Kategorie-Archiv: Erfahrungsbericht Österreich

Wachau Volunteer 2017

Presse-Dokument
Medium: ORF Niederösterreich online
Name der/des JournalistIn: Julia Hinterseer
Datum, Ausgabe: 9.August 2017
Titel: Jugendliche arbeiten freiwillig für Wachau
Link zum Artikel: http://noe.orf.at/news/stories/2859248/
Thema, Bezug: Umweltbaustelle Wachau Volunteer 2017
P.U.L.S. Praktikantinnen: Benauer Maria & Kofler Valentina
Bundesland des Projektes: Niederösterreich

Jugendliche arbeiten freiwillig für Wachau

Junge Menschen aus ganz Europa und Taiwan engagieren sich derzeit für den Erhalt der UNESCO-Welterbe-Region Wachau. Zwei Wochen lang mähen sie Wiesen und fördern damit den Natur- und Artenschutz. noe.ORF.at begleitet sie dabei.

Die Sonne scheint und das Thermometer zeigt bereits am Vormittag fast 30 Grad an. Auf einer der steilen Wiesen in der Wachau, in der Nähe von Weißenkirchen (Bezirk Krems), arbeitet eine Gruppe von Jugendlichen. Die 14 Mädchen und Burschen kommen aus allen Ecken Europas und aus Taiwan, um hier in Niederösterreich ehrenamtlich zu mähen und zu rechen.

Auf diesem Weg leisten sie einen Beitrag zum Schutz der Natur, der Artenvielfalt, zur Landschaftspflege und zur Regionalentwicklung. Vorrangig gehe es um die Pflege und die Erhaltung der Trockenrasen, sagt Hannes Seehofer, Leiter des Projekts „Wachau Volunteer“. Für besondere Tier- und Pflanzenarten, wie die Steinfeder oder das Federgras, aber auch für einige Orchideenarten sei es wichtig, dass die Trockenrasen offen gehalten werden, meint Seehofer weiter.

Freiwillige nehmen schwere Tätigkeiten in Kauf

Dafür ist aber harte Arbeit und Ausdauer nötig, wie man in den Gesichtern der freiwilligen Helfer sieht – Schweißperlen stehen auf ihrer Stirn. Bereits um 7.00 Uhr klingelte für sie am Morgen der Wecker – und das in ihren Ferien. Doch die Jugendlichen sind begeistert und werden täglich mit einer wunderbaren Aussicht auf die Donau und die Weinberge belohnt. Idealismus ist den Mädchen und Burschen aber trotzdem nicht abzusprechen.

Valentina Kofler
Foto: Valentina Kofler
Valentina Kofler
Foto: Valentina Kofler

Wikipedia for peace 2016

Für zwei Wochen fanden sich im August in Jenbach (Tirol) 15 junge Menschen aus Europa und Asien zusammen, um gemeinsam in ihren jeweiligen Muttersprachen Wikipedia-Artikel zum Thema Frieden zu schreiben. Ziel des Projekts “Wikipedia for Peace” war es, die Themen Frieden und Gerechtigkeit stärker im Internet sichtbar zu machen. Organisiert wurde es von den zwei Vereinen Service Civil International (SCI) und Wikimedia.

Foto: Philip Kopetzky
Foto: Philip Kopetzky

„Wir finden, Wikipedia hat noch nicht genügend Inhalte zu Friedensthemen, kann aber durch seine große Reichweite dazu beitragen, dem Thema gerade in Zeiten wie diesen mehr Aufmerksamkeit zu schenken“, so der Organisator Thomas Schallhart von der Friedensorganisation Service Civil International Österreich. Junge Menschen aus Ländern wie Israel, Vietnam, Syrien, Bulgarien und Spanien schrieben neue Artikel in insgesamt 13 Sprachen.

2015 hatte das Projekt erstmals in Wien stattgefunden. Dieses Jahr lag der Fokus auf dem Thema Umweltgerechtigkeit, wofür Tirol mit seiner reichen Natur und den dazugehörigen Konflikten einen guten Ausgangspunkt bietet. “Wir kommen alle aus unterschiedlichen Ländern, aber überall gibt es Umweltprobleme. Vielleicht können wir so einen kleinen Beitrag dazu leisten, die Welt besser zu machen”, erklärte eine polnische Teilnehmerin.

Foto: Ipuigso
Foto: Ipuigso

Das Ergebnis kann sich sehen lassen: 47 neue Artikel zu UmweltaktivistInnen aus aller Welt sind entstanden, 20 bestehende Artikel wurden erweitert und überarbeitet. Bei einer Fototour durch Jenbach hat die Gruppe fast alle Objekte, die der Tiroler Kunstkataster zur Gemeinde kennt, fotografiert. Eine detaillierte Auflistung aller Ergebnisse findet sich hier.

