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ESC in Sofia: Time for solidarity

Volunteering is one of the opportunities offered to us to make a change or be part of the change we want to see in this world. We can learn a lot as we can teach a lot, we have very diverse societies here in Europe & the regions around. In those times, we need solidarity. We need to help each other to overcome every obstacle we are facing at the local, regional & international levels. Solidarity is a key principle of the European Union, it’s the glue that keeps our union together.

I volunteered in summer 2021 in Karnolsky Art centre Bulgaria for a long term project. The project was about the power of art for social integration. The experience was interesting. My ex knowledge about Bulgaria & the language helped me a lot to understand everything and, learn easier and contribute more and use my creativity without having any obstacles. That was one of the reasons that I chose this country to volunteer in.

We had many activities there that included the opportunity to get to know individuals with autism better with our visit to the autism centre. We visited the theatre and participated in auditions for a puppet show. We participated in a festival organized in a very big park with very young voices and talents, we prepared many workshops for younger generations, we helped them learn new things, we enhanced their creativity and motivated them to discover their hidden skills and talents there, we had even online workshops, we visited many mega markets and did shopping together for the workshops. We made decorations that we distributed voluntarily during the most enjoyable period of the season. We held competitions for the kids, helped make medals and diplomas for the kids, edited videos for social media, and created songs lyrics about volunteering. Pretty much, we had a very busy agenda in the most comfortable way you can have. All thanks to the great management from the team “Karnolsky Art center”.

Our accommodation was very good, and the management there was very helpful all the time. I used my free time to travel around the country and experience new places such as historical places, art centres, museums, concerts & musical halls. I spent some sunny days on the black seashores. Vacations in Bulgaria are always affordable and stress-less. I had very good moments with the volunteers. We build good relations with each other. We enjoyed sharing stories, experiences & spending our free time around. It was quality time with quality people for me, so I gained new friends and contacts after this great volunteering opportunity.

If I had the chance to do it again, I would do it. I encourage young and capable people to not miss such opportunities. Volunteer in your local community where we the youth live and respond to the issues and challenges around, volunteer in regional or even international levels. Solidarity Projects clearly demonstrate the European value by addressing priorities identified at the European level. Solidarity Projects reflect a common concern within the European society, such as integration of third-country nationals, climate change or democratic participation.

I will quote some of The European Commission President’s speech: There are many young, socially-minded people in Europe willing to make a meaningful contribution to society and help show solidarity. We can create opportunities for them to do so. Young people across the European Union will be able to volunteer their help where it is needed most, to respond to crisis situations. These young people will be able to develop their skills and get not only work but also invaluable human experience.

Malek Al Auashreh