A call, which changed much

Article of a Volunteer ANO/ ZWD “Lastochki”/ ICYE Russia about the visiting of a seminar for the coordinators of EVS in Rustavi in February 2016

Sometimes in our lives there is only one call, which changes everything and exactly this happened to me, when Elena from the organization “Lastochki” called me and told me about the possibility to go to the seminar for representatives of volunteer organizations in Georgia. This was unexpected and spontaneous for me, because I had to go there already in a week.

The seminary “Discovering EVS world in Eastern Europe and Caucasus region” took place in Rustavi, Georgia from the 19th of February to the 25th of February 2016. The whole seminary was prepared from representatives of the volunteer organizations, which work with volunteers as sending and hosting organizations in Eastern Europe. At the seminary were representatives from the countries like Poland, Estonia, Ukraine, Belorussia, Moldavia,  Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece and of course Georgia and Russia. You might think, that I said above that this is a seminar for all countries from Eastern Europe, but there were also representatives of the western countries there. Why? -Because the most important goal of this seminar was to discuss the questions which are connected with the difficulties of the work of volunteer organizations in Eastern Europe. The discussion led to answers, which will later maybe help to solve problems, to gain experience and to find new ideas and partners. And it was also important in this case to hear the meanings and the experiences of the countries of Western Europe. Another goal was to discuss what it needs to prepare for volunteers, which come to these countries and about the direction, to which the Western countries have to prepare the volunteers, which travel and work in the East of Europe. The work in the Eastern countries is a little bit different, but we are working together and I think this seminar is good for the friendship and the connection between all these countries.

I was there as a representative of the Down Syndrome Association, one of the projects of “Lastochki” for volunteers from other countries. I am also since a few years Mentor for “Lastochki” and some of my volunteers work for this project and so I can tell them all the details about the project, the history, the working principles and also things about the people with whom I work in the kindergarten Nesabuka, which takes care of children with Down syndrome and helps their families. For me it was a great honor that I represented exactly this organization.

At the first day of the seminar we presented our organizations, talked about them and about our experiences with EVS. We united the presentation of “Lastochki” and the Down syndrome organization, because we thought that these two organizations already work 10 years hand in hand. We watched also the presentations of the other organizations and answered and asked many questions. The topics of the projects were various, for example the work with children and disabled persons or creative projects, but all projects were very interesting. I would like to say, that the most interesting thing was to get to know so many different people with various experiences from many countries. Somebody recently came to EVS, somebody is member of EVS since the beginning, but everybody of us was at this seminar, because he wants to work in this sector and wants to find and gain new ideas. As far as I know was every session effective and everybody of us can, I think, see a working process. This was very fascinating to know that all this stunningly and great people work in the volunteer sector.

The second day of the seminar was full with discussions about better practices in the organizations and realizing the projects. There were many interesting ideas.

At the third day we visited other volunteer organizations, which were located in Tiflis and Rustavi. We formed groups and visited them. After the visit I made myself a conclusion, which organizations and projects are the most interesting ones. At the following days we discussed our experience in the sector of problem solving and talked about new strategies of the effective embodiment in the projects of EVS.

All these seminars were very motivating and now I would like to organize my own project. Until now I wasn’t organizer of any projects, but after this seminar I understood, that I want to realize my own ideas.

I would like to say thank you again to Lastochki and the Down syndrome organization for this possibility!

I hope, my participation was useful for you and I could correspond to my role as much as possible.

Viktoria Golubewa