Tales from the volunteers

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The 8th episode of our comic book ”Empowered From Within” is out!
Discover Alice’s testimony about her Leonardo Da Vinci Mobility project in Italy:

Project supported by ECORYS UK and the Lifelong Learning programme (Now Erasmus+) of the European Union.

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Testimony from Alice about her Leonardo Da Vinci Mobility project in Italy:

 

“The weather is becoming much colder here. I am seeing a different side of Italy now that it is winter. People tend to go out less in winter so the town seems to be a lot quieter.

 

Anffas has started to prepare for Christmas. Lots of beautiful decorations are being put up everywhere, and there is a big Christmas festival this Sunday. The families of the disabled people will come, along with some other people, and we will eat lunch together. I am looking forward to this because Christmas is my favourite time of the year. Also I think it will be nice to meet some of the families because I think it could help me to be more understanding in the future when I am working with the disabled people.

 

Recently I have felt like I have got to know some of the disabled people a lot more. This is partly due to the fact that I have been here a longer time, but also because now I can have a very basic conversation in Italian. It’s easier to get to know someone when you can understand what they are saying. Speaking and understanding more Italian has made me feel more confident both at work and also outside of work in my free time.

 

One weekend I went to a service in the local town, known as ‘Sacra Cuore’, with some people from anffas (workers and disabled people). Apparently the purpose of the service is to bless the tractors, to bring them good luck for the harvest, although I’m not one hundred percent sure about this. The day started with a religious service in a church. After, we all went outside and watched the blessing of the tractors. The congregation said a short prayer and holy water was thrown on the tractors as they drove past. I found this quite interesting to watch however it was also a bit strange. The disabled people seemed to be having a good time though, which is what matters. The rest of the day consisted of us all eating together with people from the local community. The dinner lasted for five hours! There were many different courses of all different kinds of food. It was nice to have the opportunity to sample the many foods of Italy, and also it was free!

 

Since my last report I have visited many beautiful places in Italy with my friends, including some very cute Italian villages and some big country parks. I went to one of the zoos nearby with a friend, which was a very interesting experience. I am enjoying having the opportunity to see different places in Italy and it is nice to get out and do things when I am not working.”

 

Alice Hinchliffe, Leonardo Da Vinci Mobility trainee.

 

 

 

Leonardo Da Vinci Mobility project

part of Empowered From Within

and supported by ECORYS UK

and the Lifelong Learning Programme of the European Commission (Now replaced by Erasmus+ )

 

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singing at anffas

I’m almost half way through my project now and I’m still really enjoying the experience. It’s nice getting to know the disabled people as I spend more time here. It’s difficult to know everything about every disabled person because there are a lot of people at ANFFAS, but every disabled person has their own unique characteristics and personality.

I’m no longer in my training period and am starting to feel more confident now at work. Also, I go to school twice a week so my Italian is slowly improving, and I am now able to understand a lot more when people speak to me in Italian. I have started to work some evening shifts and some morning shifts. I prefer doing this because it mixes my week up a bit and also I can sleep for longer when I am working in the evening. Morning shifts are good because I finish work at half past one and then I have the rest of the day free. Evening shifts are good because I can sleep for longer and go to work later.

Recently ANFFAS had a party for the residents on a Saturday evening with a live band, and all the volunteers were invited. We danced and ate nice food and all the volunteers even got up and sang a song with the band. Seeing all the disabled people listening to the music, dancing and enjoying themselves put a smile on my face. It was really nice to see them all having a good time, smiling and laughing.

Also, the volunteers from Anffas, including myself, have visited a local school a number of times recently to talk about volunteering in europe. We went into different classes with teenagers aged between 15 and 18 and spoke about who we are, what we do at anffas and why we chose to come here, amongst other questions. This was a good experience for me because not only did I get the chance to explain to others about volunteering, I also got the chance to ask the students about themselves and their lives in Italy. It helped me understand the culture here more.

This month has been good and I feel that I am maybe starting to settle in a bit more. Both workers and disabled people are getting to know me better and I’m getting used to working at anffas.

 

Leonardo Da Vinci Mobility project

part of Empowered From Within

and supported by ECORYS UK

and the Lifelong Learning Programme of the European Commission.

 

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P1000130

I arrived in Pordenone, Italy, on the 20th August. I’ve been here for a month now and I’m really enjoying the experience so far.

At the moment I’m still in my induction period, working from 7am to 1.30pm. In the mornings I help the workers get the disabled people out of bed and tend to the personal hygiene of the disabled people. At around 9.30am I participate in one of the morning activities, such as taking the disabled people to the park, or working in one of the many craft rooms making things such as pottery or wicker baskets. At lunch time I help feed the disabled people along with the other workers, and after that I help the workers put the disabled people to bed for a nap, which is called a ‘riposo’ in Italian. Working with the disabled people is a great experience and I find it very enjoyable. They are all very loving and appear to be happy and content most of the time. I think ANFFAS is an amazing place because not only are the disabled people cared for, they are also kept very busy and are entertained throughout the day.

At ANFFAS, the workers are very friendly and will go out of their way to help me and make sure I am okay. At times, communication is difficult, but since arriving in Italy, I already feel like my understanding of the Italian language has improved. I’m also due to start attending Italian language lessons at the school at the end of the month which will hopefully help support my learning.

 

Alice and Jara

Alice met our ‘Green Message’ participant, Jara

I’m currently sharing the flat with two other volunteers, a French girl and a Danish girl. They are roughly the same age as me and both very friendly, which is great! Another volunteer, a French boy, is due to arrive next month. I am looking forward to meeting him because I love meeting new people! The flat itself is very nice and quite big, as well as being in a great location to get to work and into the centre of Pordenone.  Also, I’ve made lots of new Italian friends who are very sociable, which has helped me settle into my new home. I’m always busy here, either going for coffee with friends after work or to the beach at the weekend.

I have learnt so much already and I have only been here for one month out of my six month Leonardo da Vinci project! I am having an amazing time and I hope the next five months are just as good!

 

 

Leonardo Da Vinci Mobility project

part of Empowered From Within

and supported by ECORYS UK

and the Lifelong Learning Programme of the European Commission.

 

NEW ECORYS bq

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