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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.

Jakub’s Initiative Project: Polish Day

Jakub’s Initiative Project: Polish Day

I’m EVS volunteer living in Estonia since September 2016 and working in Viljandi Open Youth Centre (Viljandi Avatud Noortetuba). During last 9 months of working there it was very creative, satisfying and sometimes difficult and challenging. I learned a lot. During my project in Estonia I wanted to organise something new outside of the Youth Centre.

The idea of Polish Day came up very spontaneously. I met in one Viljandi cafe my friends who are working in Sakala Keskus and who were discussing about spring events in the city. Suddenly they asked me to organise “something polish”, because probably I am the only one polish living here and it can be very nice idea. Then discussion went further and after few days we had already a plan of all activities for one full day. We decided to make the event in Kondas Centre of Naive Art (Kondase Keskus), which is the cosiest and the most beautiful place to organise culture events in Viljandi.

The preparation for Polish Day started almost one month ago with promoting the event in social media, creating posters and collecting workshop materials. The last week before the event, was the hardest because some days I spent over 10 hours for preparations.

The Polish Day started at 3 P.M. with crazy game based on kahoot.it application and named “How can Poland surprise you?”. Emotions, competitiveness, learning by playing and a lot of laugh – those words describe that moment the best. The winner, of course, got the sweet prize! After that I introduced Poland. I talked about ethnic diversity and told some facts about my home region, which is slightly different from the rest of Poland (it can be compared to how Võru is different from the rest of Estonia). At 4 P.M. we watched a film “My Nikifor”. It’s about polish naive artist, who comes from southern Poland. It is not only boring biography, but also interesting view about friendship, society and tolerance. First part of Polish Day gathered around 25-30 people, including EVS volunteers, students from Tallinn and locals.

Part of the evening was mostly focused on workshops and Carpathian Feast. The workshop was about making toys from materials you find at home, like laundry clips and paper. The idea of it was based on polish TV entrepreneur Adam Słodowy. He was popular over 20-30 years ago in polish TV, teaching teenagers to do something new by their own. After the workshop, the participants were waiting for the finishing part. The Carpathian Feast means traditional south-polish meeting with table full of home-made food. I served only polish products – ham, sausages, cheese, butter. Moreover, I cooked “bigos” which is boiled cabbage with sausage, onion, tomatoes and spices. Also “barszcz z krokietami” (polish borsh with fried pancakes) were very popular. Especially polish borsh was interesting for Estonians because it looks absolutely different and is more spicy. The Carpathian Feast was held in very late evening around 10 PM, so we arranged candles for more home atmosphere in the garden of Kondase Keskus. The evening part gathered even more people, about 50.

The event, I hope, went very well and I heard many positive feedback afterwards. I am very proud that so many people came.

Jakub Zygmunt stays in Estonia for 12 months within the project ”Broadening Horizons II” which is funded by Erasmus+ European Voluntary Service program.

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