European Voluntary Service

This is Pekarna's blog for EVS volunteers. Pekarna is a sending and hosting/receiving organisation for EVS volunteers and their volunteers (send and hosted ones) will keep you up to date about their work.

Evropska prostovoljska služba

Pekarna Magdalenske mreže Maribor te vabi, da se tudi ti pridružiš množici prostovljcev/-k Evropske prostovoljne službe (EVS) in odpotuješ v organizacijo po svoji izbiri v drugo državo EU. Smo pošiljajoča in gostiteljska organizacija EVS, ki mladim od 17. in do 30. leta za obdobje največ enega leta uredi vse podrobnosti za brezskrbno in povsem brezplačno delovanje v tujini.
Evropska prostovoljna služba je del programa ERASMUS + Mladi v akciji.

Za bolj podrobne informacije nas lahko kontaktiraš na:

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

June by Rafa

June was a rollercoaster month, with many ups and downs. A lot of happy moments but also some sad and difficult ones. Time continues flying and almost five months have passed since I arrived to Slovenia. To me it seems it was yesterday when I arrive to Infopeka for the first time. Last time I was telling you that I was feeling home, but sadly, this month I do not feel it anymore. This month my relation with Maribor has been like a hate-love one. Some days I liked it a lot and some I really wanted to escape from here.

So, which positive things can I take from June? A lot, for sure. I travelled to Sweden and Portugal. It was a very useful and nice experience being part of this project called “Becoming part of Europe”, thinking and writing a report for the EU Commission to try to change the refugees and asylum seekers situation and conditions in Europe.

In addition, it was great being again in my hometown, Lisbon, the place where my heart is. We had a lot of activities during Lent Festival and it was great having my parents and my sister in Slovenia. We went around the country and to Austria and Croatia. We had a lot of fun and we laughed a lot, as we always do. I miss them a lot already!

I really enjoyed being in the Ljubljana Pride Parade 2018, something needed here: I felt I could be myself and shout out loud for my rights and for the LGBTQ+ community in the country. It was a very happy moment that will stay with me.

Although this month was quite hard for me, I am sure that great things are coming, many ideas are flying around and I have good company. Let’s be positive!

Hvala lepa, Slovenija.

PS: We need to change you, little country!

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Becoming a part of Europe “Thematic working group on gender equality and LGBT+ rights” in Stockholm

From 28th to 30th of May of 2018, I participated in the thematic working group on gender equality and LGBT+ rights in the frame of Becoming a part of Europe project, a project co-funded by the Erasmus+ program and promoted by a partnership of Erasmus+ National Agencies from eight countries: Belgium, Germany, Italy, Malta, Portugal, Slovenia, Sweden and The Netherlands. The project itself started in December 2016 and will end in December 2019, having had already more thematic groups in this period.

The topic we addressed was how youth work and workers can support young migrants, refugees and asylum seekers. The purpose was to share non-formal education methodologies and new inclusion practices to promote and improve integration and social inclusion of these group of people and to promote understanding, tolerance and respect among the society.

We divided the working in 3 themes or seminars, the first and the second happening on the 29th of May and the third in the last day.
Seminar 1: Sharing good practices. 

We introduced our hosting organisations and we talked and discussed about our common strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that can affect our work when it comes to young migrants, refugees or asylum seekers. After, with the aim of identify best practices of youth work in the field of integration and social inclusion of young migrants, refugees and asylum seekers, giving value to youth work as an instrument for integration of new comers, through informal and non-formal education activities. We tried to specify methodologies, initiatives and activities we use in our daily work and how they help us to achieve our objectives and how they can be useful to reach our target group.

Seminar 2: Creating policy recommendations for the EU Commission.

Through some methods – like the World Café – we tried to come up and to do a brainstorm of ideas and new practices of youth work in the field of integration and social inclusion of young migrants, refugees and asylum seekers to build up new capacity and improve youth workers’ skills and competences. With the help of some lawyers that work in the field of Migration and Asylum, the idea was to create a report based on our outcomes related to YMRA group, that include recommendations to change the EU policies, the asylum process, the Qualification Directive of the European Common Asylum System, the Reception system and conditions and the EU policy on migration and integration.

Seminar 3: Youth workers learning needs.

The third and last seminar consisted in involving and including the youth workers in the recommendations formulated for the EU Commission, identifying our needs regarding to this work and how can it be changed.

