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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.

Antonia Ebbertz and Kseniia Stoborod Initiative Project in Viljandi

Antonia Ebbertz and Kseniia Stoborod Initiative Project in Viljandi

In the following I will describe our initiative project, which included doing handicraft work with disabled people and took place in the last months of our voluntary service during July and August.

Our aims were to give the clients new tasks and possibilities to try out their skills and to create something by their own of which they could see the results in the end. That’s why we thought about the initiative project as a good oppurtunity to reach these aims.

First, we started to chose suitable handicrafts and decided for dreamcatchers, mobiles including felted balls and a garland. With the money we got from our organisation EstYes, we went to the store with some of our clients to buy all the nessecary materials. We started with felting and tried two different methods. One with water and soup and creating balls with layers of felt in different colors by using the hands and the other one with a needle. Most of the clients had fun doing this and after showing them and helping them a few times, they could to it pretty much on their own.
The dreamcatchers were more challenging to do but in the end, we were really satisfied with the results we got.

The plan was to sell all the handicraft stuff on the market in Viljandi during the song festival for disabled people. This did not work out as excepted and we did not sell anything of our items.
Instead, we presented all the handicraft work to Karula and Näituse Kodu, so that they could decorate their houses.

Despite the fact that we were not succesful in selling our items, I suppose we achieved our main goal – the clients felt themself useful for the community, they saw the results of their work and the most crucial thing ist, that they truly enjoyed the process. So our initiative project proves, that people with mental and physical disorders should and actually can learn how to create, how to be completely engaged with work, how to make a difference. It goes without saying; we had some efforts to explain our clients how they can contribute, to teach them and to lead the process. But without any doubts, we can say that their development worthed any complications and barries on our way.

Antonia Ebbertz and Kseniia Stoborod stayed in Estonia for 12 months within the project ”Care to Make a Difference II” which is funded by Erasmus+ European Voluntary Service program.

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