European Voluntary Service (EVS) is the Erasmus Plus project that allows a young person (17–30 years old) to become a volunteer in another country for a specified period, normally between 2–12 months. The service activities can be, for example, in the field of environment, arts and culture, activities with children, young people or the elderly, heritage or sports and leisure activities. Each project has three partners, a volunteer, a sending organisation and a host organisation. The project has to take place in a country other than where the volunteers live, is non-profit-making and lasts for a limited period (maximum 12 months).
The EVS Effect is an EVS project coordinated by YINFO – Genclik Bilgi Merkezi Dernegi, a Turkish NGO, in which YINFO is also the sending organisation. The hosting organisation is CREED (Economic Resources and Education for Development Centre), from Piatra Neamt, Romania.
Through the activities of this project, the volunteers were expected to improve themselves in both personal and social aspects and to learn the norms of European Citizenship, Intercultural Learning, Active Citizenship. The expected long-term effect of the project is that the volunteers will proceed in their lives actively with the skills they will have gained during the whole project.
Mehmet Ali Amkioglu, one of the volunteers, was involved in the following activities: Turkish class lessons for the community at the city library; EVS and Erasmus+ presentations in schools and high schools; Turkish culture presentations in schools and social centres; activities with children in social centres; activities with Down Syndrome children and young people; organising and participating in nonformal activities in the community (for example, Living Library); Active involvement in general CREED activities; interaction with local volunteers and other associations.
At the end of his EVS project in Piatra Neamt, he shared his impressions and feelings:
“I was very lucky, because I started EVS in the best time for me, after university; I found this chance to go to another country and to live in another culture for a long time.
I met many different people and I have now friends from many different cultures and we shared some time together and we had the chance to talk about cultures and countries.
The people were very kind and helpful and I realised that Turkish culture and Romanian culture are actually not so different and I saw many similar things; that made me very happy.
EVS helps you to have a new vision and to throw all prejudice from your mind. It also helps you to be an international person, it makes the person courageous.
Piatra Neamt is a small city and all people that I met made me feel very good. The people are very open minded, like Turkish people. During EVS, I also found time to prepare myself for my future.
I improved many skills during this programme and the most important one was that I had many chances to talk in front of many people and that made me a very confident, calm and strong person.
If you asked me to explain these EVS experiences with one word, it would be just <<amazing>>! I can advise that amazing experiences for everybody, for sure!”