Balkan Hotspot – Carol Valjaots – 7 months volunteering in Greece
Name of the project: Balkan Hotspot
City/Country: Thessaloniki, Greece
I think in order to really share my experience in Greece I would need to write a book. It’s very hard to put down seven months in one article since I did so much.
The biggest adventure of my life started in May. I was chosen to do my European Solidarity Corps already 6 months before that but because of Covid-19, I decided to postpone it a little bit. My hosting organization, United Societies of Balkans (USB) is located in Thessaloniki, Greece. I was volunteering in their ESC program Balkan Hotspot which is a media lab run by only volunteers.
My tasks during those seven months were to write articles, make photos and videos, run social media, host events, and most importantly address important issues and make creative media content.
Thanks to my organization and coordinator, I discovered how much I love video making and I had an opportunity to practice, create and I even gave two workshops on the topic. Without realizing it at first I discovered what I would love to do in the future in a professional field.
I created videos of beach cleanups, language exchange events, interviews with youth workers, about the plastic situation in Greece, homophobia, other ESC experiences, beauty standards and so much more.
The most important work I did was definitely the video of Beauty Standards where I shaved my head to raise awareness of beauty definitions and also to address the topic of cancer. I also collaborated with one breast cancer prevention organization and made an activity on the topic.
Time in Greece flew very fast but between work and work, I was still able to travel a little bit. I visited amazing places from all around Greece, hiked on different mountains, went to two small islands, and checked out the historical sites of Athens.
European Solidarity Corps really changed my life and me. I think that volunteering overall should be so much more common. And in order to do that we don’t actually need to travel out of our countries. This experience pushed me to think about issues that the world as a community needs to address more and even now when I’m back in Estonia I’m looking for different ways to continue the work that I did in Greece.
Even if the thing that you do seems very small for you, it could change someone’s life completely.
This Project was financed by European Commission’s European Solidarity Corps Programme