Paula and her ESC volunteering experience

Tuesday 21 June 2022

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Hey, I’m Paula, 19 years old and from Germany. My story with CESIE began on the website of the European Solidarity Corps where I was looking for opportunities to do volunteering in Italy after I finished High school.

I was searching for a project that I would want to support and work for which is something that sounded really promising about CESIE, as equality, justice and opportunities for everyone is important to them. I was incredibly happy when I got accepted to be a part of the project Mapping Solidarity and couldn’t wait to see what Palermo has to offer. I already knew about the amazing Sicilian food, the nice people but I wasn’t really familiar with Palermo as a multicultural city.

Among the many activities I have carried out, one that I really liked is volunteering at Centro Astalli, a place near Ballarò, where immigrants and refugees can find help and support in a city that is new to them. Centro Astalli has a broad range of services with the goal to integrate immigrants into the society in Palermo while also embracing and accepting the cultural background the immigrants and refugees have. I was there to help with the breakfast in the morning and to coordinate the appointments for the doctor, lawyer and the showers afterwards.

Being at the reception made it fairly easy to connect with the people from all different countries and to hear their story. I got a small look into the diversity that plays a big role in Palermo. As a tourist you only see the different restaurants that offer food from many different countries. You see that a high percentage of people living in Palermo have some sort of migrant background. However, I am really grateful that I actually got to meet the people behind all those restaurants, talk to them and try to help them.

I also attended some CESIE training meetings about non-formal education, fake news about climate change, programming and coding.

After 4 months in Palermo I had to go university in Germany, which has its good and sad sides. I’m sorry to leave Palermo as it is an amazing city and staying here was a great opportunity for me personally. However, I am now excited to start a new path in my life and I’m grateful that I made this experience in Palermo.

Paula Neugebauer

ESC Volunteer – Mapping solidarity 2020

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