«…Наша місія — сприяння реформуванню України у відповідності до європейських стандартів, впровадження демократичних цінностей та розвитку громадянського суспільства в Україні…»

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СМГО «Центр європейських ініціатив»

24.10.13 10:54

Youth Opens Europe: mission accomplished


The names of three volunteers - Peter Wauters, Marie-Luise Sittauer and Sofiane Distante are now well known to many citizens of Sumy. For a period of 9 months these young people organized and took part in a lot of activities of Center for European Initiatives and its partners involving children and youth. This EVS project was supported by Youth in Action Programme of the European Union. And judging by the knowledge, skills and positive experience which was gained by everybody involved in the project “Youth Opens Europe” – it was more than successful.

The EVS volunteers which joined Center for European initiatives from December 2012 to September 2013 performed the activities aiming at developing democratic values within Ukrainian youth. They led Euroclubs involving local school youth focused on promoting active citizenship, civic responsibility, teaching leadership skills to youth and providing them with knowledge about the EU, European integration, what it means to be European citizen. The volunteers also promoted cultural diversity and breaking stereotypes about their home countries in the local community and popularized voluntary service among local youth. Apart from it each of them led free language classes in a local library.

Moreover during the project the volunteers had an opportunity to learn a local language – Ukrainian or Russian to their choice. Here’s what Sofiane says about this exceptional experience: “During the first 2-3 months it was quite hard to practice Russian even with the language classes I had. But after that I could speak some basics and now after 9 months I still can not speak fluentely but I can express myself and have small conversations!”

In general all three volunteers are very satisfied with the EVS project in Sumy, Ukraine. As Sofiane confessed, he learned a lot about social work, teaching skills, projects management, and his English improved considerably. “I learnt a lot about Eastern European cultures, especially Ukrainian, their traditions and values”. He definitely recommends participation in such programs: “It was my biggest acheivement and an excellent way to learn”.

His colleague Peter adds that he would recommend EVS to others because working in a foreign country, especially in schools, gives you an instant access to a different culture and to the new society where you live in. “It is a valuable learning experience”, - he says.

Meanwhile Center for European Initiatives continues its EVS projects. Anna Kovbasyuk, CEI Head of Board, says that all the staff of the organization is proud of personal achievements of the three volunteers during their time in Sumy and added value which they provided to the network of Euroclubs in Sumy region. “Of course we are missing them. Hopefully each of them has promised to visit Sumy and CEI some day when they are on vacation. They will always be a part of our organization”, - she says.