Photo by Blagica Gjorgijevska
Interview done by Tamara Miletic
The European Voluntary Service is one of several actions within the Youth in Action program, funded by the European Union, to increase the skills, experiences and overall participation of youth in community development projects. Since 2009, Mladiinfo is a sending and hosting organization giving the chance to many youngsters all over Europe to take part in this amazing experience of exploring the world and learning from different people and cultures. So far, we have hosted more than 15 volunteers coming from Slovakia, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Belgium, The Netherlands and Croatia who helped us to develop our activities and work, and we have sent abroad more than 35 Macedonians who wanted to expand their personal experiences, survive in a new environment and put their ideas into reality. Some of them are still in the midst of their EVS service, thus we asked them to share their impressions and to reflect on how volunteering has influenced their future perceptions of life, culture, work and vision of reality and their view of European societies.
Blagica Gjorgijevska and Ana Petrusevska are taking part in two different projects held in Italy and Slovakia. Blagica is volunteering in the NGO UILDM Sezione Laziale set in Rome, Italy, that takes care of about a thousand of users affected by neuromuscular and neurological diseases, whilst Ana is involved in the work of the ICM Krupina, Slovakia, a youth centre that provides information on different services and support to the local youth. Both projects, though different, have provided our volunteers with a life-changing experience!
1. What was your personal motivation to take part in EVS?
Blagica: I was always interested in international volunteering programs because I wanted to see how volunteerism works outside my native country. I was attracted by different people’s way of living and culture. I knew that taking part in a single EVS experience could be quite a challenge for me, especially because I haven’t travelled that much before, but I like challenges so I chose to make such a big step and test myself.
Ana: Taking part in EVS experience for me means getting a whole new experience within the educational field. My project is about working with kids and young people and so far I am very satisfied with my activities. Besides, I wanted to learn a new language and the most efficient way to do that is to live abroad.
2. What can you tell us about your volunteering experience? What exactly do you do in your hosting organisation?
Blagica: Since the beginning when I realized that my organization is helping people with muscular dystrophy, I felt great responsibility about my personal role and contribution to UILDM Lazio, which motivated me even more to take part in this experience. Within the structure of the organization everybody has a particular place and tasks to do, and they are doing it with dedication, consideration, positive energy and most importantly, with the support of EVS volunteers coming from different countries and cultures. As a volunteer I’m visiting disabled people at their homes and helping them complete their daily tasks or just fill their leisure time; I visit monuments and museums, go to the cinema or simply take a walk with them. Another aspect of my service is helping these people to build their very own autonomy; helping them in the processes of socialization and integration into Italian society and consequently making them feel free, to be without their parents or nurses.