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European Youth Portal

Information and opportunities for young people across Europe.


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Your stories


Become a volunteer and conquer the world

Turkish Neslin Ölmuz didn’t speak English, had never been abroad and had never worked with disabled people. All of that changed when she went to Sundsvall, Sweden to work as a volunteer.

 

Her placement was at the activity center Fritid för alla (Leisure for all), which works to create meaningful leisure activities for disabled young people, but is also open to able-bodied youngsters.Their volunteer coordinator Elisabeth Orre has taken in 15 volunteers throughout the years.

 

 

What should you keep in mind before you do a volunteer project?

– You should decide what you want to work with, keep an open mind, take initiatives, and prepare for the possibility that it won’t always be easy to adjust to new ways of working. But above all you should know that the experience may come to be incredibly meaningful for you, says Neslin Ölmuz. 

 

 

Personal journey

Elisabeth Orre says it’s important to take care of the volunteers so they feel safe and comfortable in their new environment. They have to get used to a new city, new people, and a new culture. Elisabeth claims volunteer work is about embarking on a personal journey.

 

After a couple of difficult first months when Neslin learned English and familiarised herself with the new environment, she knew what she wanted to do for her EVS project. She wanted to work with theatre.

 

Theatre for trust

Her idea was to use theatre as a way of better understanding the inner worlds of the young people and at the same time have fun together. They dressed up, pretended to be animals, and did different exercises and played games to get to know each other and learn trust.

 

To volunteer in another country and carry out a project of her own has made Neslin believe in herself more and her own abilities, and has allowed her to see new possibilities in her life.