Chile

This is the only EVS project which is still actively underway. It started in July 2010 and will run up to July 2011. The volunteers are working with Hogar de Christo Foundation. It is a non-profit institution working to relieve and overcome human suffering amongst the poorest of the poor who are excluded from society. The main objective of Hogar is to give shelter, love and overall attention tobabies, pre-school children, adolescents, young people, homeless people, adults, women, elders, and people with mental or physical disabilities.

The main objectives of the project were to help volunteers understand the factors which contribute to poverty, to appreciate the different realities and cultures of the world and in turn to appreciate their own European reality, which they will inevitably share throughout the project.

Samuela Galea, 22, a graduate in Near Eastern Studies, and Marilyn Grima, 19, a Kindergarten assistant, are the volunteers currently on the project in Chile. Marilyn works with babies and preschool children  whilst Samuela works in human rights projects for children and women. They also offer support to school children and organise educational leisure activities.

Samuela writes from Chile:  The EVS has given me the opportunity to experience a new culture and learn from it, whilst working alongside its people for their own benefit, which is the most important aspect. Such an experience can benefit any person depending where that person is in his/her life or what they hope to achieve from the experience. From a more professional outlook, it would surely increase knowledge and experience in the work being done, as well as provide ideas for further studies, helping in recognising one´s best potentials.

Maybe some may not consider such an experience to be beneficial, prefering to invest immediately in education and career or family without wasting time...and surely there are some disadvantages which cannot be avoided when leaving home for a long time, however I think the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. I know I will keep learning in the six months to come.

I would encourage anyone to do an EVS project.It is a unique opportunity to discover and work in different realities and countries as well as share our values with the new people we meet, I feel it is enriching for mind and soul to take a step back for a while, from this rushed life...then perhaps the path will be clearer, education, careers, decisions will make more sense.

Marilyn writes, ‘I'm half way through my experience and it is truly satisfactory and fulfilling. I never thought dedicating time to poor people would yield such satisfaction. Now I know what it means to put other people first without expecting anything in return. Another aspect of the experience is to learn about new cultures, different attitudes and ways of life. I also learnt Spanish from scratch and it was essential to help me communicate with others. This experience is helping me become more mature, responsible and less dependent on my parents.

Anyone who is applying for such an EVS needs to be ready to help without gaining anything in return. They need to be ready for a tough experience away from family and friends but undoubtedly an experience which upon returning would be something you would cherish forever.

  

 View some writtings from the volunteers themselves: Samuela & Marilyn 

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