I would like to begin by explaining the purpose of this report in its form and content. At the end of my European Voluntary Service, my host association asks me to write a final report on my experience. I took this opportunity to make a personal assessment of my one-month stay in Strasbourg and put it down on paper. My goal is both personal, that is to say to be able to relive in writing that time, reflect on what it has brought me and keep track, but also to share it with others , to share what I have experienced with potential future volunteers and other interested people and why not make other young people want to enjoy this wonderful experience. So there will be a little bit of everything in this “report”: personal facts, descriptions, anecdotes, advice, reflections … etc
Who am I ?
Khaoula Chaoui, 25 years old Moroccan girl, from Fez. I first preferred my studies to obtain my degree in Medicine. Although the desire for escape and instability have flowed in my veins since my youngest age.
Having known the European Voluntary Service, I thought it would be interesting to combine this dream with my skills of social worker to put them into practice through a one-month volunteering mission. It is in this context that I go to France to animate interactive and intercultural workshops for children and young people from “disadvantaged” neighborhoods of Strasbourg.
Living in France, and more generally outside my country, allowed me to grow inside. I still learned so much about myself. Because yes, when you leave everything and get out of your comfort zone, lots of things happen. Because arriving in a country where you do not know anyone requires a lot of adaptation. So, I managed as well as I could. I became an expert in listening quality, observation, reflection and non-verbal communication. And without really realizing it, I learned, I integrated and I even forgot my own codes until it becomes absolutely normal. To leave to live abroad, it is also to say goodbye to all his relatives, it is to jump in the unknown, it is to imagine all that awaits us. And generally, it does not happen at all as we had predicted. So, there is no choice but to be sociable, to talk to everyone who crosses my path, even if it is not always easy. And there are times when it is harder than others, where anger has won me because I was in misunderstanding. And it was thanks to this anger that I accepted the culture in which I was diving. It is at this moment that everything becomes more natural, more normal and that one finally feels at home, even if one is abroad.
My EVS Program
When I arrived, I had EVSthe time to discover, to take my marks. This is an important step on arrival in any project. You have to be familiar with places, people, time and culture. This is a first step of observation. The first day was devoted to discovering the office of the association and its members and the role of each.
The program was as follows:
- Mondays :
In collaboration with the LA MAISON DES POTES association in the district of Meinau, activities were organized in the primary schools against discrimination: the children had to stage a prejudice and the other children had to give their opinion on the different situations.
- Tuesdays :
In collaboration with the association enchantment, we leave every Tuesday morning to participate in the workshop parents children. The day begins with the layout of the premises and the installation of the games: balloon pool, dinette, lego … etc. Then we welcome moms and children between 6 months and 4 years; from 9:00 to 11:30 and we help with the storage of the room. The purpose of this workshop is to allow children to get used to a different environment from home, to start creating a first contact with children of their age and with adults to facilitate their insertion in school .
- Wednesdays :
In collaboration with ARACHNEMA, we are helping children in a passenger area at ILLKIRCCH. Each week a different program: The first week was a culinary workshop on the menu a crumble with pears and chocolate prepared by the children Second week: a gardening workshop, introducing children to the basics of agriculture and allowing them to plant themselves the little green creatures they have chosen. In addition to the workshops chosen according to the desires of the children each week one animated workshops of drawings and cubism playful. With the older ones, we help in a homework workshop. These are children who go to school from a distance; a rather atypical program that differs in its methodology.
- Thursdays :
Were spent for a friendly breakfast with the inhabitants of the district koenigshoffen then with administrative aid for refugees.
In collaboration with the association PAR ENCHENTEMENT, we go to the school of the Romans to help some students of primary school. Children participating in the workshop are at a lower level than their classmates, or have communication problems and have difficulty expressing themselves. In this sense the workshop takes place in two stages: first a homework help and then a different animation for each time. Among the workshops offered an introduction to some graphic techniques, workshops of kitchens ….
- On Tuesdays and Thursdays afternoons we helped to supervise the computer workshops within the AMSED: each workshop had a specific theme in order to improve the job search: (Creation of a mail box, Apply online, online CV, recruitment website … etc). As we spent each week time for phone reminders for the benefit of computer workshops.
- My first weekend in Strasbourg I had the chance to participate in a Franco-German meeting that dealt with the topic “WHAT HOSPITALITY FOR REFUGEES IN EUROPE WHEN HUMAN VALUES INTERPRET THE RIGHT? “. Our mission was to film small interviews with people present on their views on migration and the politics of the country to welcome them.
In the program :
News of migration programs with Mrs M.C VERGIAT, MEP.
The reception of refugees in FRIBORG and STRASBOURG with elected representatives of German and French cities and associations.
Intervention of Maître CH.ROUSSEl lawyer specializing in migration issues on the theme “HOSPITALITY, A DUTY? AN OFFENSE ? “
- On the occasion of the international day of the ROMS AMSED was present to animate workshops of decoration of the eggs of pacques as well as to frame the hunt with eggs and to film the various activities of the day.
And without forgetting to join the tool to the pleasant I had the opportunity to visit a purely Alsatian village “Ribeauvillé” I leave you with his few photos to discover its beauty.
My personal assessment:
This list is especially not exhaustive because it would be too difficult to describe everything in detail what I did with the association. It’s just to give a glimpse of everything I’ve done, what has punctuated my weeks. EVS, on the other hand, has given me a lot in terms of new knowledge, skills and reinforcement of skills already acquired. First, the artistic aspect. I do not hide that at first, I was scared … Indeed, the animation and me, it did not rhyme. So when I became aware of all the activities I had to participate in, I told myself that I would never be able to meet the challenge … a month later I can then animate and teach recycling techniques. I learned to let go of my blue phobia of failure, I learned to be wrong, to start over, to become more patient and to be less demanding. Finally, I could go on talking about how I feel for a long time, and finally, this article shows only a part because there would be so much more to say. Feel free to follow all the activities carried out during this incredible month on my Facebook Page and my blog.
Done by Khaoula CHAOUI,
European Volunteer in Strasbourg