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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.

Volunteer Alyona’s impression of Estonia

Alyona is a 29-year-old from Russia, who is a volunteer at Food Bank in Tallinn. She decided to become a volunteer to try something new in life, to change the scenery and perspective, to live in another country and to be surrounded by international community. She likes volunteering because it’s the best way to feel independent, to learn about tolerance and loyalty, to empower and grow oneself. She has been in Estonia for 7 months. EstYES did an interview with Alyona about her impressions of Estonia.

 

What Estonian food would you like to introduce to your family?

I like Estonian cuisine because I’m a big fan of kartul like Estonians are. And for sure heeringa-kartulisalat is my favorite one. Also, I like kissell vahukoorega and kohukesed, which I offer to try everyone who comes to visit me here.

 

If you could have a dinner with one Estonian celebrity, who would it be?

I’m not that familiar with celebrities, not only Estonian but in general. But maybe I’d like to meet with the persons created e-Residency. This is one of the first things I have learnt about Estonia, which I think is a smart, generous and truly modern idea. Also, I would like to meet in person with the founder of Let’s Do It! Foundation who initiated World Cleanup Day.

 

What is your favourite word in Estonian and why?

I do not know a lot of Estonian words, but there are some words that sound like feminine names, which is a really surprising and interesting fact. For example: Alla — down, Anna (andma) — to give, Nina — nose, Olgu — very well, Lisa (lisama) — to add, Luba — authorization. I also heard about Inna and Katja but couldn’t prove it.

 

What do you like about Estonian nature?

I live in Tallinn and I’m in love with the sea. I could observe the movement of water forever, it keeps my mind calm. Every day I reminded myself how lucky and happy I am to live near the sea, even though the sea could be a reason for variable weather. I also love coniferous forests around. I grew up surrounded by pines and the northern type of forest reminded me about my childhood. The forest and the sea are truly my power places, so I am grateful that I have it here. Else, near my workplace there is a magpies (harakas) area. I think they are very beautiful birds. I’m a little bird-watching lover, so I am very pleased when I could see them.

 

Which place in Estonia would you like to visit and why?

I didn’t have a chance to visit Saaremaa or any other islands yet. I think it might be an interesting experience. Moreover, nature is quite different there, for example in Saaremaa there are high cliffs, which I guess is not that common for Estonian landscapes.

 

What surprised you about Estonia?

As I am from Russia and I’m familiar with Soviet history, also I did research about post-soviet era. So, what I found interesting in this case is how Estonia became developed (socio-culturally, economically and technologically) compared to other countries. This is really impressive.

 

The voluntary work service is funded by Archimedes Foundation Youth Agency in collaboration with European Solidarity Corps.

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