Our ESC Volunteering in Şanlıurfa (Turkey) – „A Better Future Will Come With Svitac (Firefly Bosnia) and Association GAP“
A Better Future Will Come With Svitac (Firefly Bosnia) and Association GAP
Change comes when we all take a stand. As young kids, most of us dreamed about changing the world. The thing is, the world is changing, whether we like it or not. So how about we all give a small part of our life to make someone’s whole life better? How better would this world be? That was an idea that keeps us volunteers going.
Great to see you here, you kind of hearted reader, interested in being a part of an amazing experience! We are Selma Hasagic and Sumeja Saric. Let us tell you our volunteering story. In the period of COVID-19, many countries were closing their borders, a lot of people lost their jobs, and yet many still didn’t have to worry about their future: That’s not the case with refugees. Even before the pandemic their every day was a challenge, never mind during this hard situation the globe has gotten into. If it weren’t for good people and organizations to think about them, these innocent people would be all by themselves. European Solidarity Corps takes part in taking care of people who need help the most and cares about environmental issues. Shortly after making contact with Svitac (Firefly Bosnia), they connected us with the Turkish Association “GAP Genclik” and we arrived in Urfa.
Urfa, or Şanlıurfa, is a not so well-known city in the south of Turkey, pretty close to the Syrian border. Basically, it’s the first spot refugees come to after escaping the war zone in their homeland, Syria. Urfa has become home to more than a million refugees. Among those, there are a lot of young and smart people with a bright future in front of them that was taken away from them in a blink of an eye. Many of them don’t want to stay there for the rest of their lives, so teaching them English was a way to open many doors into the world for them — we took that mission very seriously. From teaching kindergarten classes to adolescents, we followed through with being their English teachers, friends, and, oftentimes, motivators. We were helping them but, little did they know, they also helped us.
We became better people, we got to see different perspectives, got to realize how little we need to be happy; furthermore, we gained professional skills, organization wise and teaching wise. Let’s not forget to mention how beautiful Urfa is: Sun lovers — this is your city! It is super-hot during the summer though. Historically, this city has a lot to offer, having a part of Mesopotamia located there, and being a religiously important place for both Muslims and Christians. Also, the place is crazy cheap! Eating out is a way of living once you are in Urfa. This place will definitely take you on a roller coaster of emotions. There are many reasons to become an ESC Volunteer, and the experience itself will give you more than you ever imagined is possible. Every place you see is one page of a book, so let’s start reading it before the end of a chapter.
Before the end of the story I would like to say thanks to coordinators Miloš, from Svitac (Firefly Bosnia), and Viyan, from the GAP Association; they have been really friendly and supportive throughout our volunteering in the projects.
Selma and Sumeja