Tales from the volunteers

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

We’re in the Italian news

We’re in the Italian news!
Congratulations to the Bradford College students who just finished their Erasmus Plus funded VET project at Feelsound in Pesaro 🇮🇹!

🚀Find out more about our training projects abroad: https://bit.ly/infosessionEP

Climb Higher project co-funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union – The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

I am 29 years old (30 in March) and I am from the Republic Of Ireland. 

My time with ENIL has come to an end. I was the ESC volunteer from June to December 2021. It was an eye opening and exciting experience. I got the opportunity to support the organisation of events such as ENIL’s “Freedom Surf” in September. I was also given the chance to interact with the UNCRPD secretariat, acting as a note taker during consultations. This gave me good knowledge of how the UNCRPD secretariat and its committee operated.

I was able to attend NUIG’s online summer school on article 30 (right to culture) of the UNCRPD and I got to try my hand at summarizing and writing commentaries based on EU policy documents such as the new European Disability Strategy (2021-2030). Along with other tasks.

I believe my experience gained will help me professionally in the future, as it enabled me to expand my skill set, such as report drafting, and transcribing audio files. I also drafted and published a petition demanding an end to institutionalization in Europe, which so far has reached almost 1,000 people.

However, the most important experience I got from Brussels, was the opportunity to avail of a personal assistance. Hired for me by ENIL. Luz – my PA was helpful and supportive and without their aid I would have found Brussels a lot more difficult, in terms of navigation, accessing transport, cooking, shopping etc. It enabled me to focus more on the work for ENIL and enabled me to truly live independently, something, that all disabled people should have the right to.  I got to explore Waterloo, along with Leuven and a day trip to Amsterdam to visit my sister who is currently living there and parts of the Brussels inner-city.  Hopefully one day we can live in a world where one day this will be the standard for everyone.

Due to COVID I did not get to go into the European Parliament to network with MEPs on behalf of ENIL, however I did get to represent ENIL on a workcation in Italy, which was definitely a highlight of my trip, going in late September till early October. Surrounded by lovely food and meeting new interesting people was a great experience.

I was a little devastated to learn of the EU’s attitude towards disability, and its apparent apathy towards ending institutionalization. There’s a long way to go, in terms of disability emancipation across Europe and beyond, but I think I now have a better understanding of how the EU acts (and doesn’t act) towards disabled people and how it treats organizations like ENIL.

Its just left for me to thank my supervisor Ines Bulic, my colleagues Kamil Goungor, Natasa Kokic, Stanislas Roisin, Michael Goosens, Nadia Hadad and of course last but not least Luz, for enabling me and supporting me to having new experiences that will hopefully lead to exciting new horizons in the near future.

I would also like to thank my sending organization from the UK “Everything Is Possible” for aiding me in going to Brussels along with the JINT funding theme for funding the ESC internship.

Project organised by Everything is Possible and funded by the European Solidarity Corps programme of the European Union – The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Project part of Discovering More, organised by Everything is Possible.
Project co-funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union – The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

In this video, Erin tells about the activities she undertook as part of her Vocational Eductional Training kayaking project in Aruba as well as the impact that this Erasmus+ project had on her life.

Project part of Discovering More, organised by Everything is Possible.
Project co-funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union – The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Hi my name is Sam, I’m 18 and I worked at the cat sanctuary in Malta.

During the week, we would arrive at the sanctuary and begin by picking up the empty food bowls from the previous day. We then would proceed with cleaning which involves wiping down surfaces, changing bedding, poo picking and changing the waters. Once a week I would go to the vet and help out with the cats there.

My favourite free time activity was definitely swimming as the water sea is incredibly warm, and clear enough to see all the different fish species.

Thanks to Erasmus+, professionally I learned how to safely take a blood sample from a cat for testing.

Personally, this project has helped with my confidence and shown that I shouldn’t be afraid when it comes to moving away from home or working in a new environment.

Sam Pilot

Project part of Discovering More, organised by Everything is Possible.
Project co-funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union – The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Hi, my name is Martyna Slomczynska.

I went on a Mediterranean Marine Park project in Malta. During my project the activities consisted of preparing pellets, fresh fruit and vegetables with additional treats for the Macows, Amazon’s, Loris and small bird species. The day continues with cleaning the enclosures and preparing the stage for the morning and afternoon parrot presentations. My favourite part of the activities is the training session after the presentations and the interaction with Baggies and Coctials species during the bird feeding programme. 

My favourite free time activity was the trip to the silent city, located in Midina. The architecture of the city and the views are worth the travel, with additional treat of most famous cakes on the Island. 

Thanks to Erasmus+, professionally I have learned how to care for Macows during nesting periods and understand the animals body language during handling activity.

