how to cook traditional Ukrainian food and how to paint eggs called ‘pysanky’ for the Easter celebration. Perfect place for the event was Ukrainian Cultural Center (Ukraina Kultuurikeskus) in Tallinn, where our guests could not only see this place, find out interesting facts and workshops it has, but also feel the atmosphere of warmth and coziness, atmosphere of home, atmosphere of Ukraine.

In Ukrainian Cultural Centre we had an excursion lead by Italian volunteer who is doing his EVS in the center. We found out about the center’s work, its history, the calligraphy school and about making seed paper – it was truly fascinating. I also talked about the Ukrainian traditional clothes and about traditions of celebrating holidays.

Master-class for children of painting eggs, Ukrainian ‘pysanky’

Traditional food – famous ‘borsch’ and ‘vareniky’.

An important part of Ukrainian culture is music. As I play a violin, I performed “Melody” by famous Ukrainian composer Myroslav Skoryk, whereas Olga – also an EVS volunteer from Ukraine – accompanied me on piano.

One of the main goals of the event was not only to represent my home country but also organize a holiday for the mothers and children, to gather all together, to remember some funny moments we had and to show them the support they have! I am happy I had the opportunity to organize this event, it helped me to develop organizations skills, to share the knowledge I have, and to make our mothers and children feel that atmosphere of holiday and get positive emotions and impressions. I am glad all of them appreciated this time we had and we opened to each other again, from the new side.

I am grateful to EstYES for you believed in this project and for the support, you did from the first till the last step. Due to the support from EstYES we could have all needed materials to organize a master-class and to cook the traditional dinner for the big amount of people we had.
After the event many people called and wrote to me that they were happy to be the part of that day, this were the best feedbacks ever! Small things count 🙂 This is just the beginning.

Tetiana Novatska stays in Estonia for 9 months within the project ”Care to Make a Difference” which is funded by Erasmus+ European Voluntary Service program.

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