The project is organised in the frame of European Solidarity Corps, an initiative that enables young people to volunteer on projects across Europe with the purpose of benefiting local communities, as well as themselves. The aim is to build more inclusive societies, support vulnerable people, and to respond to social challenges.

This project is coordinated by Comune di Pescara, Associazione Kora and Vicolocorto, funded by European Commission’s Erasmus+ programme through Agenzia Nazionale Giovani – ANG and in partnership with Comune di Norcia.

Article by Natalia Dulba, ESC volunteer in Norcia

Three different continents, ten different countries, sixteen different personalities and one common summer aim – to help people.

A call about volunteering project in Italy flew around many countries to inform about project in Norcia. That was how sixteen future volunteers found out about needs in Umbria. Because of curiousity, desire to help and feeling that they want to do something important for the world, they decided to apply and start new chapter in this region.

65 days of European Solidarity Corps include many activities with children, disabled and elderly from Norcia and small towns that surround the city. Twice a week kids from 3 years old can attend English classes. To be more successful, our plan is to separate two groups – younger children and teenagers to fit their level of English. Following the idea that the most effective way to learn is through play, we decide to compare these two concepts and use numerous games to show the kids that they can have fun during the lessons.

Running  parallel to that is spending time with disabled and elderly people in Norcia and also with adults. Furthermore staying in the town around mountains can be incredible chance to meet other cultures for both the locals and volunteers. Everyday locals can see group of young, smiling people with white T-shirt from the European Solidarity Corps around the town.

We would like to start being part of the community by organising activities for all inhabitants and making friends. All those stories about life before and after earthquake provide great motivation to help. Because of the participation in fourth edition of the project we are able to see how environment in Norcia changes, especially in people’s minds. Day by day they are more open on this ongoing process. Sixteen volunteers have been starting to make friends with locals and bringing a breath of fresh air. Organising karaoke night, music/sustainability Hempiness Festival or playing in Monello summer club with kids is perfect example of sharing positive energy from ten countries around Europe and more.

After the first two weeks of the project, we realise that the biggest challenge for volunteers is the language barrier. But on the other hand, even if someone is not fluent in Italian language this project is the best proof of the theory, that you can communicate with people without an advanced knowledge of Italian. All you need is openness, then you can talk with people of all ages. It proves about the importance of big/small impact: willingness to help is understandable in every language!

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