Das Projekt ist ein typisches “Workcamp”, wie der Service Civil International sie sonst eher offline in Nationalparks oder sozialen Einrichtungen organisiert: Die internationale Gruppe arbeitete für zwei Wochen ehrenamtlich für einen gemeinnützigen Zweck, lebte in einer einfachen Unterkunft und verpflegte sich selbst. Die Reisekosten hatten die TeilnehmerInnen selbst übernommen, der Rest wurde von Wikimedia Österreich und Service Civil International finanziert.

nominierung_odr_2016_logo

Presseberichte zum Projekt:

c) M. Gross

Green Belt Camp 2016 – eine Rückschau

c) G. PfundnerDas Grüne Band Europa beinhaltet einerseits eine vielfältige Naturlandschaft, da entlang der ehemaligen Ost-West-Grenze zahlreiche naturnahe Landschaften erhalten geblieben sind. 

Zur Erhaltung der vielfältigen Natur- bzw. Kulturlandschaft entlang des Grünen Bandes Europa ist naturschutzfachliche Pflege unumgänglich. Dieses erfolgt meist in Form von händischer Pflege.

Der SCI und der Naturschutzbund Niederösterreich organisieren seit Jahren gemeinsam dieses Workcamp. Jugendliche aus Österreich, Tschechien aber auch anderen Ländern am Grünen Band Europa wurden eingeladen, gemeinsam bei der Pflege wertvoller Biotope am Grünen Band mitzuarbeiten.
Beim gemeinsamen Arbeiten können grenzüberschreitende Freundschaften geschlossen
werden. Interkulturelles Lernen wird gezielt gefördert, passiert aber auch ganz nebenbei.

c) U. Göttke-KrogmannDas Greenbelt-Workcamp fand vom 20. bis zum 25. September 2016 statt. Es nahmen sechs Teilnehmer*innen im Alter von 18 – 26 Jahren statt. Die Herkunftsländer waren Österreich, Italien, Tschechien und Russland. Die Ehrenamtlichen waren am Campingplatz der Gemeinde Poysdorf untergebracht. Es gab die Möglichkeit dort zu zelten, es stand aber auch ein Aufenhaltsraum zur Verfügung.

Gekocht wurde meist gemeinsam, es gab aber auch die eine oder andere Einladung durch zu einem Mittagessen oder einem Heurigen-Besuch und sogar die Einladung zu einem am offenen Feuer gegrillten Lamm.

c) G. PfundnerZusätzlich zu den Pflegeeinsätzen wurde den Ehrenamtlichen ein vielfältiges Weiterbildungsprogramm geboten. Dabei wurden  sowohl Naturschutzfachliche Themen als auch die Geschichte des Grünen Band Europas näher gebracht.

Jeweils im Frühling lädt der Naturschutzbund zum Tageseinsatz im selben Gebiet. Bei Interesse schau dich bei den Wochenendaktionen um.

Waldhüttl

Valentine im WaldhüttlWaldhüttl is a wonderful place to discover in Innsbruck. It is a place of tolerance, acceptance and sharing, where people sing and dance instead of fighting.

This house, previously a center of resistance during WWII, welcomes people who are often excluded and for whom life is not always easy: Roma people, asylum seekers, pilgrims, locals and others created together a little piece of paradise where they can feel home. Everyone participates in the renovation of the house, the community’s well-being, the garden and the animals’ care.

During two weeks in July 2016, thirteen volunteers from Austria, France, Japan, Russia, Serbia, Spain, South Korea, Taiwan and Turkey met in Waldhüttl to actively participate in building Peace. We worked hard and happily under the sun and the rain, to create an accessible path for wheelchairs to the community garden, using traditional techniques to build a solid and aesthetic wall made of wood, soil and stones, meant to last for the next generations. Additionally, we painted the walls of the animal stable with chalk to isolate it better, learned how to make stairs to access the outdoor chicken house, repaired some fences, prepared a raised bed garden for handicapped people following the principles of permaculture, planted flowers and aromatic herbs, removed invasive plants, organized a sport event with Roma people and refugees, took part in a Roma festivity and organized a human library with the next door neighbour-refugees.

We also had the opportunity to make an alternative tour of Innsbruck, following the social areas rather than the touristic paths, experiment Acro-yoga, discover the wonderful mountains surrounding Innsbruck, pick up mushrooms, cook and eat world recipes, play a lot of games, dance till the sun rises and learn how to notice, respect and appreciate cultural differences.

Valentine im Waldhütl 2The main outcome of this workcamp was to inspire youngsters from different corners of our world to become engaged and active citizens. No matter the road the participants choose afterwards, they hopefully developed a wide curiosity for others, a strong will to participate in civil society through volunteering, activism or even just a certain way of living, the ability to reflect and the desire to learn. We, as participants, understood that before being a refugee, a Roma, a Cameroonese citizen or a Muslim, we are all human beings with feelings, dreams and challenges. We also grasped the importance of caring for each other and acting for change. Last but not least, we experienced the following philosophy: “most of the time, we think we help others but we are actually learning ourselves.”

