I’m Adele, an Italian volunteer from Pisa, I did my ESC project with Open Cultural Center for 9 months. I hold a Bachelor of History and I have a master’s degree in “Welcoming and Inclusion of refugees and asylum seekers”. This background gave me this opportunity to approach humanitarian aid.
I really believe in the importance of solidarity and cooperation and the power of intercultural exchange. For this reason, I really would like to keep working for the further inclusion of refugees and asylum seekers. I think also about the importance of these kind of projects that allow us to have the chance to create positive changes in other people’s lives.
I chose OCC because the activities and projects that the organization has, represent my values. The organization works with the people to give them new opportunities and new tools through no formal education and support activities.
My experience with Open Cultural Center started in July 2020, during a very complicated and strange year for everyone. Basically, I’ve been involved in the educative activities of the organization and I have been responsible for them. I was an English teacher for adults and children from the refugee community that are living in Nea Kavala camp and in the surroundings. I taught basic English to adults two days per week and basic English to children from 5 to 8 years old 4 days per week. With the children, we prepared also activities and games. We tried to create a space where the children could enjoy and learn through no formal education. It’s so important to create welcoming and conformable environments with celebrations and art activities.
I, also, helped in a community-building group to try to create more connections between the local and refugee communities and with infohub team to create a document with all important information to give to the users of the refugee community. I worked with many different and professional colleagues and this was so important for my personal growth.
This project wasn’t my first approach with vulnerable people and with children from different countries, I was already a volunteer as an Italian teacher in Italy but this experience had been very important and special for many different reasons.
I could learn many things and I improved my skills but more important I shared my life, my routine and my point of view with important people. This time that I spent here in Polykastro, was really special for me because I met wonderful people and I created a new beautiful family. I worked with many people from different countries and different backgrounds and this was a real growing experience. I will leave this project with many funny and real stories in my heart, I grew up more than I expected.
Here I understood that even people with a difficult past and a difficult present will never lose their hope for a better life. My colleagues, my friends, were my beautiful support and my hope for a better world and better humanity. They will be part of my life and I will never forget what we lived and we shared together. I really wish the best for all of my students, my children, and all the family that I found here.
This experience has given me greater strength and greater confidence. I know that this is only the beginning of a working, human and personal journey. I really would like to work with people and try to do the best to change something. I will return to Italy with a huge human baggage!
I’m really grateful for everything, a thank you to OCC, to my coordinator, and to all my Habibitos and Habibitas that I met on this special travel.