Update on international projects at Opora

The first half of 2018 has been full of interesting events and good news for our organization in terms of international cooperation and projects! We wanted to share with you some of our achievements.

Long-term EVS in Yoshkar-Ola

Since March we are hosting a volunteer from Estonia, Lisa Shilman. She will stay with us until the end of February 2019. Her aims are to learn more about the work of an NGO in Russia, to get acquainted with project writing and management and the system of grants and to support the volunteering movement in Yoshkar-Ola and the Mari El Republic. Lisa manages a film society and organizes screenings of foreign films in their original language.

In April, a second volunteer Sara Jankovszki from Hungary joined us in order to practice her Russian skills, get experience in working with children (as she is a teacher back home). She will be in Yoshkar-Ola for six months until the end of September. Sara is responsible for a German club, for she has lived in Germany and masters the language of Goethe.

Finally, a third volunteer from Italy, Giuseppe Florio, has arrived 20 days ago. He is now focusing mostly on learning Russian from scratch and is sharing his experience of workshops using non-formal education with children and youngsters. After summer, Giuseppe plans to study more in depth the cultural and national composition of the Mari El Republic and come up with a project combining his own interests in cultural anthropology and those of Opora.

BeFunky Collage

Our three volunteers have successfully integrated our volunteers’ community and our city in general. They are active in the organization and participate in many events and workshops in schools, orphanages, summer camps and youth centers. For two weeks in July, they will take part in our summer camp in nature TRAMPLIN, where they will talk about their national culture and traditions and be responsible for the entertainment of the children from orphanages and families present in the camp.

From September onwards, Opora plans to host three more volunteers: Miriam from the Basque country in Spain, whose interests are to teach English and promote actions to fight against the HIV epidemic in the Republic; Blandine from France, who will focus on the integration processes for the foreign nationals studying in Yoshkar-Ola’s universities, and a volunteer from Germany, in the framework of a massive project, “Community goes Europe” in which Opora takes part together with organisations from Germany, Ukraine, Belarus and Portugal. We are looking forward to meet these new volunteers and help them in the realization of their projects.

BeFunky Collage2

Long-term EVS in Europe

This summer we will also meet back our four volunteers who have left last year in order to volunteer for European organisations. Karina and Ksenya have left for two different French cities where they have been organizing events in schools and youth centers about Russian culture. Veronika went for Vienna in Austria and was part of a pedagogical team in a kindergarten. Anastasia spend her volunteering year on a Greek island helping in a community center and a retirement house. We had been receiving good news from their projects, and we are very exciting to hear more of their stories in our city. We will organizing public lecture so that the citizens of the Republic could get inspired by their experience.

We are also partners of a volunteering project in Spain starting from November in the city of Ourense in Galicia. The organization Sustinea is now choosing will be able to go to Ourense and manage activities linked with urban ecology.

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Short-term projects and youth exchanges

Opora has also been active in looking for opportunities for young people to take part in shorter projects (from 2 weeks to 2 months). Five volunteers from the Republic went for two weeks to Latvia in April for the youth exchange Let’s Joke on the topic of humor as a tool for sustaining peace between communities and nations with participants from Estonia, Latvia, Ukraine, Armenia and Germany.

This summer, 6 youngsters will go to France for international camps organised by the NGO Solidarites Jeunesses where they will meet other volunteers from different countries and work together on the restauration of monuments and help in the community life. They will also have a chance to discover the culture in three remote regions and learn basics in French language. This is the first cooperation of Opora with “short-term EVS projects”, but considering the huge interest that it aroused, we plan to strengthen our participation in such projects to allow more of our youngsters to enjoy this experience.


Considering the other projects that we have submitted, we are still waiting for the results. We are now getting ready for an active summer, and already thinking about future international cooperation!

As a reminder, EVS and youth exchanges are part of the programme ERASMUS+ which enables youngsters from all over Europe to meet with their foreign counterparts and actively think their own future and the future of their communities. Contact us at opora1@gmail.com for more information about it and follow the news here and there!