How short-term volunteering can be fun and useful

Hello everyone my name’s Wiam, and I was a short-term volunteer for Eufemia in June and July of 2022!

My experience started on the 24th of June and I was greeted by extremely welcoming and cheerful roommates who will eventually become people I hold very dear to my heart.

How it could be convenient 

Short-term volunteering doesn’t attract that many people, but I’ve found it extremely convenient. I was still enrolled in a university program, so volunteering for longer than two to three months was out of the question. Still, social work has always interested me and I knew I wanted to get some first-hand experience somehow. The ESC program was also beneficial for me, because volunteering in a different country for a while isn’t something financially doable for that many people, me included. So having the financial burden off me with transportation and accommodation being provided, as well as a daily financial allowance given to us, really helped me. I knew if I didn’t take the opportunity, I would have never done it! It is incredible also that this program is accessible to any resident of the EU, I do live in France, but I hold Moroccan (extra EU) citizenship, and this being made accessible to me is also a great incentive.

Things I’ve done

Eufemia is a partner of many local non-profits in Torino, so whenever help was needed somewhere, we would go. Along with Pauline, the other volunteer from France who was on the same program as me, we were mainly volunteering in Madiba, a non-profit that works with youth located in Beinasco, a suburb of Torino.

Our tasks involved a lot of reappropriation of public spaces in Beinasco and Piossasco along with teenagers aged from 12 to 18 years old. When we were not in Beinasco, we were in Torino, either helping on Market days with recuperation and distribution of unsold fruits and vegetables to people in need, a bonus of this activity is we could take whatever was left after the distribution back to the flat and share it with other volunteers 🙂

Other Torino activities involved participating in hosting associative events, taking part in cooking labs with people from over the world, organizing English sessions alongside other volunteers, and benefiting from Italian classes.

Advice to anyone looking to do short-term volunteering

Go for it, with the financial burden being much less heavy, as well as the period being much less constraining than it would have been if it was for a year, I encourage you to do it.

Language barrier

It was definitely present, but in the north of Italy, they articulate very well, and after about 3 weeks to a month as well as an ongoing Duolingo strike (that’s up to 123 days now), I was able to understand a lot more than in the beginning.

How it encouraged me to pursue what I’m doing now

Having this first experience in a non-profit reinforced my willingness to make it my full-time occupation.

As soon as I came back home, I started looking for opportunities to stay in social work. I’m still enrolled in my university program, but I’m in a work-study contract with an association that fights against the social exclusion of people living in precarious conditions so that each one of us can thrive in a more inclusive society.

Main take away from my volunteering experience

We can all individually and collectively contribute to making our world a better and more inclusive place to live in, and many people are willing to do that.