Our latest European Solidarity Corps project ended successfully!
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With the recent goodbye to the last volunteer, Eni, the Long Term Volunteering Project “Learners, Activists, Doers, Superheroes” (LADS) officially ended. Thanks to the European Solidarity Corps, we one more time, hosted in our partner organization Centro Social Paroquial (CSP) Vera Cruz, five youngsters willing to "be the change". This time, the volunteers were from Italy, Hungary, France and Lithuania.
The first ones arrived in March 2019 and stayed just till the beginning of the pandemics, during 12 months. The last one, that arrived in August, bravely helped this social institution, in the middle of the COVID-19 crisis, till the end of 2020.
We faced different challenges together, but all the volunteers agree that the time in Aveiro was a life changing experience for them. It didn't take them too much time to start feeling like locals, discover their favourite pastry shops, join different sports and cultural activities and make friends.
During the project, they had a chance to work with children, refugees and elderly people, to help those in need and give a hand in whatever was needed to be done in CSP Vera Cruz. While helping in their hosting institution and living abroad they got the chance to develop different skills and competences, such as improve their English, learn Portuguese, get a feeling of living in an intercultural environment, try out different hands-on activities, among others.
Here are a few testimonials from our volunteers:
This project made me discover that I like to work with elderly people and that I'm good at learning languages. Also, thanks to people I've met and experiences I've had I've found a university I'm interested in and I'm planning to attend in September. I've learnt much more about social and environmental issues and I feel more committed to taking action to find solutions for them. On a wider perspective, I think my life wouldn't be the same without this project: it has incredibly widened my perspective on the world.
This project had a big impact on me. In one year I became more open minded and way more flexible. I saw people from a different perspective and realised how similar we can be even with different living styles and background.
I'd say the biggest impact this project had on me can be explained by Agora Aveiro's catchphrase which goes "BE THE CHANGE". The reason why it still has a huge impact on me is that it's a simple sentence that you can say to yourself in various situations, and the major point is that the change can always depend on me, if I want to be a part of it. This is what I experienced the most during my ESC project.
Also, big thanks to our partners who collaborated on this project and supported the volunteers - the City Hall of Padova, Egyesek Youth Association from Budapest, Hungary, Actio Catholica Patria from Kaunas, Lithuania, and Club pour l'UNESCO Jean Laurain from Metz, France.