We live every day with a vision for a better and more equal world that reaches everyone, but what actions do we take on that matter is the question we should all ask. I believe that each daily action we take can make a difference, however small it is. All we have to do is find the most suitable practice that we can contribute with. One I would always think of is volunteering, which is a perfect way to become aware of problems people struggle with and help solve them or at least make the problem smaller.
The summer we left, I received a message from a friend with an opportunity she had seen, an organization in Poland looking for a volunteer from Kosovo. I was immensely happy and excited, I started my application right away, and just days later I got the confirmation email that my application has been accepted and I was called to join the project in Poland. It was a day that I would hold dear.
Before my departure, there were needed a lot of things to prepare and do, like finding a Supporting Organization, which took me a very long time but all the wait with so worth it. I ended up having the best organization I could ever ask for, GAIA Kosovo. I still remember the day where I asked them to support me with my ESC project, and they agreed to support me right away. I can never thank them enough for all the way I have made with them so far. Jeremy has helped me with everything since day one, I thank him kindly for all the support and help he has been giving.
After all the time planning and organizing everything, in October, I made my way to Poland. I was very excited but also a little bit scared about what was waiting for me and of course, it was my first time in a European country and had no idea how it would be. However, everything changed when I met the director of the organization, mentors, and the other volunteers the next day. It was a very warm welcome and all my worries went away. I started living and working with 10 people from different parts of Europe. I have the chance to learn a lot from them and share my experiences and listen to theirs. Where I got the chance to know a lot about our similarities and our differences as cultures but also as countries.
I get to work in the office with different tasks related to office projects, supporting the organization with social media, workshops, and the creation of youth projects. I love what we are trying to do here and what impact we are trying to make on the youth of our local community. Trying to promote youth integration and inclusion and emphasizing the importance of their participation in the community for their good. I think not only just them, but also I have seen what a crucial indicator can youth be, how much power it can have, once we learn to use the tools that we have and know how to organize ourselves in the community.
Moreover, I enjoy my time with the other volunteers so much. Considering the situation we are in with the pandemic we don’t have a lot of opportunities to travel around Poland, but we have been trying to make the best of what we already have anyways. We live in a village near the mountains and we have been exploring and hiking the mountains around us. We all learned that to have a great time, you can do so by just spending quality time with people.
In conclusion, I have been here for almost 5 months now, and I can surely say that I have grown and learned much more than I could in years. I had the chance to raise awareness on different social injustices, European projects, and the dissemination of European values among young people. Other than that, I gained and improved a lot of skills, such as teamwork, communication skills, the ability to adapt while working with different people, problem-solving, and improved interpersonal skills. It has been an amazing experience so far, whereby working to help I learned and challenged myself in various things.
Being a volunteer has taught me a lot of things. One that I want to share here today is that no small change is little. Maybe you won’t see the results of your work right away, but you will eventually. And the most important one, solidarity. As one of the core human values, we all should have. It is the fundamental value towards a society of inclusion, social justice, and equality.
To sum up, volunteering projects can and will change your life, and what a better way to learn, experience, and improve by helping in a cause you believe in. For those volunteering in the future, I hope it will be a great experience as mine was.
Lule – March 2021