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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.

Macedonian volunteer: „Going to Estonia – the best and biggest decision of my life“

Macedonian volunteer: „Going to Estonia – the best and biggest decision of my life“

„I wanted something different, to work with children and to be in a totally new environment. As a result of a brief research, I figured out that there is a possibility to be a volunteer and to put to good use my skills in most of the countries in Europe and the world.“

I’m Feysal Shabani from Gostivar, and I am 27 years old.

After graduating from university where I studied English language and American studies, I started working in a multilingual course as an English teacher. At first, it was interesting and everything was going good, but after some time, I realized that being only a teacher to people almost my age or even older than me was not exactly what I wanted. I wanted something different, to work with children and to be in a totally new environment. As a result of a brief research, I figured out that there is a possibility to be a volunteer and to put to good use my skills in most of the countries in Europe and the world.

My first choices were the countries where I had never been but always have had a desire to visit. Estonia was my first of 3 other choices because of its perfect nature, a never-heard-a-word-before language and the challenging weather conditions.

Luckily, the first organization contacting me was ‘our’ school. After a good interview with my tutor, I decided to go to Estonia. Of course the first thing I did was making a deeper research about the country, places to visit, language, cities etc.

As it was the first time I went there, it was a bit weird because of a completely new city and people, but it didn’t take long for me to adapt to this new culture. Avoiding the things that may make me feel sad, reading and trying to observe the local people as much as possible helped me to overcome the so called hard times.

The thing that surprised me the most about Estonians is that they are so punctual and they have a big respect to their traditions, national holidays and whichever kind of events. Another thing that I had to adapt to was the school’s system as it has a lot of differences from the schools in Macedonia. First of all, the Estonian educational system is much more developed than Macedonia’s one. For instance, the percentage of difference in knowledge of English language of the same generations compared to both countries is huge; children have more advantages in practicing the things that they are learning in theory as the government is investing more in education.

Being able to observe these topics helped me a lot in my personal development as I didn’t have a chance to eye another countries’ educational systems this much and helped me to see the things in a different way.

I’ve been doing presentations, participating to some English lessons, helping the children with their English homework or making daily conversations with them, assisting the teachers regarding their needs and taking care of the children in the schoolyard during breaks between.

As a conclusion, going to beautiful Estonia has been the best and biggest decision of my life so far. Spending a year in Tallinn has changed my mind to settle down in this city even after finishing my project.

Feysal Shabani stayed in Estonia for 10 months within the project “Boost the Mind II” which is funded by Erasmus+ European Voluntary Service program.

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