Hi there! I’m Irene, 28 years old and I’m from Italy. I come from a super small town in the middle of the Chianti region, in Tuscany. Albeit I’m profoundly in love with my town, I left home 10 years ago, and I’ve been travelling a lot around the world. I love wandering around. To me travelling is not just about seeing beautiful places, it’s about people. I like to spend a lot of time in a country to discover and understand the culture and the habits of the people, and I always try to learn something.
In the end, fate – or what else? – brought me to Polykastro, in Greece. I’ve joined Open Cultural Center in July 2019, as a European Solidary Corps Volunteer. And 9 months after, I’m still here. I immediately developed a strong connection with the community OCC is supporting here in Greece, with the team, the place, and the organisation itself. I felt home from the first moment, and I got really involved with the activities promoted by OCC. My role was mainly focused on the monitoring and evaluation of all OCC’s activities. I had to keep a track of the activities, the attendance, develop indicators and write reports.
I was also teaching the first computer class provided by the organisation. Additionally, I worked a lot on the promotion and development of the ‘CV and InfoHub workshop’. An open space in which anyone can come to ask for employability support: to write his/her CV, cover letter, and to prepare for interviews. In this space, refugees can ask specific questions on administrative procedures in Greece or more general information, such as accommodation, transportation, school enrollment, etc. I got particularly involved with this project, and also during the lockdown, I’ve tried to keep it alive by organising interview preparations and role plays with the teammates.
My work for OCC involves a lot of hours of office work, however, I always try to maintain a connection with the local community, and when I can, I like to teach children and do yoga with them. I believe that my experience here is a great combination of personal and professional enrichment. I’ve learnt how to work in a really diverse team, with people coming from different cultures. Well, yes, I think that what I’ve learnt the most is about the different cultures of the community. But I also improved my management skills and definitely improved my organisation skills – working in a fast-paced environment definitely forces you to be organised, and to learn what to prioritise!
After some months in Polykastro, I got the opportunity to manage a new European project for OCC and I ended my volunteering experience. In this way, I can continue with providing support to the community and stay with OCC’s family a little more.
"This project is funded by the EU Commission, the ESC program and the Greek National Agency Youth and Lifelong Learning INEDIVIM."