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2020 - LE.MO.N.

Volunteering abroad: reassuring, encouraging, transformation

Dorian Dervillée - 27 ans - French volunteer in the center of Italy (Marche) for 11 months - European Solidarity Corps

How to change a neighborhood and its city through widespread education and cultural action?

During the year 2020 I had the chance to do a European volunteering within the Fonti San Lorenzo Cultural Center.
It was magnificent and I’ll allow myself to tell you why hereby.

We are living in a period in which some of us, young or not, feel the importance and the beauty of recreating links in our societies. In any case, this is what motivated me to do this European volunteering: to discover how some people are work on modifying our societies and to learn from them.

Despite its name, Fonti is not only a cultural center. It was above all a place of life, and now places of life, in which the inhabitants of the district, the city and the department are meeting. Within these spaces (a house, two self-managed parks, a multisport field and a school hub) those wishing can participate in revitalizing the neighborhood and the city by creating the actions they wish. Youth collective, children’s workshop, conferences, carpentry or photography, morning talk-show broadcasted on Facebook, ping-pong tournament, music festival, European exchanges, language or guitar lessons… From the simplest envy to the most complex one, it is a whole community that is active in bringing back a territory to life.

So it is in this setting that I landed and I might as well tell you that it was great! It was above all reassuring. Reassuring to see that other people are moving themselves. Reassuring to see that in some places, neighbors have decided to discuss together, meet and create shared spaces. Reassuring to see that an association could have a real political power by making its voice heard among local decision-makers. Reassuring to see that we could enter schools and participate in their transformation. Reassuring to see that we could still create the world and not just consume it. In short, as you may have already understood, it was reassuring.

Not only reassuring but also encouraging. Because it will not be a parenthesis, a bubble out of space and time, to then come back to “normal” life, the same one that disappoints. Becoming aware of the strength that we have is very encouraging! And once this force is seen, then one can continue to use it, to make it grow and thus continue to create and transform.