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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.

A special day in the Kindergarten – National Day of Spain

A special day in the Kindergarten – National Day of Spain

Eight months after arriving to Estonia I decided it was time for me to prepare a special day for everyone in my kindergarten, parents, children and even teachers and the best way to do it was teaching them about my culture.

In order to do so I prepared some activities during a special day, 12th of October, which is the National Day of Spain because right that date in 1492 the expedition of Columbus arrived to America.

The first activity was a display of a typical Andalusian dance, flamenco, which is very known worldwide. It was especially ironic that despite the fact being raised in Spain and growing up with it, I’m not a very good dancer specially when it comes to flamenco, but thanks to the help of the gymnastics teacher, Marjet, who was actually a great fan of flamenco dance, we practiced and danced together when we had time to make it as good as we could.

Then it was the turn of the kids to try! But of course, as I expected, the dance was not simple enough for them, so in the end most of them ended up just dancing in their own way trying to imitate us, but I still consider it a huge success, since I planned all of this as a way for them to learn a little bit of my culture meanwhile having fun, and I really saw that they had A LOT of fun!

Next activity was a short display of general culture about Spain: the flag, where is Spain on a map, the most iconic cities and monuments, etc. I didn’t want to make it too long because kids would get too bored very quickly, and as I said, the main idea about all of this is teaching them meanwhile having fun!

But the best was yet to come! As a reward for all the attention and kindness they showed during the activities, I played some funny cartoons (which they really enjoyed) made by Spanish people and prepared some toasts with Spanish pāté.

Finally, it was time for the teachers and parents to also enjoy some of the Spanish culture, and the best way for that is through the stomach! Thanks to my parents for sending me a packet full of typical Spanish food it was possible.

And that was all! I really want to thank EstYES for making this possible, without their help this wouldn’t have been possible.

Alejandro Manzano Ortiz stayed in Estonia for 12 months within the project “Boost the Mind III” which is funded by Erasmus+ European Voluntary Service program.

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