THE LAST MONTH IN PALERMO
After 9 months, I finally felt more integrated at work. I improved my Italian (and of course my English), and then I could have personal conversations with my colleagues!
While the teachers finished their programs with children for the last month, I still took care of one disable child (12 years old) and I started to create strong links with her. We did some last projects together like creating a cover for her works, or doing some decoration (flowers with paper) for summer holidays.
At school, we did a last “festa” with lots of shows (like songs, dance or theatre) made by students from each class, for the beginning of the holidays, and at the same time, we also said goodbye to the 8th class which joined the high school. I felt a mix between happy and sad feelings for everyone. With Clara, the other volunteer we said goodbye to some children, and we just realised that it was, as well, the end of our adventure together...
It would have been a little bit frustrating to leave Palermo without proposing my own activities to children (I mean to a whole class), BUT HOPEFULLY there was the SUMMER CAMP which lasted 4 weeks! The topic of the summer camp were the 4 elements: Earth, Water, Air and Fire.
The objectives of the activities were to make children more interested to the 4 elements by an informal way and to have fun with them (because we are on holidays!)
For the first week, we did: vegetal painting, clay and games. During the second week, we created a wooden boat and an insects’ hostel.
These activities allowed all of us to create cohesion among children and between us! It was a nice experience!
It is recommended to prepare in advance the colour for painting, a day before it’s enough! I looked up a recipe found on internet at ‘Les petits radis’(https://lespetitsradis.fr/blog/faire-sa-peinture-vegetale-avec-les-enfants-n144). I went to Ballarò market (which is a local market) to buy some vegetables for preparing the colours: spinach for green, onions for yellow/orange, red cabbages for red/purple/pink.
Some days earlier, we began to experience the colours with Clara and Henriette at school. We used two techniques: colours by filtering with warm water or by smashing (we also used both in some cases). We used lemon juice to get a different colour: like Red Cabbage + lemon = pink.
I explained the process of making colours to children and we did it together. After we started to paint...each day a new painting: Day 1: the sea; Day 2: the mountains; Day 3: the wood; Day 4: the desert.
We used the vegetal paint 2 days and add classic paintings later because it was smelling bad with the temperature.
Results: children were really interested to see the colours and how to make it. They realised that they can do it by themselves by a natural way (and cheap one).
WORKING THE CLAY
The activity was organised with Maestra Lydia and Benedicta. Clara and me helped children to create animal and on the last day we told the legend of Colapesce and made a creature half human half fish to illustrate it.
We proposed to play some games during the break time. I brought cans to do a “chamboule-tout” game and proposed games like basketball with wool balls and baskets from the school.
THE WOODEN BOAT “la zattera”
For the second week, we decided, Maestro Eduardo, Clara and me, to build a boat with natural materials.
After collecting some wood, we cut wooden logs to make the boat and, after, the mast. Later, we cut and paint a piece of tissue of the sailing and helped children to make decorations for their own boats.
Results: Children were really happy. It was a good activity for the summer (they will try it at the beach!)
I collected cans and natural materials from villa Trabia (a public garden in Palermo)
The last 5th of December, in honour of the International Volunteer Day, we, Lidia and Leticia, ESC volunteers in InformaGiovani, had the pleasure to do a presentation about European Solidarity Corps and the opportunities which this offers to youngsters.
It took place in the Liceo Artistico Catalano in Palermo, several groups of adolescence attended the meetings. We had a puzzle game, a presentation about differences and similarities between volunteering and working... Students became very motivated, asking a lot of questions, they were interested in our experience, as well.
We informed young people about the volunteering opportunity of ESC which is a great chance for them to develop their skills in different areas in non-formal education.
Volunteering is an option to develop yourself as a person and to grow up in many ways.
