As we now complete our European Solidarity Corps program ‘’Wheeling2Volunteer vol.2’’ 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 world pandemic of corona virus, the ESC volunteers came to Raches for 5 months as planned and we managed to make more than 120 different meaningful activities which had visible and invisible effects to the participants and the community.
Andrada from Romania, George from Cyprus, Anna from Germany and Daniel from Spain were the ESC volunteers that we hosted this year with Wheeling2help, and we feel deeply honored 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, organizations, 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.
Wheeling2Volunteer vol.2 was the continuation of Wheeling2Volunteer ESC program that took place last year in Raches and 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.
The highlight of the program was the construction and operation of our new educational center in nature, called ‘’Xeirotexneion’’ where we hosted more than 70 different subject workshops to more than 800 people. The attendants were guests of NISI Glamping, but also members of the community of Raches and the subjects were related to arts & crafts, like pyrography, painting, sewing, clay, macrame, tie dye, epoxy wood, jewelry making, tawashi sponges, etc, but also soft skills, like design thinking, fundraising, SDG goals, project writing, Erasmus opportunities, foreign languages, etc.
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 maintenance of the plastic house (the wannabe recycling info center where we will 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 Tina Lymberis and a series of beach clean up activities in the region. We definitely need to mention the initiative of Plastic Free July, where we organized a series of environmental awareness actions in the community of Raches.
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, but also we explored together some beautiful regions of Greece, such as Lamia, Pavliani, Pelion, Meteora and Mt Olympus. Through our program ‘’Global Village’’ we all had the opportunity to organize and enjoy African, Indian and Spanish 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, Spanish, German and French 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, mini golf, table tennis, fitness workouts in the outdoor gym, dancing classes at the projector, survivor games, rugby, as well as bouldering in our climbing wall. Our favorite moment was the organization of Active Raches Youth Sports Festival where in 2 days we introduced 19 different sports to more than 300 people!
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 project of Wheeling2help that we all handled as a team, photography and video editing workshops, social media posting using facebook and Instagram, as well as educational content for our online platforms.
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. Through youth exchanges that were being hosted at our base in NISI Raches we also got to meet other youth organisations such as Roes Cooperativa, KINITRO, Solidarity Mission, Allelo and Youth Active Minds, and tackle different social challenges, such as climate change, sustainable living, human rights, social inclusion, stray dogs, etc.
Most important, the Wheeling2Volunteer Vol.2 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!
You can also see a video from the experience here :