Sep 14, 2011

This is your chance! We are looking for a candidate.

Meet Braga with MEET!

On the 29th of August, the members of MEET promoted a more pedestrian-oriented action, the Peddy paper. The participants, divided in teams, were international students who came to Portugal on behalf of the Erasmus program. The competition began at 3pm, at the Pastelaria Flor da Venezuela, the participants walked through the city's Historic Center using a map with questions associated to different places and determined the next part of the route.

It wasn’t a race, but a fun way to discover an unknown city, the places, history, people, monuments and also meet new Erasmus friends. At the last post, Praça da República, there was time to relax and socialize. As a volunteer, I contributed to the control in the ranks of Peddy Paper. It was an enriching experience. Fluency in a foreign language, living, learning, participating are just a few benefits from this experience.

Célia Machado, Volunteer.

Few of us out in the world!

Three Red Cross Youth volunteers in Croatia

It's already been 3 days since we landed and I'm still afraid that the emotions will take over my words. First of all I apologize for taking so long to tell the news, but the week was too intensive to sit down in front of the computer and think what to write, it was impossible. The few hours of sleep and many hours of activities didn't allow it!
I don't like to start from the end, but in this case the end is the best way to describe it all: On the last day we cried! And yes, I could just leave it here, you already have an idea how it must've been, but let's go back to the beginning!
A little bit in doubt 3 of our volunteers together with 2 other volunteers from an organization from Coimbra decided to leave for Croatia for a Youth in Action exchange. Although we had a 100% confidence in the program this specific Action raised some doubts: subject matters, the dates, travels, the number and ages of the participants, and the nationalities as well. All the little details made us wonder if we'd even manage to leave... BUT WE DID!
The 19th of August we arrived in Croatia with a desire to be the Youth in Action. We were received by a volunteer of the host organization, Robert Pofuk, who was not only to an excellent guide, showing us every corner of Zagreb, but also turned out to be, and I believe I speak for all of us, a great friend impossible to forget! After a short but intense visit to the capital, Pofuk travelled with us to Novi Marof, a little village where all the Action took place and which I believe surprised us all. The endless search for it on the Internet, the pictures that only showed a little street lost somewhere in Croatia, with a handful of houses around... The intense search resulted in one of the most characteristic places in the world, interesting because of its freshness and dynamics!

That night we didn't sleep in Novi Marof because we arrived a day ahead of schedule. Instead, one of the members of the host organization (which I hope will become our partner in Youth in Action activities) kindly invited us to his apartment in Varazdin, the ancient capital of Croatia. That night we were kept busy by the music festival and the artisan market that were held in the city.

Next day we headed again to Novi Marof, this time to stay. When we arrived the groups from Romania, Croatia and Serbia were already there, the only one missing was the macedonian one, which soon joined us. After the first meal together, the evening continued with numerous introducing dynamics. Thanks to these I can after all these days, despite the constant changing of groups during the week, name everyone who was present. Without forgetting anyone, but missing everyone.

The whole week passed in pretty much the same routine. At 8 in the morning a bus waited for us at the Josko hostel, the place where we were accommodated. It took us to the Cultural Center of the city where we ate and had some of the activities. Following the breakfast was always the “energizer” which, whether we wanted or not, woke us up for the day ahead in a very funny way. We spent most of the mornings at the Center, doing group dynamics, debating volunteering or presenting work of the previous day, but the afternoon was always full of surprises.

The days were divided in 3 big themes: Culture&Tradition, Sports&Nature and last one, History&Arts. Each of the various thematic groups (which were always very original and fun) would meet one local organization that developed some sort of work in one of those areas.  This way we did everything from dancing, painting, making paper flowers, fishing, making candles with plastic cups, mowing the lawn, cooking to FLYING with a great pleasure!

The main objective of MZM (the host organization) was that with this exchange, the quiet village where they were based would turn into an active, dynamic, multicultural place and, above all, that the aged population started believing in the next generations and in the crucial role that we, as young people, can play on local development. I don't know if I can speak for them, but judging by what I witnessed and most of all what I experienced, this aim was fulfilled in 200%. The connection that was created between us and the inhabitants of Novi Marof was remarkable for everyone. Their happiness for having people asking them questions, young people wanting to know about traditions, trying to capture every moment in digital form, they inviting us to parties... This made them believe in the fact that the world is much more than the television dramas, and that there's still hope!

As for us, I think this was just one more proof that YES, IT IS POSSIBLE to “do more, do better, get way (way, way) further”. Just want it – just go! Although the doubts caught us on our guard at the beginning, the mentioned tears left us with the certainty that we want to return, that we want to meet again, talk and tell, yell to the world that WE ARE NOT AFRAID TO ACT!

Not everything can be said in this text. Not only because it's impossible to put feelings into words, but also because of the wish that all of the JCV volunteers would one day, hopefully soon, have an experience like this (the Red Cross Youth in Action is willing to send you, just tell them where and when!).

When it comes to me, I just want to thank all the members of MZM who taught me the real meaning of team work, the “25 magnificents” who I can after 9 days call my friends. Especially I want to thank my two colleagues, friends from the Red Cross, Chisoka and Inês, for the fact that we are and we want to be THE WORLD!

