The most chaotic but also best 9 months that I’ve ever had.

My EVS at Tandem in an institution for disabled children and youngsters.

All my time in school I knew what I wanted to do after graduation – I wanted to start studying, I already knew which subject and where but then Covid happened and I was reconsidering if I really want to start studying now if everything is online, because who wants to have half of their studies online? A couple days before my finals at school I had the thought, that maybe it´s a good idea if I find an opportunity to work somewhere abroad, so that I could travel a bit and earn some experience in the field that I wanted to study. 

After a long process of searching the entire world wide web for projects, were I don’t have to pay like a couple thousand Euros, I found the European Solidarity Corps. After this moment everything was really fast, I applied for the free space at Tandem and two weeks later I was in Athens, working with children and youngster with disabilities and or traumas – a decision, that I´ve never regretted, because I’ve learned a lot about myself, the life of children in an institution, about deinstitutionalization and what is so important about it and that I really want to study something in the social sector. 

During Summer (until the middle of September) most of the times we just went with the children in the morning to the beach to go for a swim or to just enjoy the sun – to be honest name a better activity else than to be in the sea for 2 ½ months. In the afternoon we had different activities like English classes, cooking/baking, or hand crafts. I liked cooking the most, because we could try a lot of different recipes (sometimes they were good sometimes they were bad). 

We also were finally able to start with Outings again after more than a year – Outings are Activities outside of the institution. We went to different playgrounds, to parades, to get Ice cream or Souvlaki. For me the best outing was the waterpark in Alimos, we went with children that could swim and had a lot of fun with them – but sadly we had to leave the waterpark early, because it started to rain, and a thunderstorm was coming. 

In summertime everything is a little bit more different, because the kids are not going to school – so almost every day you have someone else.

In Winter everything is a little bit more quiet, almost all the activities are inside Tritos (the activity center). In the morning (if the weather was good) I always started to go for a walk in the institution with the children that are not going to school – after we did some stimulation or handcrafts. Also, what I really liked, every Thursday we went with some kids to the Laiki (farmers market) which was always very nice, because you could see the children interact with people from the outside world. 

In the evening we had similar activities like in summer, my favorite activity but also most exhausting, was with an autistic youngster always on Tuesdays – we often went to the swings, for a walk or to the trampoline with music from the 2000s or german party music. With him I really noticed that our daily work is really important for the children inside the institution – I had the feeling he developed during our time together. 

Also with Lia (another volunteer) we were able to create a Fundraising project to collect money for the teacher working for Tandem. Another highlight was the snow for me in January, I´ve never seen snow on the beach – it was a magical moment.