EVS journey with great excitement in Pazardzhik

By Arusyak Stepanyan

Hey everybody, my name is Arus, I’m 23 years old and now I am going to tell you my story of EVS.
Just 1 year ago I was studying Master’s degree, but I was also confused what I really want to do in my life. When I knew about the project I didn’t hesitate to apply for. Everything was very fast and I didn’t even realise how I appeared in Bulgaria in a few weeks.
I started my EVS journey with great excitement in Pazardzhik. Before when I didn't know what expect from this year, I was thinking it's something that every youngster should try in the life. Now I am sure of that. During this one year I worked with disable people, an experience that I had never had in my life before. It was one of the things that I really liked. The feeling that you could help people who need it is awesome. In our project we also worked in the Roma school with children. As my personal project I started to work in the Armenian-Bulgarian school in Plovdiv. I used to teach Armenian language lessons once in a week. After while I started to teach Armenian dance choreography to the school children. So, I gained the first experience as dance teacher. Formerly I was dancing Armenian dance for 10 years, but I had never had opportunity to be a dance teacher.

Association Focus took part in the project FirstAid4Youth.
The FirstAid4Youth is a long-term project related to first premedical aid. The project equipped 48 youth workers (in 4 phases) with advanced tools, skills, and expertise in the field of in-depth first aid, creating an safe and efficient platform to exchange of experiences (supervised by 2 experienced
medical workers and 2 psychodrama practitioners) with the scope of providing mental comfort to the casualty of the accident.
The second mobility of the project "FirstAid4Youth"- quality and evaluation meeting took place between 9th and 15th of October 2019, in Poronin (Poland). The mobility was aiming to evaluate testing during the local phase first pre-medical skills, competences and knowledge, moreover to raise quality of the tools themselves.
The project aims to create a base and network of cooperation within the framework of effective, and tested in practice pre-medical skills in youth groups.
Objectives
-to develop a high quality youth worker’s guide in the framework of first aid, detailing procedures, structure, descriptions and discussion of examples of youth workshops and dealing with health and life-threatening situations.
-to increase a competence in safety and life threatening situations, and the ability to communicate, raise awareness and engage young people in the mentioned subject
-to create and test advanced first aid tools in a diversified youth exclusion environment In addition, through the implementation of the project
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Young people from seven countries met in Telšiai to promote intercultural dialogue; tolerance and respect for human rights

Today we talk a lot about the integration of people with disabilities into society, but how about our community - is it ready to accept people with disabilities, will they be able to communicate with them? According to statistics, nearly 10 percent of the world population has a disability. Many adults have grown up in a time when the image of a society without disabilities was created. Today the situation is changing, but not enough. This intolerance to disable people creates barriers and stereotypes, makes discrimination, when people suffer bullying because of skin color, gender identity, disability, and religion.

The idea of the project came from the project organizers, the Telšiai Deaf and Hard of Hearing Society, working with young people with hearing disabilities. In schools, students mock a child with a disability, and this integration only causes stress, fear, and psychological stress. It is very hard to find a job for people with disabilities and integrate into society. The first attempt to develop communication skills among healthy and disabled youth was in 2018 during youth exchange ”Photo Talking”. Participants surprised everyone by staying separate from one another in the beginning of the project, but at the end of the week they became good friends and also created new, unusual ways of communication. This led to the idea of organizing youth exchanges not only for the deaf but also for young people with other disabilities.

Seminar "Religious Tolerance in Common Europe" took place in Rezekne, Latvia. The project lasted 7 days from 21st till 27th  May 2019. EA "World - Our Home" hosted 36 participants from 17

youth organizations from 15 program and neighboring countries: Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Macedonia, Romania, Turkey, Azerbajdzan, Armenia, Israel, Jordan, Georgia, Russian Federation and Ukraine.

The main aim of the project was to broaden the horizons and knowledge of religions and religious dialogue and tolerance among youth workers and youth leaders.

This seminar promoted the dialogue between participants about different religions in the European Union and neighboring countries and how to ensure religious tolerance among different nationalities. All participants represented youth organizations and this is very important for organizations working with young people to fight against intolerance, discrimination, violence, terrorism so that we can live in a peaceful and tolerant world in the future.

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