Zdravei! I’m Vivien, 23 year’s old. A Social worker by profession and a volunteer from YSDA-Philippines.
It has been a great pleasure for me to have my job shadowing in EVS-FOCUS, Bulgaria. My experiences there simply makes me realize that I can spread my hand strong enough like a wing to fly in different places and long enough to touch people from various parts of the world.
Going to Europe in general is one of my biggest dream which I thought will hardly achieved. I deeply thank people who helped, trust and gave me this chance because it made me believed more that I am capable of achieving my dreams as long as I believe and work hard for it.
Flying to Bulgaria and explore how EVS works opens my mind to a deeper meaning of Volunteerism. Volunteering asserts what is necessary so change will be possible. It fills the gap of what is undone by a structural system of government or working group to be able to deliver what is just for disadvantaged sectors. It contributes to create balance in the world of inequality. It teaches people to be self-equipped in dealing with global situations.
A volunteer’s shoulder can conquer tears; their smile can be converted into multiple forms of happiness; their hands teaches other people to hold each other’s hand to create solidarity and their feet walks with people having lost direction.
Going to a different country enable’s me to empathize more on the situations of volunteers going abroad. They left their old self, family, friends, career, and comfort zone not just about learning and having new experience nor adapting to different culture and environment but to discover a new self and share their strengths from within.
I met 4 Italian, 3 Spanish, 1 Turkish and 1 Thai volunteers who are very kind and humble. Each of them have unique qualities and great potentials as assets of the Association FOCUS.
In Pazardhik I found Association FOCUS which does not just make people as the center of their work, but they go beyond an eye can see and explore potentials in each being.
Having a chance to have direct guidance with Ivo during the period of my job shadowing, I see a great leader which can be followed and looked up to. He welcomes and open the door of opportunities to his volunteers. Creates balance on holding and letting them grow. What is very important is he have a heart of what he do and make his best for people he works with.
In my short period of stay I was able to see him not just a leader or President of his NGO but also as a good friend, a brother and a son. He is a humble enough to make me see as a young dreamer that everybody starts with simple things to bigger ones and I can also be a great person that is capable of chasing high. I see him working 9/9 every day and he is there to help out in the needs of his volunteers. Every people and every organizations deal with diverse form of problems and situations but I found him strong enough to deal it with a smile in his face J
In my job shadowing I also had chance of exploring the work of the Association in the Activity center, going to a different school and exploring partnership with other organizations.
Working in the Daily Center with People having cognitive and physical impairment was a great challenge for me. I feel sad sometimes of doing the same activity every day, playing the same game all over and have same routine.. however, this experience moved me with a lot of realizations as a person. It thought me that I could not rush things and jump to end result of my effort. Helping people is a long way process which teaches us patience, dedication and love for our work. It teaches me living their way of life and be innovative in suggesting new ideas to create a difference. Also, this thought me that it’s not just about my feelings as a volunteer which matters, it’s mainly for the people whom I work with which needs more attention and care.
In the School-youth center, I met Mitko. He is very good in math! J A so lovely young boy which I will not really forget to mention. Indifference, disability and limitations indeed are only with the minds of people who looks at them.
Exploring other Association like Chovekolubie struck me that chess therapy is used in Eastern Europe as an approach to help people with chronic mental illness. They transfer the knowledge of the game to help people realize new strategies in dealing with real life circumstances. These kinds of things is good to discover and can be helpful starting point for a helping relationship.
In Bulgaria, I met different kinds of people and explored a lot of places. It is a beautiful country living a simple way of life. You can find many structures from old civilization and very hospitable people. I went from Pazardjhik, Plovdiv, Varna, Kazanlak, Die Asen-Festung, Sofia and among all of these places my favorite is Batak. Here I found a very beautiful landscape and most importantly an amazing family.
In short period of time I was able to feel and observe how a Bulgarian family are. I met a very caring father who patiently take care of his daughter. He was my first Bulgarian teacher. I learned Da, Dobre, Samolet Kotka and kuche; J A Mother who cooks very well, my stomach was always full of delicious Bulgarian food with my favorite dish -drunk chicken; J and a brother who is understanding and always secures the needs of his family. Thank you very much for this wonderful experience. It was indeed one of the best!
I went home in the Philippines with greater motivation and brighter way of looking at possibilities in life. This is just a start of my journey in Europe... I will meet you all again! J Vsichko naĭ-khubavo!