Dates: 2 February – 23 June 2020
Venue: Molfetta, Italy
Programme and action: European Solidarity Corps (ESC) – volunteering partnership
Please read the infopack.
Hosting organization: Scuola secondaria di II° Battisti-Ferraris.
Volunteers: Ivana Bendová
My volunteering project in Italy called „Take me in Europe“ took me to the south of Italy and showed me life in the city called Molfetta. This city became my new home for 5 months. Molfetta is located on the Adriatic coast and is located approximately 35 km from Bari ( 30 minutes by train). In general,this project included circa 18 volunteers taking the roles of several volunteering positions at office, municipality or at different schools. The majority of volunteers started in September. I came in February as a replacement for another volunteer. My project – assisting at the school took place in the nearby town of Bisceglie.
The aim of my school project was giving support during English classes at school for 10-13 years old students. I was attending this school together with another volunteer from Germany. We were preparing some interactive activities and assisting children with special needs who had adjusted study plan.
Usually the classes started at 8.15 and finished at 13.15 including Italian classes for me and the other volunteer. The italian classes were informal and sometimes we also went outside and I was learning vocabulary of the objects we have seen during our walk. I was surprised that between the lessons there is not always a break as I was used to have them in the Czech Republic. On Tuesdays afternoons extra school activities for kids took place, for example sewing bags or constructing miniature sailing boats.
Unfortunately, I did not spend a lot of time volunteering at school. I arrived in Italy in February 2020 just a few weeks before the COVID19 pandemic situation paralyzed entire Italy. Firstly, there was quarantine only in the north and there were no cases in the south so I didn’t believe it would affect us so much in Molfetta. But the situation was changing very fast. Schools get closed as a first place, everything else was working normally. We expected that in one week we will come back to the classes and many volunteers went also to their home countries to enjoy time with family etc. The Covid situation affected Italy and all the world and everyone had to stay home. “Io resto a casa” and/”I am staying at home” was new motto to motivate people for self distancing and home quarantine even before the lockdown was instructed by government.
During the quarantine I could not go out at all. It was emergency status and also I was not able to support school lessons because the online system for school was complicated in terms of accesses and probably it would not be anyway feasible since my Internet connection ( local SIM card) was very poor..
During this period I joined the initiative „Spesa solidale“ with which we helped with delivering groceries for people who should rather stay home, packing food boxes for people in need, assisting with sewing masks for poor people and volunteers, and cleaning beaches from garbage.
I have learnt more about myself, improved technical skills with online tools, interpersonal and entrepreneurial skills, explored creativity skills, learnt Italian language, recipes and finally discovered more about Italian culture. Thanks to the Tandem project I found a very good friend and I could practise Italian and discuss Italian and Czech culture and traditions.
After all, I am glad that I joined the EVS project, even though the timing was not under the best conditions.