Maika and Clara from France joined a short term ESC voluntarism program in Ioannina, at our organisation, Youth Center of Epirus. The project was coordinated and supported by the organisation Pistes Solidaires, 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!
Ioannina is a place well served by trade, very lively, rich in history and surrounded by beautiful scenery. For the curious, Greece also has beautiful corners between sea and mountains.
My experience was very enriching on a personal and professional level. I chose this mission first because I am an educator and I wanted to evolve professionally. Moreover, I already had some experience with this public in France so I wanted to see how they were treated elsewhere. I put a lot of effort into my mission and I felt at ease right away despite the language barrier. I find our action very relevant from an educational point of view. The young people often volunteer to participate in the activities that we set up. These are beautiful moments of sharing and exchange.
This mission allowed me to realize that in France the accompaniment is very different. This made me think about things... In France, foreign minors are placed in child protection homes and are not followed up as much, they are sometimes left to their own devices. So it's great what this association proposes for these young people.
Sharing with other young Europeans is a very good idea. It makes you practice and learn languages and the different ways of life and culture of each other. At the beginning I had a hard time with the language barrier because my English is not so good. But as time goes by I learn and I understand. Thanks to the other volunteers I was also able to work on my Spanish.
My name is Clara, I’m 22 years old and I did one month of volunteering in Ioannina at the Youth Center of Epirus. I imagined a little video about the story of a young migrant girl who left her country because she wasn't safe there. With my knowledge, I explained the migrant process for young foreigners in France. This project was interesting because for future volunteers it’s gonna be nice to know the differences and the similarities in immigration support depending on the country. Also, I met asylum seeker unaccompanied minors and had the chance to do activities of non formal education with them at their accomodation facility.
I also discovered the city of Ioannina, it’s a little city in the middle of the mountains, and there is a little island very cute on the lake. I ate a lot of pita gyros, the traditional food in Greece, and I have also traveled a lot: Athens, Santorini, Lefkada, Parga, Sivota, Vikos, and Corfu. I did very great meetings, at the office of the association and also like my colocateers, and the atmosphere at the flat was very familial. I was also able to practice my English and learn just some Greek words because the language and the alphabet are difficult.
I have a lot of memories of my volunteering in Ioannina, it’s a very good experience and I recommend it! In the future, I would like to do a volunteering service, longer, because it’s an incredible social, personal, and professional life experience.
This project was co-funded by the European Commission.