The project, meeting and seminars were incredibly useful and interesting, because all of us were able to collect new practices and share our methodologies in youth work regarding to integration and inclusion, to hear about life stories of young migrants, refugees and asylum seekers involved in local, national or European projects and initiatives and to think of and launch new recommendations to improve the policies we have nowadays related to YMRA group in the European Union.

The outcomes and results of this working group will be summarized and put together into a report, and later on, in September they will be presented and discussed in a conference that will take place in Slovenia.


Tuesday, 12 June 2018

... it now feels as if I have been in Slovenia for a lifetime ...

Hello, it now feels as if I have been in Slovenia for a lifetime. The way time goes slow when you are doing lots of new and different things everyday. I still miss home, my friends and family, but Maribor is starting to feel more like home. I have some lettuce and a tomato plant on my balcony and feel even closer and more comfortable with the friends and people that I have met here.

After the highs of our Bosnian/Montenegro road trip May has been a fairly chilled month. At the start of the month we had our Eurovision event. Other EVS volunteers from across Slovenia joined us to watch the final on the big screen. I have never really properly watched Eurovision before so for me it was interesting and fun seeing the way people get really into it. I was definitely rooting for Slovenia. It was frustrating and depressing that Israel won, especially considering that this week they were firing on Palestinian protesters. 

We also had a really great Filmopeka where we showed Hedwig and the Angry Inch. The film explores the complex gender identity of Hedwig, an East German transgender singer who moves to America and sets up a rock band. Nataša’s friend Damian, and film critic led a really interesting discussion afterwards. I also discovered a really good Slovenian band, Dubzilla, when they performed at Gustaf…but June has already started, we are all busy and Lent festival is very much in the air so I am sure I will discover more Slovenian bands soon!


Maribor in May ...

After the trip to the Balkans and the holidays, this month started a bit slow, but it did not take long to get better, watching with Esme and Rafa the Eurovision semifinals and organizing an event together to see the final in which we gathered many of the EVS people that we met in the arrival training. it was a great night, although I have to admit that I do not remember some parts of it. But thas always means that was a good night.

This month I have also begun to teach drawing, something that I had always been excited about and although I am not very good at teaching, I hope this helps me to improve step by step. I've also had the opportunity to visit one of the villages near Maribor where Maja taught us a bit of gardening. We also had the opportunity to visit Graz, a wonderful.


EVS Experience in Maribor (Slovenia) – May 2018

Maribor, you are such a lovely city. Every day in this small place it is beautiful and worth it. I will start this blog being a bit negative and talking about problems. I have a huge struggle with time. It flies, too fast. It is scary. Almost four months have passed since I arrived to Slovenia and it seems it was yesterday when I arrive to Infopeka for the first time. I was very nervous at that time, but nowadays I feel home.

I am truly enjoying this beautiful country and this small but cozy city. Summer is around the corner and I can feel it: crowed city, green everywhere, sun, hot days and happiness everywhere, although it has been raining for some days in the past weeks. In my last blog, I was quite sad because I didn’t have my bike yet, but FINALLY I have it and I am SO happy. Since Maribor is not very big, I can go by bike wherever I want in almost 10 minutes! It was very nice learning how to fix bikes with Esme, she is such an expertise!

The best thing of this month was the trip we made to Bosnia, Croatia and Montenegro. We rented a car and we travelled around these three countries. I will always remember all the CD’s of Balkan music we bought, all the amazing landscapes we saw, the nice people we met (including the Bosnian police and the 10 euros fine they gave us), the delicious food we tasted (Ćevapčići and pita are the best food ever) and all the incredible and funny moments we lived and experienced!

In May, I also loved and enjoyed small details and moments that always count! I really like being with the kids of Brezmenji Svet, they give us such a lot of love and affection. I also like going out with Infopeka team and just being for hours in Living Room drinking and having fun! In May we started going to the Maribor elderly home and do you know what does it mean? To try to understand and speak in Slovene almost all the time: what a difficult mission! I tried and I am still trying to do my best with Jesus’s drawing lessons and with the production of some animations with Brina! For me it was also very interesting learning about the Gaelic language with Esme and I am loving teaching Portuguese at Pekarna. I have to thank everyone that came to our Eurovision event and made this night just an amazing one, I was missing Lisbon so hard and they made me feel at home. Without any doubt, Maribor is already in my heart!

