When a friend leaves for a trip, we do generally expect to receive news, postcards, phone calls or any other kind of ways that could give us an insight into the experience itself. And this is what happened with Marianne Ziebula, a German girl who since September 2010 is doing a European Voluntary Service (EVS) project in Istanbul. From her hosting organisation Aile Eğitim Derneği (AED) she shared with Citizens of Europe, her sending organisation, a piece of a new daily life.Together with other 8 European volunteers, she is supporting the organisation in projects with a high socio-cultural relevance: the Bomonti house, the Iraqi school and the Maden school. Bomonti is an elderly home for people with no Turkish residence permission. Residents are mainly Armenians, French, Germans and Spanish. It is held by Catholic Sisters, coming from all over the world – Malaysia, Africa or England for instance. The volunteers help with housekeeping duties, entertain the residents and spend time with them. Twice per year a big event is organised, where among the other things clothes and domestic supplies are sold in order to support Bomonti.
The Iraqi school is a centre for political refugees, who profess Catholic religion. The families of these children are waiting for residence permissions for USA, Australia and other countries. The period of their stay at the centre is variable: some remain for two months only and other are already there since more than five years. Maths, geography, singing, drawing and English lessons are given by teachers, who are also refugees. Due to the lack of staff, the volunteers of AED provide extra English lessons.
The Maden school is a school for kids with learning disabilities and handicaps. After their normal school ends, they are brought in the afternoon by bus to this second one where they receive a special single lesson. As there are more children than teachers, the volunteers entertain the ones who waits for their turn, with games, theatre play or creating handicrafts. Through these activities children learn more about social interaction within a group.
Thanks Marianne for this present! And you out there? If you would like to live a similar experience have a look at Volunteering and Internship and visit the Youth in Action program website.
The European Voluntary Service is realized through financial support of the Youth in Action programme of the European Union.