The ESC voluntarism activity was carried out by the AMKE YC Epirus from July 2022 until August 2023, in Ioannina. Participants helped to run the youth center, offer daily activities to young adults, plan and manage small-scale events, assist the work on large-scale events, and work on online content creation on social themes addressed to local young adults. They worked in teams together with a local youth worker and local volunteers.
This activity also promoted and explored digital literacy and critical digital research, boosted various digital skills of the participants, as well as engaged with the local young adults through digital means. Non-formal learning was another main component of this activity - not only participants learned activity-related competences through non-formal training and by informal ways, but also the local young adults received various daily opportunities to join non-formal education activities.
On daily basis, participants were mainly involved with the support and management of the youth center our organization hosts in Ioannina city center. The youth center is open to public every working day from 9 am until afternoon or even very late evening, depending on the season and planned activities or events. Specific tasks would include receiving of local young adults to our activities, management of the activities (planification, practical support, communication with volunteers and attendees, etc), informing local young adults about their opportunities within our organisation locally and internationally, offering weekly or monthly workshops/activities to local youth (depending on specific skills and interests of the volunteer, the activity could be cultural-language activity, seminars of crafts or art, music workshops, seminars or activities about youth social issues such as human rights, migration themes, pressing environment issues, xenophobia, LGBTQ+ themes or many others); participating in local volunteer teams that work on large scale event planning, preparation and leading such as music festivals; planning, preparing and leading small scale events related to annual celebration or awareness days or other themes of youth interest; planning, preparing and leading small scale youth cultural and intercultural events; assisting any type of events of our organisation, and finally, management of our organisations Youth department social media.
2 young adults participated directly in this project and carried out activities, offering their voluntary contribution on daily basis and helping the organization to reach the project’s aims and objectives. The participants were coming from 2 countries – Italy and Jordan, staying in Ioannina and volunteering within the scope of the project for periods of 2 to 7 months. They were 22 to 28 years old, coming from diverse backgrounds and bringing various skills and new ideas to our organization.
The activities that took place mainly took place in the offices of the Youth Center of Epirus. The volunteers worked as a team on a daily basis in order to carry out their initiatives, events and digital content. It is worth mentioning that one of the volunteers started a podcast channel in Spotify focused on disseminating the experiences of the European Solidarity Corps volunteers. In addition, he carried out a personal project focusing on the Vlachs, an ethnic group native to the southern Balkans, and also present in the Epirus region.
In relation to Spotify, a playlist of music containing a meaningful social message was also created. On a weekly basis, volunteers searched for songs in different languages that conveyed ideas about current social issues of great relevance, such as migration.
Another content created during the project was a video, which is available on our Youtube channel, about musicians from Epirus. They had the great opportunity to interview three well-known local singers who shared with them their passion for music and some relevant aspects of their musical career.
In relation to the events, the volunteers planned, organised and facilitated various small-scale events that could be of interest to the youth living in Ioannina. Some of them were introduction to the Arabic language, advice on how to lead a healthier life, collection of clothes for vulnerable groups, movie and pizza evening, among others.
The sum of the digital content created, aimed to make the present rich culture of Ioannina visible and to spread the cultural heritage of Epirus through new communication channels. You can access all created content within this project on the page Stories of Epirus People" or "Ἀπειρωτᾶν on our website (see collections 2023).
Andrea from Italy writes: “If I think about it, I realize that I’ve lived a lot of different experiences in this city, in Greece. But at the same time, I feel like it’s been so quick, and I still have so many things to do. Everybody has been very kind, patient, and open to me. I am leaving with a huge sense of gratitude, because I’ve felt very loved.”
Bahaa from Jordan says: “I want to start by saying how much I admire the office and the amazing team I had the pleasure of working with. We had a great time going out for coffee, enjoying delicious pastries, organizing events, managing social media, and having interesting and fun conversations. It brought me so much joy. The office staff was incredibly kind and supportive. Whenever I needed help, they were always there for me and did everything they could. I am really grateful to everyone in the office for making this experience so wonderful, and I want to thank them from the bottom of my heart for allowing me to work with them. Living with the other volunteers in our shared apartment was also amazing. I couldn't have asked for better companions. We all loved trying out different foods, so we often went to restaurants and ice cream shops together. We also cooked various dishes, although I must admit I wasn't the best chef. ”
You can read full articles about the experience of all volunteers within this project in the section International Volunteers.
The project was financially supported by the European Commission, and supported by the Youth and Lifelong Learning Foundation (I.NE.DI.VI.M.).
This project was co-funded by the European solidarity corps program of the European Commission.