The main objective of the ESC – European Solidarity Corps program is to focus on the needs of the local community and to use young people as a resource for the positive change of European reality in different dimensions.
To reach this goal, it is necessary to connect with the community and get to know it.
My experience as ESC Job in the cultural organization A.C.T.O.R. I had to make this facilitation between knowing the reality that is different from my personal and professional background (because I am Portuguese) and connecting the community with the work done by the organization (among activities proposed by Staff and Volunteers).
It is a work done by direct contact with people and entities that welcome the target group that A.C.T.O.R. operate: Romanian children and youth.
The first idea that comes to mind in this type of actions is to create a diplomatic environment, however, the reality is slightly different. There is a great personal investment to overcome communication barriers (since many of the elements that represent the community, do not speak English and I do not completely master Romanian) and create bonds of understanding and curiosity in the work practices of different cultural realities.
A.C.T.O.R. developed over the years projects and relationships between different entities that are in direct contact with the young Romanian reality: Schools, Hospitals, Social Center.
Within my ability to understand and develop sensitivity and skills to connect with intercultural and intergenerational dialogue, I try to facilitate the reality of the volunteers and bring them closer to the local reality – demonstrating my own example of my integration process with the Romanian reality (cultural shock that I had while i was a volunteer) and create schemes that facilitate communication between the parties: meetings, info sessions, workshops.
The role of my mentor also counts for the success of being able to access the community, since it is someone who helps me to decode the labor and cultural reality that involves my work.
The result: High quality activity for children and with content that meets the expectations of the community (non-formal education and interculturality activities).
Our partners are precious and important elements in the process of creating solidarity between young volunteers and the community, as they are the ones who help us to identify needs and problems at the local level. Without them, the European project would be impossible and in collaboration at different scales (Local and International) we were able to improve the European reality and transform the future into something more solidary and sustainable.