Dates: 9 April 2019 – 9 April 2020
Venue: Arrouquelas, Rio Maior, Portugal
Programme and action: Erasmus+, KA1, European Voluntary Service – long-term
Please read the EVS infopack.
Hosting organization: A hosting organisation is H2O.
Volunteer: Martina Petráková
I participated in European solidarity corps from April until January in Portugal. During this time I was part of the H2O family. Main subjects of interest for H2O are social and environmental themes. This organization is located in a small beautiful village with nice nature and friendly people. There is also a group of local volunteers with whom we co-operated, organized some activities and made parties.
I lived in a big house with other ESC volunteers. Behind the house there is a big garden where we could grow our vegetables and breed chickens, sheep and goats. Part of our group was also a dog called Staky. I could try to live in a village and I need not to be in a big stressful city.
Work in the organization was very diverse. Our main job description was working with kids and people with different kinds and seriousnesses of disabilities. One of our responsibilities was working in an institute for people with mental and physical disabilities. Our duties there were to make and organize activities for clients, to spend some time with them, to play, dance or just speak with them and last but not least to give carers a helping hand. Our next task was helping in a special class for kids with autism. We worked in a kindergarten as well where we helped teachers, played with kids and prepared some activities for them.
During summer holidays job descriptions were a little different. We controlled on a observation tower if somewhere a fire was not starting. In the summer fires mean big problems for Portugal. We took care of a fountain as well, this fountain was built by volunteers and represents for local people a calm and peaceful place for relaxation or hanging around with friends. H2O arranges also after-school childcare and of course we took part in this activity. During the project we had free hands for our projects and ideas and we could focus on a field which suits us and which we like more.
Thanks to European solidarity corps I have a lot of new knowledges, interesting experiences and friends. I learnt how to communicate with disabled people and how to treat them. I developed my communication skills. I learnt lots of new things about different countries and cultures. I learnt to be more self-reliant, to work in an intercultural team and to live abroad and adapt to different culture. Also I had time to travel and discover Portugal. EDS is a great opportunity for everyone who wants to try to live in a different country, who wants to meet new people, who needs change in their life, who wants to improve language skills or learn new languages, who wants to have a better CV or who wants to improve soft skills. I recommend this experience to everyone. This was my biggest experience so far and I will not forget it for the rest of my life.