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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 Quentin’s impression of Estonia

Quentin is a 21-year-old from France, who works as a volunteer at a centre for people with special needs in Tõrva. After he had done civic service in France, he decided to become a volunteer to help others. Quentin likes that by volunteering he learns about himself, lives in a foreign country and feels helpful to others. He has been in Estonia for 7 months. EstYES did an interview with him about his impression of Estonia.

 

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

I don’t know, to be honest, Estonia doesn’t have that much special or cultural recipe, or maybe I haven’t tried yet but it would be surprising. Perhaps I would try to prepare some borscht or something like this.

 

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

I think it would be with the music band Puuluup. I never heard that’s kind of style before, because they are using old Estonian music instruments, and the way it sounds it’s absolutely amazing. It would be really interesting I think.

 

What is your favourite word in Estonian and why?

“Kuulilennuteetunneliluuk” is a good one, because it is also a palindrome meaning that it is exactly the same read backwards! However, it isn’t really a word as such, it’s more of a compound word created by joining smaller words and means something like “hatch of a bullet pathway tunnel”.

 

What do you like about Estonian nature?

Everything. Estonia has really good landscape everywhere you go. Forest, lakes, bogs. Bogs! Before I came in Estonia, bogs were just some muddy places, here nobody could go. But I was wrong, bogs are so interesting. During my mid-term training, we went to frozen bogs, walking on frozen lakes with snowshoes, with in front of us a gorgeous sunset. That was a magic moment. In Saaremaa, an island on the north-west, we went with two co-workers, Pavel, my previous flatmate, for the first snow in November. The forest was covered by snow, everything was only white and bright. It was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. It was like on the TV show about nature I watched when I was young you know. But at this very moment it was just in front of me and my eyes.

 

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

I think it would be Narva, because I never been in this city. I look forward going there, but actually with the “lockdown” it’s kinda complicated. Otherwise I think I want to go everywhere I have not been yet, little hamlet, little town… I’m not a huge fan of the huge city with a lot of people everywhere.

 

What surprised you about Estonia?

A lot of things due to the change of scenery. I mean, people are really warm and in the same really distant from each other. It’s kinda complicated to explain. I like the way people don’t care about anything you know. I don’t want to generalize, but in France, a lot of people are judging every time, everyone. Here, it’s different, nobody will judge you, and I really, really appreciate that. I can focus myself more and the things I like to create without being judging by someone. Also, the landscape as I told you. I really didn’t expect that. I knew northern countries were really beautiful, but I didn’t know it would be that much. At last, I would say the language. It’s not that hard as it may seems. I don’t speak a really fluent Estonian yet, of course, but not because it’s hard, just because I’m kinda lazy, my bad. But at least I know how to communicate.

 

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

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