16 Zář Santi´s thoughts about inclusion in ESC projects
My name is Santiago Boscá Sospedra. I am 24 years old, and during this year, I have been
volunteering in Czech Republic, thanks to European Solidarity Corps. Being ‘IDEA Alzira’, my
sending organization, and ‘DDM Ostrov, ICM, Slaný’, my hosting organization. During this
project, I have been able to meet many different volunteers who came to Czech Republic too,
coming from different European countries, all of them connected by the net of European
Solidarity Corps. This made possible for me to compare and reflect about different
organizations and different working methods and development of the projects.
Said this, I wanted to explain why I think I have been really lucky with my hosting organization
in Slaný ‘DDM, Ostrov, ‘ICM’’ and with their way to work with the volunteers, or how to give
them the support they really need in this new experience for them.
These are experiences other volunteers shared with me in the ‘Mid-term Meeting’ or in some
visits I did to them throughout the year, traveling around the country. In one hand, most of
them were happy with the activities and programs of their organization, being interested
about them, enjoying this unique experience. Learning about these solidarity projects, cultural
exchanges and other topics of the organization. But in the other hand, they felt also missing a
bigger support by the side of the organizations into their projects. A better inclusion, a better
way of supporting, able to make them feel really involved in this new environment, society,
culture. A lot of them felt that they were treated just as workers for the organization. Where
coordinator or boss gave them their tasks and left everything else up to them. Not working
with the personal and professional development of the volunteer. Not giving them a
background about how to improve their soft-skills, or not supporting them emotionally in the
difficult moments that volunteers live during their projects. In my point of view, it is a really
important part of any volunteering project. And this background, it is behind all successful
project and activity. And behind every satisfied volunteer.
I am really satisfied with my project. It brought me so many perspectives and abilities to
cooperation, creation or realization of every workshop, every preparation of the activities, or
every cultural exchange. I really think I improved my professional and personal development
during this year. And it was thanks to my organization. Which is really focusing in how the
volunteers are feeling in every moment, always thinking in how to support them, in how to
motivate them to keep creating, improving, and developing all their activities, workshops or
events. My coordinator, Sirín, provided to us a big background, what made possible to be
successful in every activity we did. She provided us with soft-skills, which now, I am really
grateful to know and be able to use in every situation, personal or professional. Non-violent
communication, non-formal education, equality, authenticity, temperaments, open
communication, tolerance, etc. Skills, that made possible a better improvement and realization
of the activities.
We had also weekly individual meetings. Where we fulfilled a questioner about how we are
feeling ourselves in each part of the project. Knowing about the emotional and motivational
state of the volunteers. Having also a meeting with our coordinator where we could share our
fears, difficulties. In the same way than our motivations and satisfactory events, activities or
moments. As volunteer, I felt always involved and able to communicate openly with my
organization, being able to create a better working system, making me feel equal with them.
Having a better connection and cooperation, being able to decide with them how to create
new content or new activities for the organization.
Most of the times, as in my case, the volunteers decide to live this new experience because
they feel a bit lost in their lives, searching new open doors in their lives. New opportunities,
new challenges. New ways of cooperation, new ways of personal and professional
development. And they need to have a stable support by the side of the organizations.
Someone who takes care of them in a complete new environment. Volunteers can feel lost,
alone, far away from their home. And it’s dangerous if they don’t feel involved in their new
atmosphere. They can lose the motivation for the project. The sense of it. And also, the
organizations should provide them with tools they need to work and develop the activities
with the best success they are able to improve and achieve.
I really think inclusion should be an important part in every organization and volunteering
project. Because at the end, we are volunteers. More fragile than experienced workers. But,
with the right background and support, we can become in really professional workers, what I
think it is the point of this volunteering experience. Equal with the other members of the team.
Helping the organization once we are able to be strong enough and capable to deal with all the
activities by our own hand, finding our own ways to create them. We can become in so much
more than if they treat us like if we knew everything. We have always a lot to learn and
improve, and we can really change ourselves during this whole amazing opportunity ESC
projects are bringing to us.