Personally, I believe this projected had provided me with the opportunity to develop my confidence and work with incredible individuals from different nationalities. 

Project part of Discovering More, organised by Everything is Possible.
Project co-funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union – The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

My name is Alex Wilford, I am 27 years old and live in Huddersfield. Through Everything is Possible, I am currently undertaking a project at a bear refuge in Croatia. The Kuterevo bear refuge project provides A safe haven for brown bears (Ursus arctos) that have been injured in the wild, mistreated in captivity and for cubs who have been separated from their mother.

Currently the Kuterevo bear project has 9 brown bears (ranging from 1.5 – 41 years old) who are taken care of by the multiple volunteers. Alongside caring for the bears, this project aims to educate the public about the importance of brown bears and the coexistence of bears and humans.

There are multiple activities that I have undertaken whilst being at the project. The main task I am involved with is feeding and taking care of the animals. After the first week, I was given the privilege to take care of all the animals around the site. The animals include 9 brown bears, 9 Vietnamese pot-bellied pigs, a handful of chickens and chicks and 2 geese. Alongside feeding them, I have also been tasked with keeping a record of the animal’s behaviours, health and what they have been fed.

The other main activity is to meet and greet the visitors that visit the refuge. Here we explain to the visitors about the project, providing them with information on the bears and directing them where to go.

Alongside these two main activities, there are random activities that occur. Activities such as creating ice creams (ice blocks willed with left over fruits) for the bears, foraging for plants and herbs in the fields to use as medicines, oils and for cooking. We also moved around 72 hay bales from a field to a near by stable, lots of gardening and more.

During free time in the evening, myself and the other volunteers would go to the local par to socialise and play card games. On my days off I would relax on site, listen to music and even research about brown bears and the local wildlife.

During my project, I have learnt a lot. I have improved my knowledge on brown bears, their habitat, and human-animal interaction with bears. Alongside bears, I have also learnt how to identify some species of flora and their uses.

Being here alongside amazing volunteers has allowed me to learn how to prepare a range of vegetarian meals, using locally produced products. It also took a while, but with the help from the volunteers and my mentor, I managed to learn a few Croatian words and phrases.

Working with the bears at Kuterevo has furthermore improved my passion for wanting to work with animals, alongside working with animals, this project has also opened my eyes to conservation work in the future.

__________________________

Project organised by Everything is Possible and co-funded by the European Solidarity Corps programme of the European Union. The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Hi My name is Kyle Render and I am 19 Years old I am from Huddersfield in Yorkshire!

I did a project in Martinique for two weeks whilst studying at college, this was a great opportunity for me and I took this and went away with college for 2 weeks and I went out to bring my coaching knowledge out with me and teach children from different ages, my main sport was Rugby league however I also helped with other sports including Gymnastics!

Along side this I also had the opportunity to have visitors come around to out Accommodation which we stayed in for 2 Weeks! And that was great because I was able to learn the different culture but also alongside this I was able to explain about our English Culture.

With all the coaching there was great opportunity for free time and Wow was it great been able to go and do a lot of different activities now there is a lot so I will just pick out my main ones which I thought was my favourite ones the first one was having the opportunity to be able to join in with water sports and been able to be taught by professional coaches before going to Martinique water sports wasn’t something I ever thought about getting involved in but after having the experience this gave me a lot of confidence and showed me how enjoyable it was and boosted my confidence to do it and this is something I would definitely do again and something I would recommend.

The second one was been able to go and enjoy a day on the beach, this was great because it meant we had a day to chill out and enjoy the beach! And lastly was the opportunity to be able to walk around the town! This was something which I wouldn’t of done before coming but been able to walk around was great to see the different towns and the shops and was great been able to take a lot of photos to keep as memories.

The main things that I learnt when been over in Martinique was a great understanding about water sports and the different types of water sports and also the different names for the equipment that is needed for the sport. Also been able to meet and greet different people of all ages which spoke a different language was great because this gave me more confidence to be able to speak to people who don’t speak the same language as myself. The things that I have learnt personally would be the confidence to coach before coming to Martinique I had just qualified for my Level 1 Rugby league coaching qualification but after having thus experience this then helped me to want to progress onto the next level, and this has also helped me boost my confidence to change my coaching ways to help people understand.

Another thing wouldn’t be adapting difference from England to Martinique because from visiting the supermarket it was a lot different with the types of food that they sell in there supermarkets so we had to not only adapt when making a meal for the rest of our class but also had to make sure we checked it was the right product before buying.

This project has helped me a lot because I has opened up more doors for me after this project I went home and had a hard think and I applied for a sport coach position and I got the job and from this project this help me to do this because the employer was amazed with the project I went on along side this I have also been looking into traveling to different countries to go over and coach Rugby league. Cannot thank more Everything is Possible and Erasmus+ for giving me the opportunity to be able to do this project this has really helped me a lot with progressing within coaching.

