Volunteering for Peace and Development
Marco: During my university studies I had conducted some research into Georgia’s conflicts, so when I heard of this volunteering opportunity at Kartlosi’s I felt extremely enthusiastic and I did not hesitate to join this wonderful team. In ten months I could get first-hand experience of the post-conflict rehabilitation process in the Shida Kartli region: together with my colleague Martine, we worked in various IDP settlements across the region, engaging with the young people who live there through different activities aimed at empowering them, developing their skills and favouring their inclusion into the wider society.
Personally, working with these communities rewarded me with immense gratitude: even the smallest gesture or simplest activity were always met with great enthusiasm and thankfulness. Through my work I have felt a valuable social resource and I believe this is priceless. Equally, it has been a great chance to familiarise with non-formal education methods and develop a number of soft skills that I am sure will prove useful in whatever I will do in the future. I believe that I should thank Bridge of Friendship Kartlosi for the great freedom that I have always been given in choosing the activities that most suited my interests and develop them in the direction I preferred. In this sense, this has been a great chance to reflect on what I truly like doing, understand what I am better at, and possibly realise what I would like to do now that this great experience has come to a close.
Martine: My decision to join Bridge of Friendship Kartlosi was motivated by the great curiosity towards the reality of a country that I felt I did not know enough – I wanted to explore the Georgian culture, language and history, and I can say that this has definitely been an experience!
On a professional level, the opportunity to work at Kartlosi’s has been equally enriching. The great freedom that I was granted allowed me to focus my activities on topics that I have very much at heart, like cultural diversity. Indeed, I believe that now more than ever the education to intercultural dialogue proves to be indispensable in our societies. Along with my colleague Marco, we organised a seminar for local students on this subject, which was for me a chance to reflect even further on its significance, especially thanks to the precious feedback received from our students, who always looked enthusiastic and eager to express their views. Sure, preparing the seminar required a lot of work, and sometimes the attendance was lower than expected, but this surely did not discourage us! On the contrary, I could realise how important it is to work devotedly even with just a handful of people, because in our own small way we can always contribute to changing things for the better.
With Marco we also wrote a project proposal for a youth exchange. Honestly, we did not know where to start from, but then, with a lot of dedication and willingness to learn, we were able to complete it and submit it. To see the project slowly turning from an initial idea into a full proposal was one of the things that gave us most satisfaction. In general, having the chance to try and put an idea into practice was something that helped me find out more about my strengths and weaknesses, contributing enormously to my personal development.