1. My workcamp in Turkey
As an effect of this story, I want people from my country to also use these workcamp opportunities
to discover places, meet people and create experiences that they would proudly talk about.
I did not think a lot before going to my first workcamp, I just did it. I wanted to travel and I wanted
to help. I wanted to achieve a dream of mine. I did! I flied, I escaped, I was lost, I enjoyed it. It was
great, maybe because I did not create any expectations, but if I would still have created them, they
would not be equal with the real experience.
As a start of a journey I went one day later than the other volunteers due to flight problems. I went
there after one of the longest days of my life. First of all, it was my first flight with an airplane, and
also my first time being thousands of kilometres away from my family. I still didn’t feel alone. I had
everything I needed, the leaders, people, and conditions were enough to me make me feel good and
appreciated. I made good friends, with who I am still in contact.
I was in Turkey. We went to a different place every day, discovering the unlimited beauties of
the country. Every day was a new surprise, and it just kept getting better and better. I would
recommend the workcamps to anyone who is seeking great experiences.
– Anda Riza
2. My workcamp experience in Albania
A volunteer travelled with GAIA to a workcamp called ‘Youth for Human Rights’ to Tirana. Here she writes about her experiences:
The work camp, which took place in the village of Ndroq, 18 km southeast of Tirana, started off with two brainstorming sessions for the planning of awareness raising activities on the topics of human rights, anti-discrimination, domestic violence and environmental protection with students from the elementary and high school.
The volunteers planned 45 minutes sessions, which comprised non-formal ways of education such as role plays, discussions, songs and creating posters. These activities covered the above mentioned issues and addressed them in a simple way so as to make people think about their own stereotypes and behavior.
The activities were designed to point out what kind of stereotypes exist and to make them aware that such stereotypes hinder positive interactions between people of different ethnicity and nationality.
I think such activities should be repeated on a regular basis and they should also include trainings for teachers and parents. Second, I think there should be a stronger emphasize on the role of the students that receive training and the impact they can have on their families and friends.
The project ended with the presentation of the theater play that the students had prepared. It included a singing part, a rapping part, a dancing part, an acting part and ended with the entire school dancing to Albanian folksongs in the school yard. For me, it was a special cultural experience I will not forget. I learned how to interact in a different cultural environment and to handle a big group of students. Above all, I enjoyed very much working with the students that contributed enthusiastically to the final theatre play, which raised awareness among the rest of the students in the school.
text and pictures by Laetitia Sengseis