In the end of this month I will leave Slovenia for a couple of days, but don’t worry, it is for a great reason: I will tell you more in my next blog, stay tuned!

Great things are coming, a lot of ideas are flying around and I have good company. I couldn’t ask for more!

Hvala lepa, Slovenija.


Friday, 11 May 2018

Hmmm what has been nice about April in Maribor?

It has got very warm. Which is slightly stressful for someone who burns very easily but it is also really nice, especially in the evenings when it is a little cooler and people are sitting outside the cafes and bars drinking and eating ice creams outside the ice cream shop below my flat.

At Infopeka I really enjoyed starting the English conversation class, I was surprised by how many people came, and it least to me it seemed like everyone was having fun, lots of laughing. Rafa has also started teaching us Portuguese which is cool, maybe I will leave Slovenia a Portuguese speaker?? And now it is warmer it has been nice to be able to play more games outside with Brezmejni svet, we had a great game of football in the park!

At the end of the month me, Rafa, Jesus and Lea went on a road trip to Bosnia and Montenegro. The trip was really exciting for me! Bosnia is a really beautiful country with lots of lakes and waterfalls, we had a couple of very very cold swims. I would really like to go back to Sarajevo, we were only there for one night but it definitely made a very good impression on us. All the people that we met were warm and friendly and we went on a really good walking tour by someone from Sarajevo, who told us about the war and how politics is in Bosnia today. It was lovely to swim in the sea in Montenegro, so warm! I could have swam for ever. Other than Rafa getting stopped by the Bosnian police for speeding, the trip went very smoothly!


A fantastic trip that definitely I would like to repeat ...

This month has been fantastic, finally the warmest days have arrived, sometimes too warm. It has been really amazing to see the city of Maribor recover the green colour and watch the plants grow again.

This month has been full of new things to do and learn, a workshop on 3D printing and cutting and printing on wood which I really liked, the first Portuguese class of Rafa and his travel log on Lisbon about gentrification. Without forgetting that at the beginning of the month we had the "Day of Change" event in which we arranged and decorated with other organisations some of the problems that the Park and the Pekarna area had.

And what better way to end a month than with a car trip through the Balkans. A trip in which I discovered incredible places and parts of the history of the countries we visited (Croatia, Bosnia and Montenegro) as well as connecting more with Esme, Rafa and Lea, those who accompanied me on the trip. A fantastic trip that definitely I would like to repeat.

I hope, and I know, that the months that lie ahead in this volunteering are going to be even better than this one.


Thursday, 26 April 2018

EVS Experience in Maribor – April

1st of April: Vse najboljše za me. I started this gorgeous month turning 25. It is not my first birthday abroad, but this year it was completely different, fantastic but different, somehow. I spent the day in Ljubljana surrounded by great people, mostly EVS volunteers or better saying, EVS friends.

As I always write in my blog, I am amazed how fast time goes and flies. Almost three months have passed since I arrived to Slovenia and it seems it was yesterday when I met my lovely Nataša at the bus station for the first time.

I am truly enjoying this beautiful country and this small but cozy city. Summer is around the corner and I can feel it: crowed city, green everywhere, sun, hot days and happiness everywhere. Buuuut, there is one thing I would like to point out. Before the good weather, you have to survive winter, which is a good challenge) and then you have to suffer what I called “Slovenian winterspringsummer” that consists in a day like that: cold, a bit of sun, let's rain for a while, cold again, why not windy for some minutes, short heatwave, then sunny but nippy. It is fantastic, isn’t it? I love strolling up in this city! I love the work we do, I love the atmosphere in the office! I am learning and growing up personally and professionally. I am getting confident with everyone at Infopeka and I feel, somehow, at home. There is one thing left: my bike (but coming soon, I hope).


In April, I really loved the LGBT+ workshops in the schools and the welcoming people we met there. They were willing to learn from us and also opening to teach us new things. Other day I remember with special caress is the thousands of Albanian and Kosovar flags I drew for the Brezmenji Svet children, I loved it! I also enjoyed GALA ZIZ and Day of Change, it was very funny!

During this month, a lot of things happened. I will always remember Esme’s insomnia and all the nights she came to sleep to mine, I like her very much! And what to say about Jesús? I like him, I really do. He is sweet, calm, a great musician and he loves missing Prevozi. PD: I am still waiting for my portrait. It was also great to meet again and spend a weekend with my friend Katka in Ljubljana. In the end of the month we are traveling to Bosnia and Montenegro, it is like make a dream come true for a geographer like me. Komaj čakam! In this month, I also I have to say PARABÉNS to Nataša!
I am enjoying a lot the Slovene course at University and I feel like a child when I can understand or say something else in this beautiful and extraordinary local language! Great things are coming, a lot of ideas are flying around and I have good company. I couldn’t ask for more!