If you are between 17- 30 years old and you would like to live an experience abroad, follow this link to join ESC and find further information about volunteering: https://europa.eu/youth/volunteering/organisations_en
Still nowadays, sometimes there is stereotype about Sicily in the foreigners. They link the image of Sicily and Palermo to Mafia. Even when volunteer comes to Palermo s/he is told by her/his friends, family that it’s dangerous there, don’t go out at night, etc... But after spending one or more months, talking with local young people, knowing the work done by local NGOs, it’s possible to discover how local people, starting from their daily life, react against Mafia.
This video is made by Sergio, Spanish volunteer in Palermo, who wanted to highlight a different picture of Palermo, pointing out at the youth and local involvement in spreading culture of legality. So, he decided to record different anti-mafia marches which he joined during his volunteering and to introduce these with a personal symbolic drawing about the topic. This short film includes videos and photos of marches in memory of Peppino Impastato (9th May), Giovanni Falcone (23rd May), and Paolo Borsellino (7th July).
The video was made in the frame of "EVS for Building Bridges of Culture" project funded by the Erasmus+ programme.
My name is Marta. When I ask myself about the reason why I found myself coming from Poland to volunteer in Palermo I think it was some kind of calling from the inside to do something more than just routine student life, challenge myself and meet people. So here I am and still couldn’t believe that it has already happened.
In Palermo time flies differently. It has been 2 months since I arrived but it feels like I have been living here very meaningful part of my life. At first glance everything in this city seems similar to what you already know but after a while you realize that the truth is „everything is different”. Coming here from Poland I didn’t expect to be suprised as much, I have been in Italy before, I have volunteered also in my life but I feel like I have been living a different life here, and what’s more it started to be the life which I fell in love with.
My project was about co-leading international project organised by IG in cooperation with local partners Scalo 5 B focused on urban decoration and restoration local areas. I worked with 4 amazing volunteers from Spain, Italy and France. Our goal was to build the flower boxes to decorate Piazza Mediterraneo in Ballarò and also paint the theatre structure in hosting organisation.
But in reality we achieved even more. For over a week we have been spending whole days together working, eating, discovering Palermo and all of these days made as to become friends.
Thanks to people who create Scalo 5B we had an amazing boat trip on Lisca Bianca.
We had also trip to Cefalù nearby Palermo!
Moreover we met with local society from Azzizart association who takes care of periphery of Palermo. Together we did urban decoration activity in Romagnolo. We restored and painted old abandoned boat at the beach area to put the plants inside.
Working with the wood and painting was sometimes challenging experience but totally worth of excitement and happiness we could feel at the end of our work celebrating the final result of our project. We left little piece of us at Piazza Mediterraneo installing our boxes there and I hope this will be the way in which Palermo will remember us because what is sure we will remember Palermo…
In August I was also involved into supporting an international mobility with many young people from 5 different countries: Estonia, Belgium, Slovakia, Spain and Italy. We have been having workshops about many topics: tolerance, intercultural understansing, digital activism and how to use digital tools. We could explore other cultures through disscusions and tematic nights organised by each country about its culture.
What I realised is that even couple of months spent in different environment around new people, being dedicated to meaningful work can make a big impact on your life. To change yourself a little bit you don’t have to change your whole life, you can just rearrange your plans for a couple of months thanks to Erasmus volunteering. What still remains inside of me is the feeling of wonder how my volunteer work and people I met here have made me a happier person.
I’m Paulina, 20 years old student from Lithuania. I was taking part in a short-term volunteering in Isola delle Femmine village near Palermo. There I spent one month and I had two work camps in Natural Reserve of Isola delle Femmine.
Palms and huge cactuses in the streets, clear blue sea, hot sun and stunning mountains were the first signs that time here will be unforgettable. From the first days in Sicily I was amazed by its landscape. It was my first time in southern Europe, so this place was unique for me.
On work days we were going to the natural reserve. We had to prepare water bottles, then sail with motor boat to an island. There we were planting and watering plants. In the hottest summer months island looks really poor, so our work helps them to survive. Another thing is that island ground is full of rocks, that means it’s hard to make holes for plants and even for the plants it’s not easy to grow.
We had free time after work, so we tried to spend it usefully. We were going to the beach, hiking or exploring city of Palermo. To my mind, it’s worth to try Palermo nightlife, because it was fun at our time.