                                                                                                                           Cristiana Garcia


Sep 12, 2011

Summer Holidays | Project GERAÇÃO TECLA (from the volunteers’ perspective)

During the summer break, Project GERAÇÃO TECLA ensured the occupation of the kids’ free time. Here are some of the volunteers’ testimonies:

My name is Cristiana Silva, I am 15 years old (almost 16) and passed to the 11th grade. The activities performed here have been very important for the development (both social and psychological) of the kids. They are fun activities suitable for the children’s ages, where they can mingle and understand the differences among each other. I think they are having a great time and it is a good way for them to pass the time.

I am Sara Sá, I am a volunteer, I am 15 years old and just passed to the 11th grade. I think the Red Cross is playing a big role in educating these kids. The activities are very well prepared and I enjoy being a volunteer.

I am Ana Sofia I am 16 years old and am a student. I am a volunteer because I like kids and enjoy teaching them how to be good citizens. I think the activities are very productive and the kids like them. Out of the proposed activities during the week, I think the kids enjoy the most going to the pool and trips to museums. In general I think all the activities are productive and educational. About Geração Tecla, I think the team is well organized and it is a great educational project for these kids.

My name is Marta, I am 26 years old. I am from Warsaw, Poland. In Braga, I work as a European Volunteer with Noora and Yasmin. Now, during the summer holidays I work with the kids every day. We play games, go to the swimming pool or visit museums.

I like working with our kids, although sometimes it can get pretty exhausting because they are very active. I think all the activities are interesting.

I am Alexandra Araújo, I am 18 years old and I study at the university. During the summer camp I hope for activities that will enrich teamwork, knowledge of new places and the possibility to do new things that we haven’t tried before.
I am Susana, I am 20 years old, I am a volunteer of the Red Cross. I hope that the summer camp will turn out to be what the children expected and there will be plenty of recreational activities and sports they want, with an interaction between the kids, which will encourage team spirit and fellowship. I also hope there will be a lot of sun.

Summer Holidays|Project GERAÇÃO TECLA

During the Summer 2011 the project GERAÇÃO TECLA ensures a range of activities for children.
We share here some of the children's stories:

I am Rafael, but some call me Cafu. I am 10 years old and passed to the 4 grade. I come here in order not to stay alone at home. The activities are great, I like going to the pool a lot, but don’t enjoy that much riding a bus. Today we are going to a summer camp, I have no idea what we are going to do there we just know that we will spend every morning at the beach.

My name is Barbara, I am 11 years old, this year I will stay in the 6th grade, because I didn’t put enough effort to pass to the next. Now, during the holidays we are proposed at the Red Cross activities for many people and we will have a summer camp. I will be able to participate and I think I will like it. It will be an opportunity I can enjoy. I think the Red Cross is doing a very good job, as always.

My name is Carina, I am 11 years old, I am a student and just passed to the 6th grade. I participate in the summer activities and I when I go to the summer camp I would like to have a lot of fun on the beach. My favorite activity is going to the swimming pool.

My name is Nalim Borges, I am 11 years old and I just passed to the 5th grade. What I expect from the summer camp is fun and entertainment, a lot of adrenaline, dancing till we drop on the floor, a lot of swimming and coming back home with a smile on my face.

I am João, I am 13 years old and I just passed to the 8th grade. I hope that during the summer camp we will play football and do paintball and that we will be going to the beach and doing capoeira.

I am Mara, I am 13 years old, I come to the Red Cross because there is no one to stay with me at home. There are various  activities, my favorite ones are swimming, cooking, playing on the computers and many more. I am in the 8th grade.

My name is Alexandre, I am 9 years old and passed to the 5th grade. I participate in the Red Cross activities in order not to stay at home and watch tv for hours. Today, I am going to the summer camp, holidays in Apúlia, I hope everything will go well. Among our activities is going to the pool, cooking, doing arts, playing games and many others I don’t remember, my favorite one is going to the pool.

I am José and I come here not to stay alone at home. The Red Cross does various and fun activities. Some of them are going to the pool, cooking, going to museums, playing computers, and many others. I like the most going to the pool.

I am Roberto, I am 8 years old, I am a student and just passed to the 3rd grade. I like the Red Cross activities a lot and I hope that during the summer camp we will participate in activities such as capoeira, football, paintball, canoeing, going to the beach and the disco.

My name is Gonçalo, I am 7 years old and passed to the 2nd grade. I like the Red Cross activities because I can learn more.

I am Tiago, I am 8 years old and I passed to the 3rd grade. I like the activities and I hope the summer camp will be cool and it will be a big party. I also hope we will be participating in fun activities.

My name is Francisco, I am 11 years old and passed to the 5th grade. I like the Red Cross because we do various things. My favorite activities are going to the swimming pool, cooking and playing on the computers.
I am Fernando, I am 11 years old and I like the activities I participate in. My favorite one is  swimming. I fell in love with Margarida. I hope we will have a lot of outdoor activities.

My name is Margarida, I am 10 years old and I hope to have a lot of fun on the summer camp. I would also like to dance on the disco. I like the job that the Red Cross is doing with me and the other kids.