During 2017 and 2018, we sent several young Finns all over the world through the EVS voluntary service program. Through EVS, which is part of the Erasmus+ program, young Europeans can travel abroad and work in different projects in areas such as youth work, cultural activities, social care or environmental protection. Here we introduce four different EVS-projects where RKI has sent young people to learn and experience new things.
Currently, we are not sending youth abroad through EVS-program.
Henriikka travelled to Figueira da Foz, Portugal in the summer of 2017, as the first EVS volunteer sent by RKI. She spent one year working for a local stable called Cavalo Amigo, which offers equine-assisted therapy for people with different abilities.
After half a year, we visited Henriikka in Portugal to see how she was doing in Figueira da Fo.
In June 2018, on the same day as Finns celebrated Midsummer Eve, the Ljubljana Pride week had its long-awaited parade on the streets of the city. Amongst almost 3 000 people demonstrating for LGBTIQ+ rights were also Julianna Brandt, Dakota Demirbas and Heini Salo from Finland. They were there to work as EVS-volunteers for Ljubljana Pride and to march for the human rights.
All three of them were sent to Slovenia by RKI, together with 11 other Finns volunteering in the city. Some of the people stayed for one year, others for one or two months, like Heini, Julianna and Dakota. Julianna’s work was to produce guidelines for inclusive and intersectional participation for different NGOs and organisations. She also facilitated a support group for LGBTQI+ people. Dakota’s main job was fundraising, finding suitable work partners and hosting an international study visit. During Pride week Heini documented events by taking and editing photos and videos.
Read more about their experience in our multimedia article Not Just a Parade.
Finns Joona and Otso switched their flat landscape of Oulu in Finland, to the hilly and beautiful town of Zagorje in Slovenia in May. They took part in a voluntary work project in Mladinski centre Zagorje for six weeks.
The group organized three festivals. The purpose of the festivals was to increase co-operation between locals, the youth centre and the whole community, together with the international EVS volunteer team.
Joona believes that by meeting different people and working together, everyone can learn from each other.
For Otso, peace means that you can express yourself and not be afraid of the future.
Besides sending volunteers from RKI to the world, we have also had the joy of hosting our first EVS volunteer ever, Charlotte Dumoulin from Belgium. Charlotte worked as a part of our youth work team in 2017–2018 for a year. She chose to come to Finland because of how famous the Finnish education system and its methods are around the world.
In Belgium, Charlotte studied International Cooperation and Development for five years at the University of Liege. After some international experience during her studies (an internship and a voluntary service), she noticed that there is still a lot of work to do in Europe and so she decided to dedicate herself to a career in global education.
Charlotte worked for us for a year and got to participate in several interesting youth work projects. She felt like she learned a lot during her stay, both professional skills and methods as well as being more self-confident. She also developed an appreciation for the Finnish culture, for things such as the importance of nature, not always having to have small talk and the relaxed atmosphere at many workplaces.