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:

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.