10 young volunteers from 5 different countries are in Norcia to help rebuild the social community, damaged after the 2016 earthquakes that hit central Italy.

This project is coordinated by Associazione Kora, funded by European Commission through Agenzia Nazionale Giovani – ANG and it’s implemented in partnership with Comune di Norcia in the frame of the European Solidarity Corps (ESC), an initiative that allows 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 article was written by Selim Arda Tekin, ESC volunteer from Turkiye.

It’s been three weeks since we arrived in Norcia. In this period, we settled down and organised our duties in order to provide satisfying and effective activities for the people of Norcia. We discovered the city, and we enjoyed the Estate Nursina festival. If you have never been to this festival, please reconsider, the music and dance performances are stunning! The third week was intense, due to the Hempiness Festival, our team worked really hard to establish the festival ground. That is not only it, our volunteers were in service during the festival too!

The most important event of the week was the Hempiness Music Festival for sure. Our volunteers worked hard to set up the festival ground and make sure that everything was perfect for the people who came there to have fun! First day, our volunteers cleaned the kitchen and tidied up the eating space. Second day, they worked on covering the fences with nets in order to separate the bathrooms and interdicted areas. Third day they continued to prepare the festival grounds. During the festival, our volunteers had different duties in merchandising, bar, eating area and ticket office. They helped the festival staff and they assisted guests in order to make sure that everyone had a great time.

The following week was a bit more chill for our volunteers. They continued to do their regular duties but there was an extra event for sure: they organised an environmental day for the kids! Our coordinator Giulio and our volunteers Matias, Vincent, Alessia and Selim had a wonderful time with the kids. They spread awareness on the ecological problems that mankind is facing nowadays through games… and a fairy tale. Now, kids have more knowledge about environmental problems than before and they bonded with our volunteers even more!

Let’s have a look at our volunteers thoughts upon their time in Norcia.

Matias, 18 years old, Spain: “It’s our 3th week here. First week was an orientation process for me. A sudden change of environment makes you surprised and it takes time to fully fit in o the place that you are in. Now, I feel more adapted to Norcia. I am working with kids in Monello summer club. In the beginning they were not adapted to the new situation so they were shy, after a while they started to trust us. They are still going through an adaptation process but I can see that they trust us more now. Other than that, Norcia is a pretty, small town. Every night there is a different show, a concert, a dance show, a theatre etc for the Estate Nursina. It is a great opportunity to spend the night. But Norcia’s position is challenging, it is not close to other cities so it is a negative element when you want to explore Italy without having a car.”

Alessia, 21 years old, Italy : “It’s an adaptation process, a new place, new people, new environment. All of these elements take time. I’m still going through an adaptation process, but I can say that I feel more comfortable than the beginning. Working with the kids shows you the importance of trust, their trust to us is growing day by day. I’m happy to be working with kids.”

Ki, 22 years old, Portugal : “It’s been great for me. Working with the kids is an adjustment. It was challenging at the beginning because my Italian wasn’t perfect and I had to communicate with them and make them feel comfortable. It nearly took the first week for me to gain their full trust. Now, they feel comfortable around me and I feel the same. I feel like I’m home in Norcia, even though my home is 2000 kilometres away. Norcia is a warm community, every time I go in the city I see faces that I know and I like this. It’s a really great experience for me to be here.”

Keep on following us on our social media, @Europe4Norcia on Instagram and Europe for Solidarity on Facebook, to find out what we’ll do next: among the other things, an international music festival!

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