”We volunteers don’t just work together, we spend almost all our time here together.” – Paula Sut Cinadi – Germania, voluntară în proiectul Architects of Change 2022-2023
I am Paula, 19 years old and I have been in Romania for more than 7 months now for my ESC. I live in a small town called Marasesti next to Focsani in Vrancea County and am doing my voluntary service with Asociatia Voluntariat pentru Viata. I would never have thought in September that I would spend such a great and varied time here. At the beginning, I thought this city was a ghost town. There are few young people, the elderly are very lonely, there is a lot of carelessly discarded rubbish on the streets and there are lots of street dogs. In the meantime, however, the tide has turned.
In addition to me, there are 11 other international volunteers here. They come from Turkey, Georgia, Italy, Denmark, Spain, France and Germany. We work together with partner organisations and schools in the Vrancea region. Our common goal is to counteract the strict school system through the activity of teaching and to teach the children that learning is not a duty. Because learning can also be fun. We also want to offer many leisure activities for children in Marasesti and increase the involvement of young people in Vrancea County through our activities. Our volunteer festival shows that we have already been very successful in doing this. At this volunteer festival, projects that the children have developed and realised together with the volunteers are presented and awarded various prizes at the end. This teaches the children that even a small commitment can make a difference in their community and motivates them to continue getting involved.
We volunteers don’t just work together, we spend almost all our time here together. We meet in our flats for game nights, film nights or just to talk. We have already discovered many places in Romania together, such as Bucharest, Brasov, Sibiu and Cluj. We have also seen a lot of nature, experienced storms, such as very heavy snow, and a few earthquakes. But the most important thing is that we created many memories together. Was it worth coming to Romania? Although I still have a few months left to spend here, I don’t regret having been here for a moment and can only draw a very positive balance. I have got to know myself much better, discovered many new skills, got to know many cultures through intercultural evenings with mentors, got to know the most diverse personalities from the most diverse circles, but also learnt a lot about life through working with children from poor backgrounds. So I’m very excited about what’s to come, because I won’t be spending my time here with a few young people I don’t know, but with very good friends.