This volunteering was great for me, because I improved my English skills, I experienced multicultural group, met different people and expand my horizon.
And the most import thing to me was the feeling of freedom. By saying this, I mean how easy everything was going there, how people was relaxed and opened to make friends. That everyone enjoys the life, don’t worry too much and feel free to be themselves.
These fast-pasted days it’s common to forget those things. So, for all others that need this feeling, I wish to experience it while volunteering abroad.
Big thanks for the InformaGiovani staff and other volunteers that made my experience great and unforgettable!
By this project I improved my English skills. I lived with foreign volunteers, so I must to talk in English all the time. I notice that, now I am much more confident in expressing myself, making dialogues and talking in English. What is more, I broaden my vocabulary and improved my listening skills, so it's easier for me to understand others better and faster.
Grazie, Abarraka, Shukran, Dhan Yabada, Merci, Thank You, Gracias, Tesekkurler
I am Gizem, 27 years old Turkish woman who has been living in Belgium for the last 3 years. I did my BS in Psychology and specialized on research and migration during my MS degree in Belgium. Migration has become a real life fact as well as a field of profession to me throughout the years. This constituted my great interest to commit for the voluntary work in the project named “Empowerment through volunteering activities” at the Associazione I Girasoli, an organization carrying out protection projects with both asylum seeker families and minors (SPRAR). My activity days were mainly in Milena, but I also assisted to the Girasoli in Sutera. I was very warmly welcomed –as warm as Sicilian heat :) - by the members of the organization and the locals of both Milena and Sutera.
My volunteering activities were started in Sutera, a historical town settled on top of a hill in the moorland area of Sicily. I Girasoli organizes an event named “Welcoming Refugees” every year in this town and I helped them with decorating the town and making it ready for the guests. This is a 2-days-long event consisting of traditional meals from different cultures, short-movie screening, music and flow-art activities, as well as discussion sessions on the current issues of migration in Sicily and Italy. Even though I have a very limited understanding of Italian and miss the opportunity to fully understand the discussions, I am very happy to be part of this event. Importantly, this event led a very peaceful and fun environment which reinforced a positive interaction between refugees and locals, including me. This was a truly a different episode of the reality on migration in comparison to what I had seen about Italy in the mass-media (usually pointing out the negative issues) before coming to Sicily.
Milena, which is another small town close by Sutera, was the main destination for my volunteering. I spent my time with asylum seeker minors and, also, with few families residing in the town. There were 14 asylum seeker minor guys coming from Gambia, Somalia, Mali, Ivory Coast, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Egypt. We did an art workshop (creating a migration-route map), half-structured conversation tables (accompanied with West African style made green tea so that we were calling it “Green Tea Conversations”) and cinema nights. I also joined to the Italian courses in the centre, museum visit in Milena and several religious ceremonies such as Baptism and Eid Al-Adha.
The art activities, together with the time, led me to create a trustful relationship with the guys. We created a tolerant ground that we could share our opinions freely on sensitive topics such as religion, nationality and our past experiences. We talked about being religious or atheist, our migration journeys, cultural and legal barriers when you migrate, as well as our future goals. I must tell that my knowledge about the routes they took to reach Europe and what one experiences on the way has undoubtedly widened with their stories. I am more than ever sure that, with their words, “migration is not a crime”; it is a very humane response against man-made conflict or systematic inequalities around our globe. I, as a migrant in Belgium, stand more in solidarity with other migrants for safe and human migration after the lessons they taught me during our conversations.
I am very happy that I came to Sicily, to this beautiful island with warm and welcoming habitants. Since Sicily has been a nest for many different cultures throughout its history, it led me to take a journey through different cultures. I did not only learn about Sicily and Italy but also about the cultures of West Africa, Asia, Middle East and Europe. And most importantly, I am very grateful that I met the guys staying in the centre who challenged my horizon of reality and made my voluntary work such a wonderful and unforgettable experience! I am surely more hopeful and grounded and motivated to continue my way to be a part of a social change for a better world!
