“Socially Engaged: Learn – Teach, Get – Give” is a European Solidarity Corps project which involved one volunteer from Poland – Katarzyna Pasternak.
Title: “Socially Engaged: Learn – Teach, Get – Give”
Preliminary date: 02/01/2020 – 31/12/2020 (12 months)
Project Code: 2019-2-PL01-ESC11-065949
Project Venues: Tallinn (NGO Youth Club Active), Tammispea Village (NGO Youth Centre Vihasoo), Estonia
This project involves one volunteer from Poland to come to the Estonian NGO Youth Club Active for an 11-month activity from 02/01/2020 to 01/12/2020. The long-term goal of this project is to provide the volunteer with an opportunity to learn and develop through working with children and youngsters in the youth organization, to have a direct contact with local ethnic minority community and a possibility to impact them directly. Youth Club Active gives the volunteer plenty of opportunities in participating and taking initiative in carrying out activities and, through implementing her ideas in work with children and youth, to develop herself and her skills for future life.
The objectives of this projects include:
- introducing the volunteer to the concept of non-formal learning through Solidarity Corps priorities;
- creating an appropriate timetable for her in accordance with her needs, expectations and skills;
- facilitating the process of self-assessment for both the volunteer and the youth;
- providing the participant with opportunities to develop a workshop routine to realize her admissions and aspirations, on a voluntary basis;
- promoting intercultural communication and diversity through involving the volunteer into life of a foreign country and its minority community;
- promoting tolerance, interculturality and equality;
- facilitating development of creative and communication skills, fostering intercultural learning, supporting mutual understanding between the volunteer and the youth of Estonia.
We intend this project to bring positive and stimulating influence on the volunteer herself, as well as on the youth she will be in contact with. We believe this project will facilitate personal growth of the volunteer, making her more independent and self-confident, ready to take initiative and bring her ideas to life. She will lead by her example and encourage local youth to become caring and active citizens of Europe.
This individual volunteering project involves one participant from Poland, Katarzyna Pasternak. We have previously met just via Skype and later accepted her according to motivation and wish. We aim to provide the volunteer opportunities to realize her own ideas and aspirations in action through working with the youth. Her main activities in our organization will include:
- Working with the youngsters and children in our NGO as well as our local partners (other NGOs and schools);
- Working in urban and suburban camps during school holidays;
- Teaching English/Polish language and leading events on introducing Polish culture to the local youth and anyone interested;
- Organizing and taking part in various projects, workshops, events, entertainment activities together with youngsters;
- Leading workshops on different topics, all developed by herself with help of NGO staff.
- Take initiative and realize own ideas in action (write own local project, organize event for children or other entertainment).
One day, just when I was thinking about what to do with my future, I received an email saying an organisation wants to contact me and I realized I had forgotten I created a European Solidarity Corps profile. Fast forward 4 months, I spent my New Year’s Eve in a hotel room just to be able to take an early plane from Wrocław to Tallinn on 1st January 2020.
I lived and worked with the Youth Club Active family. I was introduced to the concept of non-formal learning, had the opportunity to develop a workshop routine, I assisted English and arts teachers, I worked with children in a kindergarten and in summer camps for youngsters. I had the possibility to share and compare experiences and ideas with people from different cultures. I was faced with new topics in everyday life that included integration across ethnic and cultural differences, prejudices and cultural stereotypes of people living side by side in one country.
The most memorable experiences are those from the Vihasoo camp in a tiny village in a forest by the sea. I had the possibility to lead an art workshop during one camp period and I loved it.
I spent a year in a foreign country, far from anyone and anything I knew, I’d be lying if I told you there were no challenges or difficult moments. But those happen to everyone. Eventually, the positive experiences outweighed the negative ones. However, it’s impossible not to mention the biggest culprit of the year 2020 – covid-19. International projects – cancelled, on-arrival training moved from a spa hotel to Zoom, a carnival party – cancelled, Tallinn Music Week – cancelled (I had a ticket for the metal stage!), all the possibilities of meeting new people – cancelled. Social media took the lead, I even recorded a baking video but maintaining motivation was extremely difficult and I was considering going back to Poland. However, I decided to wait a bit and see if things get better by summer, and they did.
It’s impossible to describe the whole year. Every project is very individual, it’s once in a lifetime opportunity and I recommend it to everyone. And if you want to know more, don’t hesitate to ask me 🙂
I made a small video-presentation about my volunteering. Do watch it 🙂