Taking part in a European Solidarity Corps project will be a significant achievement for any young person. This European Union initiative has as main mission to create opportunities for young people to volunteer or work in projects in their own country or abroad that benefit communities and people around Europe.
After completing a simple registration process, European Solidarity Corps participants could be selected and invited to join a wide range of projects, such as helping to prevent natural disasters or rebuild afterwards, assisting in centres for asylum seekers, or addressing different social issues in communities
Although the participants can register when they are 17 years old, they cannot start a project until they are over 18. European Solidarity Corps projects will be available to people up to the age of 30 years old.
Projects supported by the European Solidarity Corps can last from two to twelve months. We have talked with Interreg Volunteer Youth (IVY), a project which is part of this enterprise.
Interreg Volunteer Youth (IVY)
IVY is the very first initiative part of ESC to have deployed ESC volunteers on the ground. Alessandra Cardaci, IVY Project Manager, explains that their project "offers the possibility to young Europeans aged 18-30 to serve as volunteers in the cross-border, transnational or interregional programmes and related projects to tackle common challenges together and find shared solutions - whether in the field of health, research and education, transport or sustainable energy".
One of the most important characteristics of this project is the fact that is fully implemented by young volunteers. Alessandra Cardaci explains that "sometimes EU language is too formal and institutional and as such citizens perceive it as too far from their concerns, wishes and needs". Taking this aspect into account, "young and engaged Europeans are able to provide a fresh, new, more attractive and concrete approach when it comes to make EU citizens aware of the many benefits Interreg can bring to their lives. A young volunteer can have quite some freedom in the way he/she can communicate: he/she has the opportunity to think out of the box and communicate in a more informal and effective way, in a way which is closer to EU citizens' language" and "this is why we think that young people can be great ambassadors of Interreg and of its strong solidarity and cooperation dimension".
Young people can be great ambassadors of its strong solidarity and cooperation dimension
Besides that, "IVY is a highly formative occasion for volunteers where should acquire a unique experience of personal growth as well as enhance and gain skills that they can employ in their future personal, professional, formal and non-formal adventures. Moreover, we also hope that IVY will bring lots of new friends and connections to our volunteers, a little bit like the so-famous Erasmus experience does".
Cardaci concludes that "this kind of initiatives are needed today more than ever: with the current increase of anti-EU, xenophobic and nationalist movements, we need to send out a clear message of peace, solidarity and positive civic engagement".
Join The Corps
If you are between 18 and 30 and you are up for a challenge, and willing to dedicate yourself to helping other people, you can join to European Solidarity Corps here.