Up in the north of Slovakia, there is the town of Dolný Kubín, the place where the training course “Access the Volunteering Game” took place, organised within the KA2 project “Euroasia – Volunteering Assistance Program“. The course took place from 18 to 25 October 2021 and on this occasion, after months and months of organisation, Europe and Asia virtually met.
The Euroasia project, as its name suggests, brings together European and Asian associations with the aim of creating volunteering opportunities for young people from all over the world. The project will create both opportunities for young people to volunteer in Asian countries in innovative social projects and opportunities for organisations to develop and deepen their knowledge and experience in volunteering project management. In doing so, the project aims to include young people from all backgrounds (social, cultural, economic…) and also to allow an exchange of know-how in volunteering project management between the organisations involved. An opportunity to exchange practices and know-how was provided by the course held in Slovakia.
This project will run for two years and will include the creation of online tools and guides on sending and hosting volunteers (including methodology, monitoring, evaluation tools, etc.). Mladiinfo Slovakia (SK) is the coordinator of the project and the partner associations are Vicolocorto (IT), Mladiinfo International (MK), Mladiinfo Czech Republic (CZ), ADICE (FR), Youth Employment and Society Development (VN), Volunteer Spirit Association (THA), Bridging the gaps organisation (PHL), Cambodian Youth Action Organization (KH).
The project was slowed down by the pandemic, but after the online kick-off we were able to start with the next phases. As mentioned above, the course took place in Slovakia and gave 4 young Italians aged between 18 and 30 the opportunity to have an intercultural experience for a week together with 20 other participants from Slovakia, the Czech Republic, France and North Macedonia. As a partner association in this strategic partnership project, we sent four participants from the Marche region: Fernando, Alfredo, Daria and Nizar. The main topic of the course was the world of volunteering: what is the philosophy of volunteering, the activities that are carried out, its importance at a social level and the management of projects, with the aim of working on an international level for the construction of a more inclusive and active society.
Given the current health situation, the Asian associations participated online: thanks to their participation, it was possible to reflect on the concept of volunteering from different points of view. Each association presented itself by giving a general overview of the context in which they operate and the activities they organise: thanks to these presentations it was possible to understand the importance and the different nuances of volunteering in very different and distant cultural and geographical contexts.
The thing that struck the Italian participants the most was the richness of this cultural exchange: the participants got to know the different contexts and showed interest in taking part in volunteering projects in Asia. As Fernando told us, a strong energy was created within the group: the motivation and desire to do something to help and to have an impact’s on the world was and is evident. After the experience of isolation during the pandemic, this course allowed all participants to reflect upon the importance of community, cooperation through volunteering and working together for a common purpose.