Before starting my EVS project I was aware that I would have the chance to meet people from different generations, and I was very excited about the idea. However, I never thought I would learn and gain so much from that experience in such a short period of time.
- One of the ladies we visit weekly is talking to Mikkel about her family
It was on my third week here in Vukovar that I got to meet the elderly who are part of a project led by a non-profit organisation Udruga Osoba s Invaliditetom VUKA Vukovar recently established in the city. It provides support for people with disabilities or in need of social and emotional support.
This organisation is now cooperating with Youth Peace Group Danube, so EVS volunteers get the opportunity of visiting elderly, get to know their stories, particular needs and provide all the needed support. So far it has been a wonderful experience as we got to know people who all had one thing in common: they all received us at their homes with open heart and always made us feel safe and comfortable.
All of them live alone and most of their family members moved abroad or live far from Vukovar. They struggle with loneliness, isolation and absence of a good conversation. However, they have so much to offer, share and teach from their lives, and it is this that makes this project so special and unforgettable.
So far this experience has been immensely inspiring and enriching for me as I see it as an opportunity to improve as a human being. These people have shown us that sometimes the linguistic or cultural differences are no reason for people to be apart.
- An intercultural activity with the elderly in YPGD in which everybody had the chance to learn more from traditional sayings from Croatia, France and Portugal.
Since we met them, we have been able to observe and learn how easy it is to communicate in a positive way and create a connection. It is all about listening to what the other is sharing, understand and show love and affection; something universal that everybody can experience, making us more close everyday.
- The volunteers help the elderly with the housework and spend some quality time getting to know them
- Ana Filipa Saborida do Amaral