Dates: 1. 9. 2017 – 28. 2. 2018
Venue: Limassol, Cyprus
Programme, action: Erasmus+, KA1, European Voluntary Service – long-term
Volunteer profile: 20-30 years old, with pleasant personalities, energetic, able to communicate and understand young people (especially those facing fewer opportunities). They will also be capable to learn and understand new things (theory, skills etc) and handle computers as well as social media.
Hosting organisation: KEY- Innovation in Culture Education and Youth
Hello everybody! I would like to share with you my experience of European Voluntary Service that I participated from September 2017 to March 2018. The project was called GIVE and took place in city Limassol, located on the south coast of Cyprus. I worked for a non-profit organization called KEY – Innovation in Culture, Education, and Youth. Our international working team consisted of four volunteers – from Czech Republic, Italy, Spain, and France. Within six months, we were flatmates, colleagues, and what more we became real friends. Our two main objectives were to work with young people – Cypriots and foreigners as well, and to work in the charity sector. From Monday to Thursday we started our daily program early in the morning by working at a charity grocery store. We finished after lunch and in the afternoon we spent time at KEY’s office to arrange many things. We organized cultural events, different kinds of workshops, trips around the island, and other activities. We tried to help Mother Nature and spent a few days cleaning up one of Limassol’s most beautiful beaches and forests. We collected hundreds of pounds of trash and we were so happy that so many dedicated volunteers came out to help us. Once a month, we walked the shelter dogs to teach them how to respond to their caretakers and their environment and also increase that dog’s chances of finding a lifelong home. These all things we did in order to connect young people to the local community, be active and together do good deeds.
Very important part of my EVS was something I had not expected before. In December we were asked to help with organizing New Year’s Eve Party at the refugee camp. A voluntary job with refugees was not part of my EVS agreement but I decided to help them and do not regret it. Since January I regularly went to the camp twice a week and helped with the distribution of clothes and hygienic products, played with children, taught them English and sometimes just talked to them and shared good moments. It was a life-changing experience. It took me out of my bubble and gave me the opportunity to understand real issues faced by people, people like you and me, people who have similar dreams and ambitions.
In the end, I worked about 40 hours per week, but the truth is that a lot of activities I did on my own initiative. My hosting organization provided me a great background so I could also make a personal project. With my Spanish colleague Xira, who was passionate about writing and storytelling as me, together we collected stories of Limassol’s population and then published them on the blog page: https://unlockingdreamsoflimassol.wordpress.com/.
During our stay, we attended two training courses that took place in Nicosia. We met there new people, largely other volunteers from all parts of Cyprus, and together we discovered a complicated history of the last divided capital of the world.
I would like to recommend EVS for everyone who thinks about traveling abroad. It is a unique opportunity to acquire many skills. In my case: computer graphics, photography, time management, social awareness and emotional intelligence. I have improved my English, interpersonal skills and self-learning ability and moreover, I found true friends.
Many thanks to my sending and hosting organization. It was an amazing time!