My name is Mohammad Zaher Akkad, I am from Syria and I have been living in Hungary for two years. I earned an MSc degree in mechanical engineering two months ago and I am going to start a PhD program in logistics this September 2019.
In August, I wanted to use my time in doing something good and refine my skills, therefore, I was looking for a volunteering opportunity related to environment and nature that I could develop my communication skills within it next to expand my networking in a new place. I was so glad to be accepted in this short-term project in Isola delle Femmine in Italy since it fulfils exactly what I wanted, spending one month in a teamwork project related to environment in an island in one of the best areas in Italy during August when everyone dreams about going to Italy. I was extremely excited about starting my adventure there.
Our work was in a small island called Isola delle Femmine located in front of a small town with the same name so near to Palermo.
The main service was planting plants and watering them daily next to other different tasks.
Even it does not sound as a hard work, it was requiring big physical efforts because we needed to move the water and plants to the island daily in order to start working.
However, we worked mainly as six members team so our collaboration and enthusiasm made everything easier and enjoyable.
In addition to our main work in the island, we were counting on ourselves in our daily life tasks in the house where we live. It was quite interesting to arrange our tasks in buying what we need, cooking, cleaning or even planning what to do in our free time.
We hiked beautiful places.
We ate delicious traditional food.
We enjoyed the beach with gelato.
I loved how every day we were becoming more near of each other, involved in our work and tasks and without realising when, it was our home, which we live in as a family. The location was great in the middle of the town. Moreover, it was amazing minutes for me when we use the boat to go to and from the island every day.
I met many people from whom I learned many things. I improved my knowledge about the sea, the plants and how to take care of them. Moreover, I learnt a lot about organising, managing and leading the group work.
I am so glad to join this project and I am proud that I was a part of this great activity in Isola delle Femmine to take care of the nature there and do something positive regarding the environment, which is everyone’s duty.
Mohammad Zaher Akkad
Tutti abbiamo una storia che merita di essere raccontata. Fare volontariato, come qualsiasi altra esperienza che significa allontanarsi dalla tua realtà, è aprire un nuovo capitolo nel libro della nostra vita. Il mio capitolo si trova a Palermo, una cittá bellissima e carismatica della Sicilia.
Mi chiamo Sheila, ho 26 anni e vengo dalla Spagna, ho fatto un volontariato a Palermo per un mese. Un mese pieno di vita, gioie, e anche incertezza, paura, insicurezza, dire soltanto il buono sarebbe raccontare una storia di fantasia. Se stai leggendo questo, sai di cosa sto parlando. Se stai per vivere questa esperienza ti consiglio soltanto assicurati della tua decisione, sia un soggiorno di dieci giorni, due mesi o un anno. A volte le storie non sono più lunghe in relazione al tempo vissuto, bensì a ciò che facciamo con quel tempo.
Il mio volontariato è stato in Centro Tau, una associazione gestita da “Inventare Insieme (Onlus)” per la promozione sociale e culturale. Questo è un posto con molta storia ed importante nel territorio. Lavora nella comunità del quartiere Zisa, nella periferia della città di Palermo.
Forse ora non è considerato sulla mappa come periferia, ma lo prende nel suo DNA. Il concetto di periferia non ha senso senza l’idea di portarlo come identità. Vivere in periferia significa anche vivere alla periferia sociale y culturale. Basta solo vedere come ci sono periferie di città che sono ricchi quartieri e non sono chiamate “periferie”. Allo stesso modo in cui i paesi che non si trovavano in una situazione di ricchezza (economico, sociale, culturale...) occidentali, sono stati chiamati "periferici". La differenza è in chi racconta la storia e la lingua appartiene a coloro che hanno raccontato la storia di pochi.
L'origine dal Centro di Tau. Come tanti altri movimenti associativi di queste periferie delle grandi città dagli anni ottanta, sorgono come iniziative per migliorare le condizioni di vita di una popolazione e dei suoi abitanti. Nel tempo diventa una risposta alle problematiche sociali, la vulnerabilità attraverso la coesistenza, l'arte, l'educazione e/o lo sport.
