Elise and Mathys from France joined ESC voluntarism program in Ioannina, at our organisation, Youth Center of Epirus. The project was coordinated and supported by the organisation EurasiaNet, based in France.
Their main activities were to implement recreational and non-formal educational activities for asylum seeker children and teenagers, and to work on digital content creation on asylum seeker integration related themes and cultural heritage of the region of Epirus. Below, you can read some of their testimonies and see photos of their experience in Ioannina!
Hi! I’m Mathys, 19 years old, and I’m from La Rochelle in France. These 5 last months I had the chance to volunteer with the Youth Center of Epirus based in Ioannina. I already lived in another country for months but this stay clearly stepped out of the line and was above all my wishes.
I arrived in Greece in March under the snow and a pretty cold temperature but even with this I saw a lot of people outside in the streets, bars, and restaurants under some cozy plaids then I immediately felt comfortable in this city! Ioannina is a cute city, young and dynamic, even in the middle of the night!
For my part, the only thing that scared me a little bit before going there was the life in a shared flat but thanks to all the wondrous flatmates I had (special shout-out to Élise, my roommate who bore me for 5 months) it was only amazing times together. They were all supportive, the mood was the best I could imagine, and every time we had together was full of laughs, history telling, games, and basically good moments. Everything went so well that when I come back to France I’m gonna keep living in a colocation.
We also work with asylum seekers; we make activities with them, they are very nice, and our cultures are so different that we learn new things every day! The mood is really nice and I wish them all the best!
My content creation project for these months is a documentary I had the chance to imagine, realize, shoot, edit and publish with Élise! It is about the region of Epirus, through history from ancient Greece to modern times. We traveled a lot for doing this and it was the richest of all experiences!
This experience was enriching (for the very least I can say) also thanks to the Youth Center of Epirus, I really enjoyed working with them, from the activities with the asylum seekers to the documentary “The Other Greece” I realized with Élise. There is an amazing mood, always positive while still doing serious work.
I recommend this opportunity for sure to everybody who wants to step out of their comfort zone, discover new places, and new people, gain some experience, and travel!
Today is a special day for me, because I’m leaving Ioannina tomorrow. This city was my peaceful home for 6 month. During this time, I lived with 14 different people from France, Turkey and Spain: Mathys, Yigit, Can, Constance, Lisa, Nadjaha, Anaïs, Tom, Kaire, Romain, Madjida, Maewenn, Daniel and Gisela. Most of them are gone already and wrote some moving text about their experience here. I read them all again and go through the pictures together with a lot of emotions. I feel like I have nothing to add. They wrote how much this mission has brought us, both humanly and professionally. They also beautifully expressed our gratitude for these wonderful encounters. No word can better express this amazing experience.
I’m so grateful about the professional experience with the unaccompanied minors. I came here to practice non-formal education for asylum seeker teenagers in ages 12-17. Because of the difference of language and culture, it was very challenging in a good way, we had to constantly renew ourselves to adapt to them. They brought me as much as I felt I brought them. I have lots of joyful memories at the Facility, especially during the football days, my favorites!
I’m so grateful also about working with the YCE team. They really created an effective and pleasant working method and atmosphere. I feel so at ease with these people, both at the office and at the Facility. They always support us and listen to our feedback.
I’m really grateful for the people I met here, like my friend Chloë, and especially the other volunteers I used to live with. I will never forget the laughter and tears we shared. With them, I traveled to incredible places through Epirus. They also supported me in difficult moments, with a lot of patience and kindness.
A special thanks to my best fellow Mathys, with whom I realized an amazing project. Together we produced a documentary about the Epirus history, of which I am extremely proud. See you soon in France! I come back to France feeling like my mission is complete. And I know that the new volunteers will do an amazing job!
Can’t wait to see you again!
This project was co-funded by the European Commission.