As we now complete our European Solidarity Corps program ‘’Wheeling2Volunteer’’ we can reflect and feel extremely happy about its significant impact on the participants life, our organisation’s development, the community of Raches as well as the regional ecosystem.
Despite the outbreak of corona virus, the ESC volunteers came to Raches for 5 months as planned and we managed to make more than 100 different meaningful activities which had visible and invisible effects to the participants and the community.
Lotte from Belgium, Alex from Portugal, Clelia from France and Oriol from Spain were the first ESC volunteers we ever had with Wheeling2help, and we feel deeply honoured and grateful that our paths crossed and together we accomplished so much! Big thank you from the bottom of our heart to all the volunteers, organisations, partners, authorities, European Solidarity Corps Greece and everyone that contributed their energy, time, passion and hard work to make all these great things happened!
Our base in Greece is at NISI Raches, an innovative Glamping inspired by our travels in Africa and Asia, a multi events venue and an educational centre open to the community of Raches where we offer many non-formal educational workshops and activities.
During Wheeling2Volunteer ESC program, the volunteers mainly focused on environmental, cultural, outdoor & sports, digital marketing and educational activities, which are a core part of our work and emphasizes on raising awareness on environmental and social challenges within the local community, while promoting active engagement in sustainable and regenerative practices with a positive environmental impact.
More in detail, our environmental activities included a daily care of our vegetable garden which provided us fresh tasty vegetables, care of the compost system from the common kitchen, the NISI restaurant and NISI café, the creation of the plastic house (our new recycling info center where we collect material from the village and store plastic, glass, aluminium and other recyclable materials), upcycling workshops, olive harvesting in the community of Raches, a permaculture workshop from The Southern Lights – Το Νότιο Σέλας together with a natural building workshop from stagones during our ESC program ‘’Sustainable Living Week’’, a visit to the School of Nature in Thessaloniki and 20 beach clean up activities (including 2 underwater) in Greece and Cyprus through our ESC program ‘’Together We Clean’’, where more than 540 people participated and made a big difference collecting 3.2 tons of waste.
The cultural activities included interactions and connections of the volunteers with the people from the community of Raches by experiencing traditional Greek food, music, dance nights (even Greek wedding!), but also we explored together some beautiful regions of Greece, such as Lamia, Pavliani, Gorgopotamos, Mt Oiti, Galaxidi, Thessaloniki, Mt Olympus, Prespa National Park, and also got to meet other youth organisations such as Roes Cooperativa, You in Europe, iSea, YouthNest, Wildlife & Culture, etc. Through the ESC program ‘’Global Village’’ we all had the opportunity to organize and enjoy African, Brazilian, Indian, Arabian and Jamaican Nights, where we got to experience the food, music, dances as well as kids activities from these beautiful cultures. This also inspired us to start the Taste The World cooking show where we cook in our outdoor cob kitchen using recipes from around the world! Last but not least, we organized Greek language classes, open cinema, karaoke, board games and Quiz Nights!
The sports & outdoor activities depict our endeavour to promote a healthier lifestyle for the community of Raches through the excursions and activities we organized. The activities included hiking to Vellas waterfalls, cycling trips to the historical village of Achinos, picnic to St Dimitris springs, SUP and kayaking trips to Lichadonisia, swimming, weekly running sessions by the sea, beach volleyball and beach tennis seminars and tournaments, fitness workouts in the outdoor gym, dancing classes at the projector, survivor games, rugby, as well as bouldering in our climbing wall.
The administration part together with the digital marketing activities included Erasmus+ and European Solidarity Corps info days, becoming familiar with the opportunities that the programs offer to the youth, seminars about youthpass certificate, a youth exchange application that we all together wrote, video editing workshops, social media posting using facebook and Instagram, as well as writing articles for Wheeling2help website using wordpress platform.
We truly believe that the change will come through education. And we focus on educational activities to the kids but also to the youth through non formal and experiential education. The educational activities for the kids included a Kids Summer Camp in the morning and a Kids Zone in the afternoon with many creative activities related to the garden, crafts using upcycling materials, painting, music, dancing, hidden treasure games, board games, ‘’The Passport Project’’ educational program, and many more outdoor activities. Regarding the youth, the educational activities included workshops related to the SDG’s, Ikigai, peace, fundraising, branding, responsible traveling, fair trade, we painted the climbing wall, the waste bins and cob structures. There were beautiful workshops also offered related how to make jewelleries, soap, tawasi and work with epoxy wood.
Most important, the Wheeling2Volunteer ESC program, allowed us to live together in harmony, interact and learn from each other, work as a team, practice gratitude, love and compassion, reflect, grow and become the best version of ourselves.
Thank you European Solidarity Corps Greece and Erasmus+ Youth Greece for trusting us and join forces for a better world with more love, kindness and solidarity!