 

 DM Banner EP

Project co-funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union – The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

My name is Thomas Gledhill, 18 years old and I live in Huddersfield.

I was invited to Valencia with my college, whilst studying a Btec level 3 – studying Sports Development and Coaching. During the two weeks I spent in Valencia the professional activities I engaged in involved coaching and working within a professional academy. My role included delivering sessions for children within local football teams and clubs. We also got the opportunity to attend a football match at Valencia against Arsenal.

During free time we visited the beach and spent time observing academy teams play against each other, this gave me a feel of how match days run in a working and professional environment. We also saw the differences within the coaches on a match day compared to a training day. Myself and my team took part in a paella evening where we learnt about the culture of Spain and understood differences of the Spanish life compared to English life. Free time allowed myself and my friends to be independent, we explored Valencia and learnt about the differences when travelling and tacking public transport.

During my two weeks working with SPF I learnt how professional academies balance their work and free time in order to be successful on match days. Working with the coaches showed me how behavior differed depending on the environment, session and players. I learnt that I am confident when delivering sessions for people I haven’t engaged with before. I adapted my teaching styles as I adapted to the new environment abroad, the language barrier was difficult. However, I showed resilience and developed ways to overcome this obstacle.

My experience with SPF has overall increased my confidence, it has also made me more resilient as a person. I have been fortunate to be offered a Five month coaching role back at SPF in Valencia. The project I participated in through college made this opportunity possible. Living with people from college for two weeks and building on my independence has helped me prepare for my next adventure where I will be without my family for a longer period of time.
My recent trip to Valencia has prepared me for this exciting journey ahead. Additionally, picking up on some Spanish has taught me a new skill which will be extremely useful in the future, particularly when I start my new adventure in Valencia as an 18 year old boy who will be living a completely different life compared to life in England.

I am extremely thankful for the opportunity with SPF through Everything is Possible and Kirklees College. I am more than happy with my own development and impressed with myself for being approached and asked to work in Valencia for five months. I am excited to start my new journey and continue to develop and grow as an individual, continue to learn Spanish and make a difference for children and young people through the love of football.

 

DM Banner EP

Project co-funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union – The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

My name is Jack Scholes, I am 19 years old from Huddersfield. I recently undertook a project with Everything is Possible in Aruba living independently and working on De Palm Island, a resort for tourists and locals, as a lifeguard. I spent four months in Aruba from the end of November 2019 until the end of March 2020.

Throughout my time working at De Palm Island I took on many different roles in the job. Our main duty as lifeguards is to ensure the safety of everybody on the island and help anybody in need in the event of an incident. As well as keeping everyone safe, we had to make sure people were comfortable, relaxed and having fun. This meant we had to operate the slides, hand out snorkelling equipment, guide snorkel tours, help on the banana boat and man the children’s waterpark, which often meant being involved in water fights! As well as those duties, we had to stay behind in the evenings in order to clean and prep the island ready for the next day, picking up litter and cleaning all the equipment daily.

Each day the island would accommodate anywhere between 200-600 guests which would mean we would have the opportunity to interact with people from all different countries and cultures from around the world. Being able to speak to this many people allowed me to develop my confidence, especially in a professional setting. When taking people out for snorkelling tours and helping them on the banana boat you would often have to explain something to large groups of people which is something I wasn’t comfortable doing before I did the project but that along with a lot of other things got easier the more I did them.

Besides working on De Palm Island, I also had free time outside of work every day and 2 full days off per week. This meant I had loads of time to go out with friends, visit beaches, snorkel, go off-roading and generally explore the island. We met so many people in Aruba, the locals were all extremely friendly and made it feel like home from the minute we landed at the airport. I enjoyed all the culture Aruba had to offer including history and culture events and carnival, which was being celebrated all over Aruba for most of the time that I was there. I also Tried all sorts of new food, from Columbian food to classic Arubian dishes like Keshi Yena.

I learnt a lot while I was in Aruba. Professionally, I gained more confidence in communicating with people and explaining things to them, even when trying to overcome a language barrier. I learnt how to get along with people from different backgrounds and cultures in a professional way while making a lot of good friends along the way. Working on De Palm Island has allowed me to realise that I can push myself further than I thought I could before. I was worried about working in a new place with lots of new people and nobody I knew around me but it has allowed me to overcome that and I think I will be more ready to take on new challenges in the future. It also taught me the importance of being ready for work, having uniform washed and ready for the next day, showing up to work on time and knowing what my schedule was each week, generally looking after myself. It has allowed me to gain a lot of independence.

 

DM Banner EP

Project co-funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union – The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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