Coloured Glasses – Cultural Awareness Workshop – Meril Kiskonen – 4 months volunteering in Belgium
Name of the project: Coloured Glasses – Cultural Awareness Workshop
Date: 20.05.2023 – 31.08.2023
City/Country: Mechelen, Belgium
Hosting organization: YFU
My name is Meril, and I am from Estonia. I had the incredible opportunity to participate in a European Solidarity Corps project in Belgium. My project was titled “Coloured Glasses – Cultural Awareness Workshop,” and I worked for an NGO called YFU Flanders (Youth for Understanding), which primarily focuses on cultural exchange programs with an educational purpose for peers aged 14-18. I served as a Coloured Glasses intern, where my main responsibilities involved facilitating and organizing cultural awareness workshops and training new facilitators. These workshops mainly took place in schools and were emotionally moving and enriching experiences. Coloured Glasses primarily focuses on cultural awareness through informal educational methods and brings out important social issues such as discrimination and homophobia.
Additionally, since it was summer and schools were mostly closed, I had the chance to engage in other activities, including marketing and more. For my personal ESC project, I created a podcast called “THE PURPLE PRESS PODCAST,” which focused on spreading a global citizen mentality and providing insights into exchange years, living abroad, becoming a host family, and volunteering. The aim was to inspire people to make the world their home.
In addition to my work, I organized a thank-you event, a picnic, for volunteers. It was a wonderful way to express gratitude and celebrate the hard work and dedication of the volunteers. This event highlighted the sense of community and appreciation within the project.
I also had the opportunity to explore Belgium further and was pleasantly surprised by its diversity and the depth of its interests. The country offered a rich tapestry of culture, history, and experiences, making my time there even more exciting and enriching.
Moreover, I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Belgium. I biked a lot everywhere, as it’s very popular in Belgium, and I absolutely loved it. I explored many cities, rode along the Belgian coastline, and even ventured to nearby countries like the Netherlands. Belgium is renowned for its fries, chocolate, waffles, beer, and festivals, all of which I indulged in during my stay.
Overall, my experience in Belgium through the European Solidarity Corps was incredibly rewarding. It allowed me to grow both personally and professionally while enjoying the rich culture and diverse experiences the country had to offer, particularly in the context of facilitating Coloured Glasses workshops that addressed crucial social issues and organizing a memorable thank-you event for volunteers.
Link for the podcast: https://open.spotify.com/
This Project was financed by European Commission’s European Solidarity Corps Programme.