The(Y) Volunteers welcomed the autumn cooperating with Alternativi International organization aboard their Youth Caravan. The Youth Caravan is an itinerant information campaign held in different cities and towns of Bulgaria to promote the opportunities for mobility abroad offered by Erasmus+. The initiative -part of the celebrations for the 30th anniversary of Erasmus mobility programme- was launched by Alternativi International, a youth NGO from Blagoevgrad committed to make a change in society and to provide youngsters with opportunities for their development.
From 18th to 24th September 2017, the Youth Caravan traveled around the country stopping in Gorna Oryahovitsa, Varna, Burgas, Stara Zagora, Kazanlak, and Plovdiv before heading back to Blagoevgrad. Along its one-thousand-kilometer route, hundreds of local youngsters were informed about Erasmus+ mobility opportunities and engaged in funny activities by the team of Alternativi International: fortune wheel game with questions and challenges, walking photo frame, dance flashmob, etc.
The Youth Caravan is a funny and exciting way for young people to experience a new dimension of volunteering and enhance others’ knowledge of a Europe plenty of opportunities: youth exchanges, trainings, internships, European Voluntary Service and Erasmus Mundus. Petya, Georgi, Krista and the EVS volunteers of Alternativi International – Beatriz (Spain), Virginia (Armenia), Velichka (Bulgaria), Simi, Ahmed, Gogsu (Turkey), Tamuna, George and Salome (Georgia) – are the people behind this project. We joined them on 22nd and 23rd September, during their journey into the Valley of Roses, to support their work in Stara Zagora and Kazanlak. Meanwhile together, we also spoke with them to get deeper into the initiative and ask what does it mean to be part of it.
For Ivancha (Romania), being a volunteer means “to empower the youth” and, according to Ahmed (Turkey), the Youth Caravan is definitely the best way to do that.
“We are travelling around the country and informing people about Erasmus+ and its opportunities. […] I wish them to find interesting things and to not waste their time by doing the same thing their whole life. Just go, see the world and do something beneficial for the society and interesting for yourself. […] We have so many tasks, challenges, adventures.”
Beatriz (Spain) showed his same enthusiasm about volunteering in this initiative:
“For me the most effective way to promote Erasmus+ program is Youth Caravan. […] I really believe in mobilities, it’s so important for young people to go abroad and meet people from other countries with different backgrounds and languages. So, even if we just convince one to check youth exchanges, trainings or European Voluntary Service program, it is worthy for me.”
And Sami (Turkey) adds:
“If I can change somebody’s mind through what I am doing, it would be the best thing for me”.
Whether aboard the Youth Caravan, taking part in the European Voluntary Service or in other mobility opportunities, being one of them, like one of us, opened up the chance to “find something different in yourself”. “To be more open-minded”; “to try to understand cultures around”; “to not be afraid to discover”. To develop yourself in any possible way, with new skills, knowledge, and experiences, and inspire other people. That is the shared path of all of them, like all of us.
Our special thanks to Petya, Georgi, Krista and all the volunteers of Alternativi International NGO for the work we did together in Stara Zagora and Kazanlak.