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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 Emma-Charlotte’s impression of Estonia

Emma-Charlotte is a 19-year-old from Germany, who works as a volunteer at Tallinn kindergarten Kullerkupu. She became a volunteer to dive into another culture and understand more. The thing she likes about volunteering is that she can share her culture and knowledge with other people. Emma also mentioned that voluntary work abroad makes her see her own culture with different perspective. She has been in Estonia for 7 months. EstYES did an interview with Emma about her impressions of Estonia.

 

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

Since I am a vegan (but here more vegetarian) I would like to present something vegetarian for my family. And I really like mannavaht as a desert. I am always happy if we have in kindergarten as a desert.

 

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

I am not so into celebrities and stuff, so I don’t know many celebrities, but I think a dinner with Tommy Cash would be super crazy. I really like his music and I guess with him you would talk about unusual stuff and it would be funny/crazy/unexpected.

 

What is your favourite word in Estonian and why?

I guess my favourite word is õde. Or at least it is in my mind right now. It sounds so soft and lovely. It reminds me of the German word Ode. In German Ode is a poetic song. It is to express your enthusiasm about something or to honour something. And whenever I hear the word õde I think about the German meaning and about my sister.

 

What do you like about Estonian nature?

Here is so much nature and people really care about it. I am impressed by that. I like how green everything is, at least right now after the wintertime and I am in love with the forest. And the fact that you don’t need to decide on forest or beach. That you can have both. Forest and beach super close together. It’s a good place to clear your mind and to escape from the city from time to time. In Germany I would never take a walk in the forest. Since I lived next to the biggest lake in Germany I would walk there or at other places, but not in the forest. Here I learned how nice a forest is and how good for you soul. Maybe I will change my opinion on German forests after this year.  I think the point I like the most about the nature here is: there is so much nature.

 

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

I would like to go to the lake Peipsi. I just saw the lake on the map, and it is so huge! Since I grew up next to a big lake I tend to search for water. I also would like to visit Setomaa, because I heard the culture there is really unique and different from other parts of the country.

 

What surprised you about Estonia?

When I came here, I was so surprised that all the stores are open on Sunday. Maybe it’s because of religion or just tradition, but in Germany you cannot go shopping on a Sunday. Everything is closed. I was super surprised to see that here. But I like it a lot. It will be difficult to be back in Germany without the possibility of going shopping on a Sunday or on the thousands of holidays my county has.

 

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

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