I was asked to answer a few questions for the CISV Norway membership magazine that has just been released, so I thought I would share them here for people outside of Norway.
You are the EVS volunteer for CISV Norway, what does that mean?
EVS is the European Voluntary Service, part of the European Union’s Youth in Action initiative. EVS gives young people both inside and outside the EU the opportunity to volunteer for a charity in a foreign country. So far while volunteering for CISV Norway I have helped run national weekends, local seminars on conflict and given training on the Mosaic program. In the future I will be touring around some of the CISV Norway chapters and giving practical training on conflict resolution techniques which people should be able to use in everyday life.
How do you like it so far?
I love it! Working in Norway has given me a great experience in working in a foreign culture with a lifestyle different to what I am used to and has let me encounter new and diverse perspectives on the topics which I work with.
What's your best CISV memory?
My best CISV memory has to be from when I was a participant at an International People’s Project in Almeria, Spain in 2010. We worked with immigrants who had traveled by sea from Northern Africa in search of a better life, however they were stuck with working in greenhouses in the so-called “sea of plastic” which covers much of southern Andalucía. We worked alongside the Red Cross, giving out food parcels in the immigrant settlements, running activities for children with an emphasis on helping them speak Spanish, and giving basic medical care to those who had just taken the perilous daylong journey on tiny boats across the strait of Gibraltar. The whole community came out to take part, to play, dance, sing and eat together. The desperate conditions which the people live in there are abated by food parcels and medical care, but that night made us all realise that people need more, we need to remember what it is to be human.
What would you say is the most important lesson you've learnt by being active in CISV?
My work with CISV has taught me the power of people who make the effort to take action and work towards a more just and peaceful world. CISV is volunteer based organization with only a handful of employees across the world, yet we still manage to create hundreds of projects each year. The passion of CISV’s members impresses me, as people work tirelessly all year, not for money, but to give people an unforgettable experience and educate them about peace.
What would you say to someone who is considering joining a CISV activity?
Many people think that CISV is not for them, but I would tell them to not be skeptical but to throw themselves into it. It is true in CISV as in life; that the more you put in, the more you will get out.