European volunteer service in Liepājas Katoļu pamatskola: a testimony of an intercultural art project for children.

You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing,
there will be no result.

Mahatma Gandhi

34033963 10215105611547037 3238676529714036736 n Before starting to speak about my EVS, I would like to present myself.

 I am Camilla, from Italy, and I am living in Liepāja from the end of September 2017. I am half Italian and half Peruvian, so   travelling and knowing new cultures and places is something that I learned at home. I had the opportunity to live in different   countries and, in August 2017, I decided to try to apply for an EVS in Latvia, a country that I barely knew. When I said to my   family and to my friends that I had been chosen and I will be moved in less of a month, they thought that I was brave and a   little bit crazy, but I listened just myself and now I am here delighted with my choice. I decided to start this adventure as   volunteer in Liepājas Katoļu pamatskola because I would learn more about teaching, gained new skills and try a new   experience. I have a degree in child education and a master’s in art education, so this project fit with my studies and my   interests. When I arrived, I felt completely lost in a country where I didn’t understand the language. During the first month I   was thinking to give up and go back home a lot of times, but the school staff and my coordinating organization (Radi Vidi   Pats) were amazing helping me to feel welcomed. With the passage of time I am very happy here, the school for me is like   a home where to go and spent my days with the staff and the children. I am positive impressed for the incredible daily effort   of the teachers in their work for offer the best education to the pupils that could learn through the free expression of their   opinions and creativity.

My role as volunteer is to be the assistant for the teachers during the school day and keep busy the children in the afternoon. In fact, the lessons finish at two o clock, but the school remain open until five so the children from 1 to 4 grades could stay when their parents are working. And during this time the role of the volunteer is more important. I had the possibility to run my own project with the aim to allow the pupils to have quality time. As I am art educator I decided to start an art club for children from first to third grade.

33942654 10215105612587063 7107256673911177216 n

 When I started my art project, I was very afraid that the children did not understand the tasks, and, on my side, I could not   comprehend their needs. I started doing very basic activities to avoid any complicated issue or problem then, with the
 weeks, we found a way to communicate, a very special way that works very well. We mixed Latvian and English and when   is not enough we mime what we want. Is very funny and the children loved that. Therefore, I decided to start to think   something different, more interesting and challenging. During my art club, my little artists have the possibility to learn, to   have fun and to try new art techniques. The workshops worked effectively, the children are very happy, and the parents   really appreciated what I am doing.34065853 10215105611707041 3282277955371270144 n The most important topic was   "Travel around the world", where the children had the   possibility to   know a new country and culture every time. They hear a legend and   music, watched pictures of each country   and do a workshop   connected with that. At the end the children remembered a lot of facts,   words in foreign language and   gained new ways to do art. We spoke   also about emotions, respect of the others and their opinions. For me   this art club   was a challenge, not only for the language barrier, but also   because I didn’t have too much experience with primary school   children, as I worked mostly in nurseries. Now I am very confident with                                                                                                                                              this target and I loved draw with them and plan new activities.


My most success was the work that I did with a little girl. When we started the art activities in February, she had a low consideration of herself, afraid to do mistakes and not able to finish a work. She always sat alone, without any interests to chat with her peers or showed her drawing.34074353 10215105611867045 2080511389729816576 n I decided to dedicate a special attention to her, first helping to finish the work and then praising her for what she did. I showed her how much she could do and to not be scare of the others judgement. At the same time, I worked with the rest of the group to include her during the free game and the debates. Today that little girl is unrecognizable. She is like an unrestrained smiling tornado of energy. She is more relaxed, and is always the first that want to show the work done. She is sitting now with her new friends spending with them precious moments. She didn’t need my help anymore, rather she starts to help the others and that is amazing. I am very proud of her and of all my little artists. In school I am running also Italian lessons for the adults that I managed well despite I never did something similar. During my experience in this unique school, I changed a lot. When I arrived, I was braked by a lot fears, but now I feel more confident and prepositive. The school allowed me to run my projects and my ideas, respected my opinions and listened my concerns to find a solution together. I think that is EVS is perfect for people, which want to try a new challenge and have ideas for activities with children. I feel thankful to have the possibility to meet the staff, the parents and the children of Liepājas Katoļu pamatskola, because I learned a lot from them. I hope to have left a positive impression in all the people I met in my path here. I want to say thank you to the school staff for her friendly welcome and to Radi Vidi Pats, my coordinating organization, for offer me this precious opportunity and for all the support they give me during this time.

Wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow.

Anita Desai

Camilla Sara Saretto

The project "Educate my ChurChil - church & children" was financed by EU programme Erasmus + and Latvian Youth agency of international programmes.