Fino ad oggi, Centro Tau cerca di dare un’altra alternativa ai bambini ed i giovani dal territorio. Lo sviluppo dei cittadini nelle vicinanze è lo sviluppo di tutti i cittadini della città e del paese.
“Una società che presuppone passivamente che i bambini siano emarginati dai loro primi anni di vita, sarà una comunità malata, distrutta e incapace di affrontare il futuro". Marco Marchioni
In questo tempo ho visto come il Centro Tau è un spazio fisico ma anche un riferimento per la comunità. Sono sicura della sua necessità, importanza e capacità per generare trasformazione sociale. Intanto, la realtà la costruiamo insieme, e un gruppo organizzato ha capacità inimmaginabili.
Ma che cosa ho fatto io?
C'è una cosa che è un po' ingiusta nel mondo della educazione, e questa cosa è che, il più delle volte prendiamo più di quello che diamo. A questo punto, ho colto l'occasione per conoscere le persone e il contesto nel posto facendo le attività che hanno programmato per l'estate (Arte, ludoteca, incontri, taubook, cineforum, i-stem gaming, narrazione, movimento, corso sartoriale, e uscite come al mare, ecc). Ho incontrato il mio amore per la creazione di materiali con il tessuto. Ho conosciuto i ragazzi, i giovani, ecc. Inoltre, anche ho insegnato spagnolo e raccontato la mia esperienza di volontario. Il mio più grande impegno è stato di aiutare con le attività, partecipare, proporre, condividere, vivere insieme e contribuire in un clima positivo di apprendimento e convivenza.
Essere una volontaria anche è vivere con altri volontari di diversi paesi, cultura, modi di essere, ecc. È trovare gente di Polonia, Francia, Italia, Mexico, ecc., e senza dubbio, conoscere una nuova città e tutto ciò che significa vivere qui. Potrei parlare di molte altre cose ma soprattutto per me questa esperienza mi incoraggia a tornare e muovere i miei passi nella direzione che voglio.
Alla fine è un'opportunità di apprendimento, di essere, di costruire la tua vita e forse più avanti tu sei qui raccontando la tua storia.
Sheila Tarragona Pérez
Che cosa vuoi scrivere nel tuo libro?
At the end of my Erasmus+ volunteering project in the Libera Scuola Waldorf di Palermo I had the chance to do a little workshop of two weeks with the girls from the 6th class.
In that two weeks I taught them some acrobatic skills and we did juggling balls by our own.
The main goal of this workshop was to give the children the possibility to learn more about the circus world while discovering their creative skills and abilities. One of the secondary goals was to speak all the time in English with the children so that they also had the chance to improve their language skills and to learn a kind of vocabulary they would normally not learn in school. On my last day in school we presented our results in front of the parents and some teachers .
1. learning to build human pyramids.
First I explained them some important basic positions and movements they had to take care of while standing on human bodies.
Step by step we came to very nice results and built pyramids of two, three and finally five children.
2. learning to make juggling balls.
For this task we put flour in a balloon so that it was good filled.
Over this balloon we put two others where we cut the upper part before.
After that, I showed them how to juggle with two or three balls and the girls also tried to juggle with their own balls.
Sono Lorenzo, ho 28 anni e sto vivendo un’esperienza di volontariato all’estero grazie al progetto Erasmus+, raramente ho avuto occasione di andare all’estero e di vedere realtà diverse dall’ordinario. Alloggio presso la comunità religiosa di Othona, ma cos’è una comunità? È un concetto difficile da spiegare in poche parole se non si ha mai avuto un'esperienza simile. In questa comunità, persone da ogni dove prenotano il posto come luogo di relax, alcuni vengono per fare lavori di manutenzione, giardinaggio, costruzione… ed eccetera, gruppi di persone vengono a praticare la propria religione oltre a quella cristiana, altri semplicemente per venire a trovare compagni incontrati durante uno degli eventi organizzati dalla comunità stessa, funziona circa come una “seconda casa” aperta a tutti.
