Alimente esta idea. Entrajuda & Banco Alimentar Contra a Fome European Voluntary Service Lisboa 2012/2013
European Voluntary Service EVS is the European Commision’s project that allows a young person (18–30 years) to become a volunteer in another country for a specified period, normally between 2–12 months. The service activities can be, for example, in the field of environment, arts and culture, activities with children, young people or the elderly, heritage or sports and leisure activities. Each project has three partners, a volunteer, a s e n di n g o r g a n i s a ti o n a n d a h o s t organisation. The project has to take place in a country other than where the volunteers lives, is non-profit-making and unpaid and lasts for a limited period (maximum 12 months). I realized my EVS in Lisbon from September 2012 to August 2013. After complication due to the corruption of my fist host-organisation, i seize the opportunity to finish my EVS in an another organization and have been working with Entrajuda & Banco Alimentar from January 2013 to August 2013.
Entrajuda & Banco Alimentar Entrajuda is a private institution of social solidarity, which aims to support a non-profit organization in terms of organization and management, with the aim of improving its performance and efficiency for the benefit of people in need. Entrajuda supplement Banco Ailimentar (food bank) and Banco de Bens Doados (goods bank).
The three institutions make bridge between "those who wish to give and those who need to receive" allowing the creation of a true chain of solidarity.
weekly fresh product distribution
Volunteer's tasks My task were divided into two main different activities. One of them was the distribution in Banco Alimentar, either in contact with the institution or preparing the monthly box. On the other hand I've been participating in two different on-going projects of Banco Alimentar and Entrajuda to raise the awareness to kids and youth about citizenship and volunteer work, in schools. I also got the opportunity to run personal projects. I was working with 2 others EVS volunteers. They were two of the nine volunteers of my original host-organisation: Sophia (Germany) & Anita (Ireland). And we have been join later by Sandra (Latvia).
Sense of initiative & entrepreneurship I think I've been able to improve my leadership skills by understanding better the different working style, I learned more about my own working style but also how to cooperate with different styles than mine efficiently. I took the initiative to be project manager for one of our events in my original host-organization and co-planned a solidarity project with Entrajuda. I also seized the opportunity to have my own project, and became part of a team to organize a camp for 48 kids coming from 12 different countries based on the same values of Educar Para Cidadania (a project ran by Banco Alimentar to promote citizenship, tolerance, human rightsâ€Ś in schools).
I think I have been taking risk along the year, going out of my comfort zone. From the problems with my first host-organization, to the daily life in a new language and new living/work environment. With the help of people I've been turning my ideas into actions. I dared to fight against my previous organization for what I believed and the ethical values I have, with the risk to lose my EVS opportunity. I also dared to experiment new things, and took the risk to fail in order to progress.
17 Last but not least, I dare to look for a job, going to interviews without feeling confident with my Portuguese to be sure I'm not losing any opportunities to stay longer in a country where I feel I still have things to learn and discover. Along the year I gained skills in planning, s c h e du lin g , m a n a gin g of r e s ou r c e s , networking, contact making, team working, idea development, presenting of ideas and also creativity in solving problems.
Social & Intercultural competences
The competence I gain, either on personal, interpersonal or intercultural equip myself to pa r tic ipa te in a m o r e e ffe c tiv e a n d constructive way in social and working life, and to resolve conflict when necessary. I was able to observe, understand and learn more about the codes of conduct and customs in the different environments in which I operated along my EVS. It has been a challenge to handle this experience and the complication I had to face, due to the corruption of my original host-organization, in a new country with a different language.
Working in Entrajuda & Banco Alimentar confront me to the economical and social problems that Portugal is dealing with, in the crisis Europe is facing. It made me even more concerned about social questions in the environment around me at a local, national or international level.
Being not the only one in this situation also stimulates me to take initiative to help, support others, and it increase my ability to cope with new and unexpected situation.
own initiative project with the help of Entrajuda
Cultural awarness and expression This year I had the chance to meet a lot of volunteers from different countries. I not only reflected on different cultural traditions or behaviour but I also became more aware of differences and similarities between cultures. I became more culturally aware and thanks to this I improved my ability to deal with ambiguity and new environments. In the meanwhile I was learning also about communication style and I increased much more my ability and awareness to work with people different from me and my own culture. Being also aware that culture is complex, and if some part can be explicit and easy to identify, some other parts are more complex and abstract. I believe that culture became a combination of our personal, cultural and universal experiences and it influences our behaviours.
I increased my awareness about my own culture, and the influence of my culture on the way I think, act and react. I also became aware of my social and communication style. I'm a group oriented person and value a lot the listening part in my interaction and relationships. But learning more about my communication style made me also aware of its limits and made me more able to adapt myself when needed and be flexible. If I tended to create harmony in my interactions, I also learned when to stand up when conflict resolution is needed. Beside the different cultures that I met, I had the opportunity to discover deeper the Portuguese one, and learn how to adapt myself and my own lifestyle to the country where I am living. Especially in the time of crisis such as the period when my previous host-organization was excluded from the Youth in Action program and I had to deal with Local and National policies.
Centro Social e Paroquial Santo Antonio de Campolide
Learning to learn Before EVS I had the opportunity to learn in different aspects. If I was learning design by reading, thinking and practicing, I also experimented a learning by doing process over the past 8 years in CISV (the NGO I am part of beside EVS), being involved in this organization as staff event or national representative made me learn a lot about management, relationship, interculturality, leadershipâ€Ś
In Portugal, due to limited communication at the beginning, the learning style I had to start with was observation, but with time and by improving my language skills I also have been able to continue learning by doing. One of the main fields in which I have learned more about this year has been intercultural diversity and relations. By working and meeting people from very diverse cultural backgrounds, I think I'm now m or e a ble to in te r a c t or fa c ilita te communication across cultures. I also gained skills on leadership because this year taught me how to stand not only for others but also for myself.
1st & 2nd of june: campanha de recolha de alimentos
2 days, 39.200 volunteers, 2.445 tones of food + 73,588kg of the online collect
cardboard box... a week of building
Anita, Sandra, me and Sophia
SoldaridAREA at a music festival with Entrajuda & Banco Alimentar
There is a lot of person to thanks after this year. First of all Concordia, my sendingorganisation but most of all Nadja, for her patience and support in the hard times, for her help fighting against values i believe in. Sophia & Anita, and the rest of the european volunteers from my original host-organisation without who i'll never have been through all this str uggle , a nd for the ir pr ic e le ss friendship. Christophe for all his time and wise advices in our struggle time. Kiko who stayed a mentor along the year in spite of all the changes and complication from the organisation which linked us. And last but not least all the people from Banco Alimentar and Entrajuda who made the most of this experience for me: to Ana & Helena for their extreme kindness and the support they provided us in any occasion. to Senhor Barbosa, Joao, Isabel, to Marta, Amelia & Vanessa, and all the othersâ€Ś MUITO OBRIGADA! and also to CISV which had dare me to go out of my comfort zoneâ€Ś
© Lucie Lépine