Alexandra took part as a volunteer in the European Solidarity Corps project “European Solidarity Voices”, coordinated by Associazione Kora and hosted by Associazione L’Arca – “Il Chicco” in Ciampino, Italy, from 1 June to 31 December 2019. Alexandra supported the local staff of “Il Chicco” 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 has.

This is her story!

The idea of living in Italy was always in the back of my mind. I can’t remember if it was for the language, the pizza or driving a Vespa through the small colourful streets, but I knew that if the opportunity came I would take it.

After high school in France, I went to live in Berlin to be an Au Pair. I fell in love with the job and the kids. Their youth and curiosity pushed me to keep going and help me find the desire to invest time in a new project.

A friend talked to me about EVS and before I understood what was happening I was already Skyping with the community “Il Chicco”, a branch of L’arche near Rome. A volunteering experience in the heart of Italy surrounded by people who only have loved to share. I had found the perfect Project.

Very quickly I became fond of the country and its loud citizens, then I started joining in on the community activities and slowly started to feel helpful. With the help of Giulio my project supervisor, I came up with professional and personal goals to achieve. Now after six months I can see and appreciate my progress.

The beautiful residents of the community “Il Chicco” truly dug a way into my heart, they taught me to live without walls, open to whatever goes my way. To live sharing love and tenderness and the ability to accept everyone as is. Once my voluntary work came to an end, the community in need asked me to stay and work as an assistant. No doubts about it, this EVS lead to me finding work, and will probably also help me in the future.

To be honest I really don’t think I can thank enough all the people that got me where I am today. On the other hand, I can try my best to inspire people, to tell them that they do have the courage, that all they need is to find a project they’re passionate about and a little push. Whether they go to the other side of the world or just next door, communities like mine and also youth projects need volunteers. They need their presence to never run out of ideas and fresh air. Jumping into a new environment, maybe a new country or a new profession won’t be easy at first, but it’s worth every minute, especially when you are wanted, needed and welcomed into open arms. So if you’re still hesitant, search well, find that project that suits you best, and go. Why not?

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