A GROUP of four young Europeans recently completed a 10-month stint of volunteering with the Bantry and Dunmanway school completion programme.
The volunteers all came to West Cork through the Erasmus Plus programme that supports the mobility of young people between 17 and 30 to help with community projects throughout the EU. In this case the four volunteers came to help students in West Cork schools to get the best out of their education.
Caroline Cassagne from France, who has been studying law, engaged with children at both primary level and post primary spent much of her time supporting French in Coláiste Pobail Bheanntraí, Maria Immaculate Community College (MICC), Kealkil NS and Cappabue NS.
Spanish psychologist Diego Hervalejo also worked at both levels helping students with general subject work and Spanish in MICC and Togher NS. Hannah Maul, who qualified in English and Spanish teaching from Germany, also helped out in MICC and Skibbereen Community School, along with Aitor Sanchez, a chemical engineer from Spain.
All the European volunteers benefited greatly from their experience in Ireland, but also had much to offer the students in West Cork. Each of them were involved in running breakfast clubs, in-school subject support, after-school clubs, and holiday camps and trips.
Since he was a child, Aitor Sanchez enjoyed helping people in different ways. His engineering studies provided him with a scientific vision of life, but while he was at university he realised people were more than just numbers.
He said: ‘Taking part in this project has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. It was a completely new situation which challenged me, the perfect opportunity to go outside of my comfort zone and an excellent atmosphere in which to learn. However, the most valuable reward that I received was in terms of personal development. Outside schoolwork, this project gave me the opportunity to discover the incredible Irish landscapes, history, culture and of course its people. I was very impressed with the charity shops in Ireland and I would like to be involved in charity projects in the future.’
The volunteers attended an SCP celebration in Cork hosted by mayor Mick Finn. Bantry & Dunmanway SCP have been hosting European Volunteers since 2002 and coordinator Roger Earl thanked all who were involved.
For more see https://europa.eu/youth/solidarity_en