Elisa took part as a volunteer in the European Solidarity Corps project “European Solidarity Voices”, coordinated by Associazione Kora in Granarolo dell’Emilia, Italy, from 1 April to 19 December 2019. Elisa supported the local staff of Associazione L’Arca – L’Arcobaleno in different activities with people with disabilities: artistic workshops (ceramics, music, theatre…), sports, recreational activities (games, walks, visits, watching films…), sharing daily life and giving value to the gifts that each of us have.

This is her story!

I’m Elisa Curto Sánchez and in my project I worked with disabled people. I chose this project because when they talked with me about the activities I liked them very much, and for this project, I can make their life easier.

I thought to go to a community where people needed help in their lives, but after being there for two months I started to see that it wasn’t just that. They are people who just need company. And after so much time you start to be part of a family, without realizing it.

In this experience, I have known myself better and I saw how little by little I felt better about myself because they felt better and they were happy. Also, being in another country you learn a new language (because if you don’t learn their language you can’t communicate with them and you can feel frustrated), you meet other volunteers with whom you make very strong friendships and who are in the same situation. I have my best memories of when we went holidays together because that is when you really live with them and know them as they are in their daily lives. For example, one day this holiday, one of them began to tell jokes and another day we made cookies together.

Another of my favorite moments was when we did the animated reading for children in libraries. We used to do it with a projector and different animations. And we did a presentation in Milan about “Ranocchio”, which is a book they invented.

I bring home many beautiful memories, but above all, a new family.

My suggestion for future volunteers is: keep calm, don’t panic because at first, it is normal since you don’t know anything and, in my case, the language was also a difficulty. Be patient to meet new people, create bonds and feel calmer. It is a very beautiful experience, do not give up on occasional difficulties.

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