Volunteer in Portugal
The Nevo Parudimos Association was a partner in the Volunteers for Inclusion project, reference number 2017-1-PT102-KA105-004019, the coordinator of which was the ProAtlantico Association of Portugal. Within this project, the Nevo Parudimos Association had the main task of recruiting and training a volunteer to attend a 12-month internship, starting with October 2017, in Lisbon, at the Casa Pia Day Centre.
S.C., one of the volunteers speaks about this project: “Volunteering … I wanted to volunteer in another country since I was a little child, although I didn’t know what that really meant. I figured someone gives you money, and you travel all around the world to discover new things, without telling you what to do. I remember, I was almost 18 years old and I sent emails to all sorts of African organizations in the hope that someone would need me there. Either Ghana or Kenya, or I any other country … every time I received the same answer. I had to pay thousands of Euros out of my pocket and also have some money to spend there. I did not understand why? I would have gone there to help them with something, teach them, share traditions … I had no chance!
A few years ago, with the help of some friends, I discovered Nevo Parudimos: that non-governmental organization, which fights poverty and hopes to integrate minorities in the society. They taught me what EVS means, the reason why I am currently in this wonderful country, Portugal.
I arrived in Portugal on the 2nd of October 2017, in a volunteer program called VOLUNTEERS FOR INCLUSION. I work with this institution that was born almost 300 years ago. CASA PIA is the largest institution in Portugal, dedicated to young people with a social and parental risk. The house where I activate in this volunteer program is located in a suburb of Lisbon called Queijas. Honestly, after almost six months, I am still not able to pronounce its title correctly. I work with some wonderful kids. We do what we can. We look at drawings, play cards, draw, go to parks, and cook together, like a big family. They accepted me very quickly.
Although I at first thought that I would have a very big problem, because I didn’t speak their language, my vocabulary has developed over time. Portuguese is not a difficult language. Being a Latin language, like Romanian, many of the words are similar. So, we understand each other how we can: in Romanian, in Portuguese, in English … Children have become a part of my life. I never had this experience, I had never worked with children, I didn’t know how to act, how to react. And now, after almost six months, I don’t even want to think about the end of this project and I will have to give them up. I have become very attached to them. It’s not easy at all. Many say it’s hard to raise 2 kids. Well, I’m raising 11, and I never complain.
It’s a unique opportunity in life. Everyone should try this EVS, a volunteer program that will surely change and mark you for life … for the better!
I don’t realize how 12 months of my life have passed. I fell in love with Portugal, the people here, the ocean, the wonderful sunsets … with everything! …
But my adventure has ended. 12 months of unforgettable moments, wonderful friends, 12 months that changed me completely. It’s difficult to say goodbye, but other loved ones are waiting for me at home.”
This project was funded by the European Commission’s Erasmus+ program through the European Voluntary Service.