Youth exchange on volunteering: memorable experience for Sisak’s youth group
“Active youth engagement is necessary for development of community where we live!”: this is the message of youngsters from Sisak participating at the youth exchange in Črnomelj, Slovenia.
Aiming to get better understanding of the importance of volunteering and developing new knowledge and skills useful in achieving social and personal changes, six youngsters from the LDA Sisak (Operational Partner of ALDA) participated at the youth exchange “Volunteering Saves Lives”, from 22 to 30 August 2016, held in Črnomelj. Youth Centre BIT hosted the youth exchange funded from the Erasmus Plus programme of the EU, gathering 36 young people aged 18-30 from Croatia, Slovenia, Romania, Hungary, Poland and Spain. Additionally, youngsters from Portugal and Macedonia were involved in a role of the program facilitators.
Carrying out several activities, workshops and debates, all participants gained new knowledge and skills needed for volunteering. They had the opportunity to get to know the work of voluntary fire-fighting brigades from Črnomelj and to learn how to give first aid to injured people. Moreover, young participants visited Ljubljana and the association "Kings of the street" which works with homeless people and actively involves volunteers.
Participants had an opportunity to use their creative skills and experience in volunteering, organising the humanitarian action in Črnomelj, gathering donations for children with disabilities and decorating streets with graffiti.
In long terms, the exchange will help youngsters to apply new skills in their communities, strengthening the importance of volunteering where it is not recognised as something valuable and un-exceptional in the field of active citizenship.
"If you look at western countries, we can notice that the volunteering actions are really developed. The goal of the program Volunteer’ Centre Sisak, operating within the LDA Sisak (OP of ALDA), is to rise the awareness on the importance of voluntary work and promotion of volunteering in the local community. Personally, this exchange was one unforgettable experience that expands horizons and upgrades existing knowledge, both of non-formal and formal education. I dare to say that this kind of exchanges are very important nowadays for young people if they want to contribute and to influence their living environment in the future” says Matea Strižić, the leader of Sisak youth group and Coordinator of the Volunteer’ Centre Sisak.
"This exchange was very informative, dynamic and full of different activities which introduced me to different aspects of volunteering. The biggest impression on me was the presentation of the Association "Kings of the Street" where I realised the importance of getting engaged in decreasing human sufferings” explained Antonia Pintarić, one of the participant.
"Time passes very quickly in Črnomelj with days full of activities. It is useful to find out about voluntary work in other countries. Young people should not be afraid to participate in exchanges of this kind. No previous knowledge or a weak knowledge of a foreign language is not a barrier for participation” concluded their colleague Manuela Birač.
Vita Jankovič, the Youth Centre BIT project manager, gave Youthpass certificates to participants as a confirmation of their newly developed competencies in this youth exchange.