Wednesday, 15 April 2009

After 2 months of EVS in Turkey

After a bit more of 2 months of being in Turkey I am coming back with more news,

It took me some time to mobilize my self and write because I was still handling with a very different reality – obvious you will say: “I am in another country, no?” Well yes and no in the same time.

I lived and worked in other countries for longer time and I also worked in different ways in Turkey and with different Turkish organizations but this time being such a long project and such a wide perspective for sure I feel like I am in a place I was never before :)

The time has different value here, the volunteer and youth work has different meaning and way of manifestation, active participation doesn’t exist to much in the sense we are using in Romania and speaking about Forum Theatre, Street Campaigning or Global Education this looks like are coming from Mart and they are still watched with suspicion. Oh ya!!! My work here is not easy because even if I was saying before :I have the skills, the motivation and large possibilities in Turkey something else is needed: motivated people as well in Turkey (Izmir more specifically were I am located).

Only 2 months passes, patience and flexibility are the biggest lessons until now, maybe I am in cultural shock :)...seems that is not easy ...buuuuut it cant be impossible no?

A short overview on the last 2 months

  • The volunteers in Izmir are many in numbers but few in active involvement; is a student orientated organization with student clubs in each university in the city and the region and each university is implementing a large number of project in different areas of society (mainly charity orientated or for disadvantaged groups: lessons for poor children, spending time with old people or violenced women or teenagers, etc) but not doing anything in what means awareness in different topics, empowering community members, stimulating active participation – well this is my job to make them active in this direction also – and Is not easy I can say;
  • I had some workshops on Image and Social Theatre (for various groups from 3 universities) – for them this workshops are more to know me (because I am the only EVS at the moment in the organization), what I want to do and to have fun – still i didn’t created a team for in-depth training;
  • I found a group interested in street animation – made by some volunteers in TOG and young people interested in street art- i will join them for a while and maybe with this group I will develop the street actions with social message;
  • The TOG had a National Youth Council where I met volunteer from all the country and other EVS from Istanbul (i did some workshops on Street Animation with a huge success – but that is not leading to street campaigning on a social team yet:
  • The TOG structure has no centralized coordination and is not easy to organize their volunteers; they are working mainly on self organization for volunteers but this makes it very difficult for me because I don’t know the language and they don’t know English;
  • I help some staff people to write some projects proposal and to make some EVS selection for a project in Romania;
  • Turkish Language is not so easy i was expecting and I am not sure learning with a student (with no teaching experience) is a good option – but lets wait and see (i need also o study more of course)
  • Living in house of 4 people were only one person speaks english can lead either to: make me learn turkish fast; either make them learn english fast; either make us ignoring eachother!!!

More to come for sure,

“Challenge YOU and YOUR community” represent an EVS project (European Voluntary Service) implemented by A.R.T. Fusion(Romania) and TOG (Community Volunteers, Turkey) financed by trough Youth in Action Programme by Romanian National Agency.

The opinions expressed in this article belong 100% to its author!

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