For the last 9 months I’ve been a volunteer in the Special kindergarten 393 working with disabled children. Very soon my project will finish and looking back I see how drastically it has changed my life.
First of all, it happened because of my dear kids who make me believe that they are the path I was looking for my whole life. During the project I had my ups and downs in feeding them, playing with them and educating them. All of this has taught me to perceive kids so much deeply, see how much they really understand and that they are able to learn a lot of things. I remember how I walked in one of the groups (the hardest one of four) in the beginning of my project: perplexed, silent and confused. I adored kids but I was unaware of how I should speak and play with them, should I tell something or if they understand me.
8 months later I started new study year in the same group and I feel like I’ve spent here much more time because all kids and teachers became my true family and I can’t imagine how could I live without this outstanding team before. Now I know all their names, the way they should be fed, their favorite toys, how to speak with them. I managed to learn different kinds of alternative communication and some useful psychological tricks in work with kids. Thanks to these 9 months I’ve decided to change my career completely and after returning to my country get ready to study hard to be able to work with disabled children.
This project also gave me an opportunity to participate in two big events: Schuman Parade and Warsaw Eco-picnic. The first one was hosted by my coordinating organization with a goal to promote European Union values. I and other volunteers from different kindergartens had to present some activities connected to our volunteering and our nations. So, my kindergarten presented different games like guessing taste of something with closed eyes, guessing what was in the bag just by touching an object with one hand, learning a song which included only gestures, etc. The second one involved a lot of initiatives and we presented a board game where we had five questions about each country of our volunteers. It was really exciting to see how people get interested in answering all of the questions just because they we interested to know it.
Also this EVS project gave me an extraordinary opportunity to travel a lot, so I’ve visited Lithuania, Latvia, Austria, Portugal, Hungary (my first hitchhiking!!!) and lots of Polish cities (Krakow, Wroclaw, Gdansk, Sopot, Torun, Lublin). All of these travels wouldn’t be possible without my sunny and kind friends from the project! Now I’m totally travel-addicted and I’m afraid I won’t be able to quit it.
My level of Polish deserves a few words too. The first months I was listening a lot but couldn’t reply properly. Now I can express more, have a pretty good conversation but we all know that sky is the limit.
So, as you see, EVS it is a part of life that gives you so much that after it you just can’t be passive or lazy, the world is waiting for you and there is no time to waste.
Maryna Isaieva, 23 years old, Kyiv