Questa comunità cristiana è aperta sin dalla seconda guerra mondiale (1946) e porta omaggio regolarmente alla cappella di St Peter-on-the-wall, una attività ancora rispettata nel tempo introdotta dal suo fondatore, Normad Motley.
Tornando alle mie attività come volontario, arrivando agli inizi di dicembre ho speso qualche giorno nella comunità, per la maggior parte guardandomi attorno e scoprire le piccole differenze che si possono notare solo quando non sei originario nella nazione in cui sei ospite, dalle prese con l’interruttore al fatto che stranamente tutti iniziano a mangiare senza dire “buon appetito”.
Successivamente sono stato incaricato di coordinare un Workcamp a Londra nella zona di Dulwitch, la cosa è stata un po’ improvvisa ma è stato comunque emozionante uscire dalla mia area di comfort ed avere responsabilità nel guidare persone alle attività programmate, in questo caso un sacco di giardinaggio nelle aree verdi a Sud di Londra, il gruppo all’inizio incerto sul da farsi è maturato insieme a me e si è stabilito un ottimo rapporto tra tutti i partecipanti. Il momento più curioso è stato quando abbiamo confrontato le nostre conoscenze riguardo ai diritti umani in base alle nostra nazionalità, esperienza che consiglio a tutti per rendersi conto di quanto è possibile viaggiare anche solo con il dialogo.
Il periodo in cui sono entrato in questo progetto è stato quello natalizio, non avevo ancora bene in mente come sarebbe stato passare il Natale lontano da casa, ma la comunità non ha fatto sentire molte differenze. Infatti, invece dei parenti, dalla porta arrivava gente da ogni parte del mondo che ha avuto a che fare con la comunità, tutti impegnati nell’abbondante cenone pre-natalizio. Ammetto che avevo un po’ di nostalgia di casa, quindi, dopo cena, ho iniziato ad insegnare il gioco di carte “Scopa” a chiunque volesse avere una vera esperienza natalizia italiana (magari l’anno prossimo sarà il turno di “Briscola”).
Dopo Natale, si è subito iniziato a parlare della prossima destinazione, l’isola di Wight. Il luogo di residenza del Programme officer: Cedric “John” Medland, incaricati con gli altri volontari di restaurare il museo fotografico di Dimbola (con tanto di angolo dedicato a Jimi Hendrix). Mentre ero lì, ne ho approfittato per offrimi volontario per lo storico festival della musica dell’isola di Wight per il periodo di giugno, il periodo adatto per visitare l’isola, a gennaio...era tutto una pioggia misto a vento gelido.
Tornando nella comunità verso il mese di Febbraio, si inizia ad avere un periodo di calma assoluta, purtroppo dettata dalla stagione bassa che più o meno è uguale ovunque. Abbiamo continuato a tenerci impegnati il più possibile, i lavori dati erano vari: pitturare, curare il giardino, preparare il terreno per l’edilizia, cucinare, offrirsi come cassiere per il negozio del villaggio. Il tutto alternato da giorni liberi spesi girando i vari angoli dell’Inghilterra per conto nostro.
In conclusione, la mia esperienza è solo a metà percorso, ma ho fatto un sacco di incontri piacevoli, ho stretto amicizia con gli altri volontari del programma grazie all’inglese che fa da ponte per i nostri discorsi, e guardo avanti alla prossima parte del progetto... dato che, qui tutti ripetono che “la comunità prenderà molto più senso quando sarà estate”.
I nostri partner
Questo sito è realizzato con il supporto del Programma Erasmus+. Né la Commissione Europea né le sue Agenzie sono responsabili del contenuto, che rispecchia unicamente le opinioni degli autori. Responsabile Pietro Galluccio
L'attività di InformaGiovani è supportata dal Comune di Palermo, che ha concesso l'utilizzo di un bene confiscato alla mafia per il progetto di sportello