The project 'Be A Volunteer' is a youth exchange project hosting a number of volunteers coming from Spain, Ukraine, Hungary and Germany. The activity programme planned for this project is one that touches upon several themes and aspects of the Emergency Response & Rescue Corps.
The project aims to reciprocate all the help and assistance provided by volunteers as they generously and spontaneously give their time to help make the ERRC organization what it is today. The ERRC invests significantly in the provision of training and unique opportunities for its volunteers and has over the years built a good relationship with the volunteering community locally and it is for these reasons that the ERRC will be extending such opportunities to International youths who would like to volunteer within the same organization.
The project’s objectives were reached as the ERRC made sure to:
- Provide a unique opportunity for them to experience a different country and a different culture;
- Provide an opportunity for them to contribute to the daily work of the ERRC as a charitable organization preventing and alleviating emergency situations involving people at risk;
- Provide an opportunity for these youths to participate in rescue events, training opportunities in first aid and other rescue operations;
The ‘Be A Volunteer’ project will run all through 2017 and 2018 and was made possible with financial support by Erasmus+, managed by the EUPA and supported by MEUSAC
The start of the project was inaugurated with a Press Release shown on the right:
During the two-year period that the project was running eleven (11) foreign volunteers from
- Ukraine (6),
- Spain (2),
- Hungary (2),
- Germany (1)
The participants took part in numerous ERRC activities as well as providing assistance to the various events that the ERRC is entrusted with.
Kathrin Boolke (Germany) said:
“I spent my time as a European Volunteer at the Emergency Response and Rescue Corps (E.R.R.C.) in Gozo, Malta.
During my six-months-stay (from July 2018 till January 2019) I gained new experiences and learnt a lot about a rescue organisation, other European cultures and myself.
When I arrived on Gozo, the E.R.R.C. had to face problems in its structure afte the Secretary General (my contact person) had left the organisation. So the beginning was hard for me because it was not clear how the E.R.R.C. would proceed and what my tasks as a volunteer would be.
Supporting the organisation of the annual European Youth camp helped me to overcome with these starting challenges because I had my own projects and felt as a equal team member right from the beginning. Soon a new volunteer arrived and we and the most oft the other volunteers built up a real EVS team. This turned the whole stay into a great, unforgettable time as well.
After I was trained as a First Aider, I could start to work on events around Gozo and Malta where the ERRC was providing the first aid services. Later I started to work as a Lifeguard on the local beaches and helped in the office of the Headquarter. To work in an ambulance and on the beaches was a complete new experience for me and I truly got an insight into the medical work field. To work in different places and have different tasks made my EVS more interesting and divers. Even using our rescue boats to get to work was a great experience on its own.
Furthermore, I learned to work under pressure and to interact with different people. Here I especially would like to say that working with an international crew from different countries and different stages of life, was one of the best experiences I made on Gozo. I got to know many various points of views and opinions.
What I also enjoyed was to be involved into youth work like the annual camp or an event for local children which we, the EVS volunteers, planned and runned together. I really liked that we were allowed to work independently and could put our own ideas into practise on the one hand, but on the other hand also knew that we could always ask for help.
During my stay I more and more dived not only into the local Gozitan culture but also got to know so many different European cultures. The ambulance services were part of the cultural experience as well because I worked on (traditional) events and feasts around the Island.
It was not always easy to live together with different characters from different countries in our EVS flat, but having to face some conflicts, strenghtened my own strategy to solve them.
Besides I got more independent and self-confident.
The most important part of my EVS time was to make contacts and build friendships across national borders. The organisiation was more than a hosting organisation for me. I always had the feeling that my opinion was important and that I was respected as the person who I am. My colleagues and the other volunteers turned into real friends.
In a nutshell, the EVS time was a great experience which I don´t want to miss: I could not only learn about rescue and first aid, improve my English skills and live a sunny Island life in a different culture, but also make frienships, learn to be more open-minded and develop my own personality.”
The project came to an end at the close of 2018 and a press release was issued as shown on the right:
The ERRC is grateful to these youths as well as to the financing and supporting agencies as the organization was able to reciprocate all the help and assistance provided by volunteers. The volunteers acquired new skills, competencies and experience within an inter-cultural environment whereby active citizenship was promoted and practiced.