Youth Exchange „Volunteers in Action“
Project Date: 20-28.10.2019
Project Venue: Didim, Turkey
Project Organizer: JuBuK
Project Partners from 6 countries:
ASOCIATIA GEYC (Romania), YOUNG EFFECT (Italy), LUMEN (Croatia), MTÜ Lapsepõlve Akadeemia (Estonia), OBZORART (Bulgaria), SISTEM VE JENERASYON DERNEGI (Turkey)
Volunteerism has significant impact on life of the community. Volunteering boosts community happiness, strengthens the relationship between community members and support social cohesion in the communities. Even if there are many positive aspects of volunteerism there are many challenges to deal with including the issue of recognition of voluntary work, exploitation of volunteers, and lack of legal framework for individual volunteers and organizations providing voluntary opportunities. It means that it is essential to work on increasing quality of voluntary work at local, national and
Moreover, it is important to provide young people quality information on various voluntary opportunities, especially as volunteering programme under Erasmus + Programme changed. The European Commission has made a significant change that has resulted in an adjustment for Erasmus + youth volunteering, a whole new initiative dedicated to young people. After 20 years, well known European Voluntary Service (EVS) is not anymore part of the programme as it was replaced by volunteering projects and new initiative ‘European Solidarity Corps’ that provides young people an
opportunity to volunteer in their countries, as well.
Having in mind these changes, the importance of providing young people quality opportunities to volunteer the partners decided to prepare youth exchange „Volunteers in Action“ with main goals to promote volunteerism and voluntary work and increase the quality of voluntary activities in their communities and countries.
– to increase the participants knowledge on the importance of volunteerism and voluntary work
– to equip the participants by information on voluntary opportunities at local, national or international level with special attention to be paid to Europeans Solidarity Corps Programme;
– to encourage the participants to become volunteers and to contribute to development of their communities;
– to raise knowledge of young people coming from the participant’s countries on the importance of voluntary work by sharing stories and insights from the youth exchange by using social media channels (Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat);
– to raise knowledge of participating organizations on Erasmus + Programme and to support development of new projects.
Project Facebook Page: Facebook Page
Project Instagram: Insagram
Project Brochure: VIA_brochure
Project in the local media:
Feedback from the participants:
Sarah:In the end of October the Youth Exchange „Volunteers in Action“ took place in Didim with participants form Turkey, Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Germany, Italy and Romania.As the motto indicates already, the exchange was focused on voluntary work, its significance for communities and society as a whole, and last but not least, how one can engage in voluntary work.We as participants of the exchange learned about different voluntary opportunities either organized locally, nationwide, international or covering different sectors. Specifically, we were informed about the ESC, the Europeans Solidarity Corps Programme which is a volunteer service created by the European Union for young people offering work in projects in their home countries or abroad.Furthermore, we were offered different tools helping to gain a better understanding of the essence regading voluntary work. An example is the “empathizing map” which helps to put one into the position of people one wants to help, a way of changing perspectives. This tool is helpful in comprehending peoples needs, feeling and backgrounds better.Participants from each national group had to implement a workshop on a topic which was related to the EU and voluntary work. For example, the workshop “Interview”, where we paid attention on the important factors for a volunteer job interview.The task not only gave us the chance to dig deeper into the topics but also provided an opportunity to practice speaking to, coordinating and teaching a group.In addition to that, our trainer Alex gave us insight knowledge by sharing her own experiences as a coordinator for volunteers in the ESC program. She also gave us advise on how to encourage people for voluntary work as well as how to deescalate difficult situations that might occur.By the end of the week, prepared with a set of working tools we were able to develop our own idea of a volunteering project. This assignment was the perfect ending of the training sessions because we were able to create a project close to our heart.Although we spent the days with the training sessions to learn more about volunteer work, still we has some time to enjoy the beautiful beach side of Didim in our lunch breaks. We swam and dived in the Mediterranean, and spend time as a group.One highlight of the exchange was the boat trip. For one afternoon we hired a boat to travel to different spots to swim, dance, and relax on the deck of the boat. This unique experience was the perfect activity and helped us to bond as a group.I am very thankful that I had the chance to experience this Youth Exchange with great participants, our facilitator Alex, and the organizers behind the exchange Bledi and of course Natalia who made this project possible.
