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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 Maria’s impression of Estonia

Maria is a 22-year-old from Ukraine, who works as a volunteer at Viljandi youth centre. After she finished university, Maria became a volunteer to do something completely different for her, to be in a different situation and to give herself time to think about future plans. She likes about volunteering that she does an interesting work with a helpful team and she can carry out her own ideas at the youth centre. Maria has been in Estonia for 7 months. EstYES did an interview with her about her impressions of Estonia.


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

Vana Tallinn ice cream! It is so good. Also, I brought some Kama for my mum when I went home for Christmas. I think she liked it.


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

I don’t know that many Estonian celebrities, but who impressed me the most are Winny Puhh. Once my co-worker told me about their Eurovision performance, I watched it, and they seem like those weird-fun guys. I liked how they in some way mocked Eurovision. I think it would be fun to hang out with them. That is not one person, but more people means more fun!


What’s your favourite word in Estonian and why?

Once on Instagram, I saw the word mõnus, which means cozy and comfy. Actually, I guess it is hard to translate this word into English. It is like the Estonian version of hygge. I really like this word.


What do you like about Estonian nature?

First of all, I like that nature is very accessible here. I live in Viljandi, it takes me around 3 minutes to go down to the lake and approximately the same amount of time to go to the forest. It is so easy to get to nature here! I also like that Estonians enjoy being in nature, and have all those trails in the bogs. I think here people have a really good connection, so to say, with nature. Also, Estonian forests are so green with all the different moss!


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

I already had a chance to visit some Estonian towns, I liked Pärnu most of all, with its seaside and cute colorful houses. I would like to visit more natural sites, like bogs and national parks. I still haven’t been to Soomaa national park. I hope that I will still be able to do this in the summer. And, of course, I want to visit the islands!


What surprised you about Estonia?

I would say people. Before coming here, I heard a lot about how reserved and introverted Estonians are. But most of the people I have met here are actually very open and talkative. So, let’s say, I got rid of one stereotype!


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

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