Id f'Id (Hand in Hand) - EVS Project to Ethiopia
Two volunteers went for six months from June to December 2010 to Kidane Meheret Children's Home in Ethiopia. The Kidane Meheret Children's Home at present houses around 160 children, from new born babies up to youths of 17 years. The Home cares for abandoned children; street children; orphans and children of parents who are HIV/Aids positive. Its objectives are to provide a good upbringing in an environment that provides them with family love and care.The main aims of this project are three-fold.
First of all, the project seeks to contribute to the empowerment of the poor and marginalised. Secondly, volunteers will develop a deeper sense of understanding of the various factors which contribute to poverty and suffering worldwide. Lastly, the project also has a cultural dimension, that of fostering deeper sensitivity and appreciation of the different realities of the world and for volunteers to value and share their own European reality.
Maria Azzopardi, 21, a graduate in Banking and Finance and Franklin Farrugia, only 18 years of age, went Ethiopia to help in providing informal educational support in Kidane Meheret Children's Home which places emphasis on ‘capacity-building' and the development personal skills of the youths. The Project included training and formation of the volunteers before the commencement of the Activity, as well as further training, evaluation and support throughout the Activity. Currently the volunteers are in the evaluation phase of the whole project and will be launching a series of activities to spread awareness of their experience and put their experience to good use.
This is what Franklin writes ‘I have learned to appreciate my heritage and our European values but also to appreciate that the Ethiopians have a rich culture and even if we might think or do things differently we have much to share of what we have. I have learnt to live with persons who are very different from me and my generation. I am only 18 years old and I feel that this is the best thing that happened to me in my life so far.
I recommend this experience to anyone who is ready to do it because it is not only an experience in giving but also a great experience in receiving too. The EVS programme made it possible for me to do such a long-term project.
Maria writes ‘I feel that this experience totally changed who I am ant the way I look at the world. It made me a stronger person. I learned to appreciate the most simple things in life. It was my choice to go there but for many it was not their choice to be born in a country where poverty is the norm, were people living on the street and dying of hunger and diseases that could be easily prevented. Coming from a European country where usually we look at citizens of Ethiopia and similar countries as underdeveloped it made me seriously re evaluate my values and priorities in life. It was fascinating to see how happy these people really are.
I would recommend this to anyone. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity that will mark their lives forever. EVS programmes make such an experience reachable and not impossible for young people who often do not have the resources (money) but have time and desire to do something like this.
Anyone who thinks that such an experience might be a waste of time is missing out. This experience taught me more than any school or university ever did. To have an opportunity to meet people from another culture and be able to live with them in their own country is truly a remarkable experience.
View some writtings by the volunteers themselves here.