Once upon a time there was living 40 youth souls in different European countries, they didn’t knew each other, they have never met each other but they all did have one thing very important in common and that was the dream of making this world a better place for everyone, at the same time their was someone else or an organization who was searching for such young people with this wish and dreams and this organization was called JuBuK.
After a long period of hard working and searching JuBuK succeeded to organize a youth exchange and found finally this 40 young souls and brought them all in a very far but very beautiful, with a lovely sunny weather near to the beach a nice and small Cousy city called Didim, Turkey, and this youth exchange was called Volunteers in action, this 40 volunteers came on 20th of October and enjoyed their life, exchanged their ideas, their experiences about volunteering, made new planes for their futures, made new friendships, and stayed in Didim together with each other until 28th of October.
And now 2 days after finishing the project I’m sitting here in my city Berlin, Germany in the garden of university and trying to summarize the whole project, but it’s a hard task for me because this 9 days were so nice and so productive full of so many memories and happy moments that I could even write a book about it.
After arriving on 20th of October evening, we started our first activity of knowing each other and it toke about one hour, by finishing this activity some of us went sleeping because they were tired of travelling the whole day and some of us continued their small takes until very late night, my small talk continued somehow until 3 o’clock night or maybe more late, but since our conversation was so nice and interesting I didn’t recognized that I was awake until so late, it was so interesting talking with people so long, who u never met before and u know them just since some hours.
On the 1st day was everyone present on 9:30 o’clock sharp German punctuality. the first day and the nice activities of Alexandra (our very nice, cool, and patient trainer) helped us to know each other more, and more about our life our perspectives and about our objectives, fears, and expectations from this project and next 8 days, which we were going to spent together. The happy end of the first day was our first intercultural night, which was presented from Italy, Bulgaria and Croatia, that all nice and happy moments with lots of local drinks and foods of this countries gave us the energy and motivation for the next days.
The 2nd day was completely productive and hard working but still not boring because we did have everyday lunch the opportunity to go to the sunny beach of Didim and get some more energy and vitamins from sun and sea, the topics of this day were more about communication and active listening skills. We presented our NGOs and the last session of the day was talking about and introducing Youth pass, which was presented by our team Germany.
The sessions of the 3rd day were very different topics mostly about volunteering, mentoring. The rest of the week were easier, and the participants were more active, each team of different countries had the responsibility of leading one session, which they implemented them with very good, creative and new methods.
After our study visit to one of the local Volunteering NGO’s and the session of online campaign which was leaded from Bulgarian team everyone was excited for going more deep to the sea, and that was finally the afternoon for our boat trip, one of my best boat trips ever in my life because this time I was not just with some normal random people, I was with the most funny, happy 40 souls, which were here to learn more about volunteering, but now it was the fun part of the project, a trip with lots of fun, music, party, dancing, swimming to the deepest of the sea and sun.
During the boat trip some of us achieved new things in their life because they trusted their friends their and believed on themselves that they can do it for example: jumping for the first time into the sea from a high place and swimming for the first time deep inside the sea, and that was one my best memorial days in life.
Not just fun and volunteering, but we learned also more about Didim, we visited one of the oldest temples, Apollon-Temple which is since 7th century before Christus, and also the Hellenistic theatre which is from the time of Rome empire, everyone made lots of Instagram and Facebook photos as memories, after visiting the historical places everyone wanted to explore the city and buy gifts for their secret friends, which everyone did have during the project or for their families, friends etc.
And this night it was barbeque and live music time, in which we discovered some new singing talents, I still cant believe how talented, open minded and creative youth people they were, I’m so glad that I have met them in my life.
The last night was more emotional night, lots of hugs, loves, even tears from happiness, finding their secret friends and giving them gifts and memories, and unfortunately time to say goodbye and leave each other.
So we all know, that every start has also an end and that was the happy but also emotional end of us and also the end for the journey of 40 heroes, which was started in turkey but will continue in 6 different European countries and will bring hopefully changes in their communities, countries and world.