Hvala lepa, Slovenija. Rafa

Wednesday, 11 April 2018


Zdravo! Sorry that my update on March is a wee bit late! I had 3 highlights… firstly, International Women’s Day!!...we learnt about socialist feminism and criticised liberal feminism, we sang (quite badly) and performed speeches in Glawni Try and watched EMA for a second time, maybe understanding slightly more Slovenian than the first time. For me this was a really exciting way to start the month, and maybe my highlight! It felt good to be making our opinions heard and although our singing was apparently bad I had a great time learning and performing Nabrusimo Kose, A Las Barricadas and Puntarska.

Secondly, the Theatre of the Oppressed workshop. This was a totally new experience for me and not something that I had ever imagined doing. I was kind of nervous at the start but was surprised by how comfortable I felt by the end. It was really nice the way we got on as a group and it was cool to express and discuss politics in this way.

My final highlight was of course meeting Tilli! Words cannot describe what a wonderful dog she is!


Thursday, 5 April 2018

... every day that passes this country I like it more ...

Every day that passes this country I like it more, not only the country, also the people that I have met here and the work in Pekarna, that I love. I also had the opportunity to visit one of the countries that surround it, Croatia. The time I spent there, in Zagreb, was fantastic and I also had the opportunity to see some of the people that we met at the arrival training in Koper during the first month of volunteering.

What surprised me the most this month is that I have learned that I can enjoy things that I would never have thought of doing it when I was in Spain, like participating in a choir in the middle of a square, (even if im a terrible singer) to have fun helping the children in Brezmejni Svet or Pekarna DOBIŠ DAŠ and give a talk about my city in Infopeka, which helped me a bit to end the shame that sometimes gives public speaking.

I hope that the following months dont go as fast as these two went, although I think that now that the good weather begins and I start to enjoy the city it will be difficult.


Wednesday, 28 March 2018

EVS Experience in Maribor (Slovenia) – March 2018

It is incredible how fast time goes. Almost two months have passed since I arrived to Slovenia.

I am truly enjoying this beautiful country and this small but cozy city. Now, I can say that my EVS is ongoing and I feel it is already amazing. One month ago, I confessed that I was a bit scared of everything that was going on in my new life in Slovenia: new people, new challenges, a lot of ideas and new projects..., but nowadays, I feel much more happy and sure that this project really fits me and that I will make the best of this experience. And then, what to say about Pekarna? I JUST LOVE IT. Each day in the office is great and there is always a perfect excuse to learn something new and to share with them our feelings and ideas. We always receive smiles and love from them. We are already busy. This organization is a non-stop World Changing Machine. In March, I really loved the LGBT+ workshops in the schools and the welcoming people we met there. They were willing to learn from us and also opening to teach us new things. Other day I remember with special caress is 8th of March. We went out to the streets of Maribor to shout women’s rights and to sing beautiful songs. My first time singing in a chorus and in Slovene. It was fantastic!

During this month, a lot happened. I will always remember the day Esme and I tried to do hick hiking to go to Ljubljana. It was a total fail: rainy, cold and windy day. People couldn’t see our wet banner and they just splashed water on us with the cars. But, as Slovene say, to je življenje. We laughed a lot, it was hilarious. We also made a trip to the beautiful Zagreb, the Croatian capital city. It was my second time there, but in this occasion was different. In august 2017 I had the opportunity to see the city in summer and now I saw the beauty of cold and snowy winter. I went with the others EVS volunteers. I really like spending time with them. I was also great to meet again and spend a weekend with my friend Katka in Ljubljana. It had been a long time since we met for the last time, I really missed her!

We started a Slovene course at University. I am super excited about it! I am very glad that some people are starting speaking with us in Slovene. It’s super KUL! The best thing ever is when you can understand (if you are veeeeery very lucky) 10% of what they are talking about. But I am sure we will make it in the upcoming months.

I am also very happy because we finally met Tili, Nataša’s puppy. She is the calmest and the sweetest dog I have ever met. And of course, she is one of our team!

Hvala lepa, Slovenija.