15 Luglio 2020

EU Voice Volunteers: an Experience from Thessaloniki

I am Gardezi Syed Anyan Ali, but everybody calls me with my nickname, Ali-Shahgy. I am 27 years old, and I am from Kashmir, a region situated in the extreme Nord-west area of India and historically contended by India and Pakistan.
I arrived in Thessaloniki as a refugee, and I felt immediately comfortable with the city and the local community since the locals here are very friendly.

In Thessaloniki, I have met Intersos, an NGO, working to sustain groups of disadvantaged people. They assigned me a social worker and a psychologist to help me integrate. They assist me daily, making me express my feelings and thoughts and speaking about my past and present life in the city. Their support helps me to work out the idea to start a new life in a foreign country with a different culture and language, even if sometimes I feel my heart and mind are still back in my hometown. They help me integrate into the new society, by making friends and connections, and informing me about the activities and initiatives I can find in the city. Through Intersos, I have found out about the opportunity to take part in the project "EU VOICE".

During the project, I have participated in a workshop about social media at the organization United Societies of Balkans, and I volunteered at the Green Wave Festival.
In the beginning, I was not interested in the activities since I thought it would not be useful for me and that I was wasting my time. However, I continued to participate, and suddenly, I realized that I was learning new things such as taking pictures, writing articles and working together with other young people. In November, I will volunteer at the Film festival, and I am very excited about participating in this event.
Now that the activities are almost finished, I would recommend “EU VOICE” to my friends and other young immigrants and refugees, living in the same condition as me because the experience gave me something to work on during those days.

I would like to be involved again in future programs since during the project I have been very busy, and for the first time since I am here, I felt I was doing something good for myself and the community.

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