Valentine

Internship @ SCI Austria office

During six months I had the great opportunity to do an internship within SCI Austria. My tasks were as diverse as it can get but there were two main areas: the funding and fundraising area and the non-formal education (NFE) area. Concerning the first one, I had to gather all relevant information about available funding at a national and European level for SCI Austria, which enters in line with their values and work contents. I managed to apply to three different funding and followed up each step of the project implementation for two of them. We organized a fundraising and educational hike on the theme of sustainability, which taught me the difficulties of organizing fundraising events and the different aspects of outdoor-in motion educational activities.

Wochenendaktion im Nationalpark Donauauen
Wochenendaktion im Nationalpark Donauauen

Concerning the educational area, I researched, reviewed and created NFE materials for the study part of SCI’s workcamps and the preparation seminar concerning Peace education, Sustainability, Intercultural communication, Human rights education and Migration. On the end, I managed to create a complete study part toolkit for SCI Austria’s workcamp coordinators. I was in charge of the interviews and selection of the workcamp coordinators and I also participated in the logistical organisation of the preparation seminar for volunteers and coordinators and for this occasion facilitated two workshops. I was lucky to participate in three different trainings:

  • “Laboratory for tools and skills for Peace Builders” (CCIVS, in Greece): learning how to develop tools and workshops on human rights, with a special focus on migration.
  • “Building Bridges: Training Course on Working with Asylum Seekers and Refugees” (SCI, in Switzerland): learning how to include refugees and work on the theme of refugees within volunteering projects.
  • Wikimedia training (Austria): learning how to write and edit articles, respecting the values of Wikimedia.

Valentine im Waldhüttl3I had the wonderful opportunity to coordinate a two weeks workcamp (Fresh’n’up Waldhüttl) with 13 international volunteers. The main tasks were the following: renovation and gardening work, organize a sport event with refugee, organize a Roma festivity, organize a human library with refugees, organize educational workshops on the themes of migration, minorities and sustainable lifestyle, facilitate group dynamics and mediate conflicts. This experience taught me once again how one of the most important aspects of NFE is to adapt to the target group as the results are rarely predictable but always valuable. I enhanced my capacity to connect people and create learning opportunities for all. Last but not least, I confirmed that education and social work are a passion which has to guide my life.

Finally, I also had a lot of administrative work, dealing with the internal and external communications, participating in the monthly plenary sessions and regular sub-group meetings. I also occasionally worked with the archives of SCI, promoted SCI’s volunteering projects and values during volunteer fairs and festivals and organized an event to promote the EVS.

Valentine am Prep Sem_WebAs the team of SCI Austria is composed only of volunteers, mainly students, I worked most of the time independently and had to make proof of a lot of determination and discipline to identify and implement the steps of the general tasks set up with my internship tutor. However, it was also a very good opportunity to learn about my own needs within a work environment and develop my sense of creativity and initiative. The SCI team was always as supportive and resourceful as they could, when you consider the limited time available for my accompaniment (thank you all!). Additionally, I was granted a lot of freedom concerning my work schedule and my work projects.

To sum up, I learned a lot about SCI values and working methods, fundraising methods and funding application process, project planning, implementation and follow up, workcamp coordination, NFE workshops’ development and implementation in the context of volunteering projects in ethical and critical ways, how to work with refugees and on the refugee theme in an educational context and independent and team work in an international environment.

I am very thankful to have been part of this adventure, which was a wonderful learning and creative experience, and I am looking forward to the following ones with SCI Austria as a regular volunteer this time!

Valentine

Two days in Moosbrunn through a volunteer’s eyes

Wochenendaktion im Nationalpark Donauauen

One mission: Mow the reed and moor grass of a nature reserve (Brunnlust) belonging to Naturschutzbund NÖ and rake up the cut plants to free the area. The main aim: Conserve the balance of this very special eco-system by allowing other plants to grow again.

Wochenendaktion im Nationalpark DonauauenLearnings and experiences: Learning how to use a traditional scythe and the modern motorised version of a scythe was as tiring as playful. Do you remember how driving the garbage truck or the lawn-tractor was the top of your dreams as a kid? Most of us still have this buried desire to crash and destroy but, for a good reason, we learned how to quiet it as we turned into adults. Here I was allowed to let this desire come back to life as it was for a good cause! Learning about the local beavers and seeing their piece of work was the best way to understand how sustainability also relies on a compromise between and within species, a compromise between different needs and objectives. Interacting with the volunteers outside of the “working hours” was a good opportunity to play games beyond language barriers, to revive childhood memories while sleeping on these thick gymnastics’ mattresses at the local elementary school, to discuss critically about the pros and cons of organic food and which systemic and behavioural changes should accompany the organic products’ movement, etc.

Many surprises: Putting your political convictions aside, it was a pleasant surprise to see the mayor sweat a bit next to us, showing that no matter which party you belong to, you can still have some passions and goals in common. As the only (official) foreigner, I was particularly touched by the efforts of everyone to speak in English, independently from their age. One Austrian volunteer even came to me and said “thanks to you, everybody is asking me if they can speak German to me!” A spontaneous proof of cultural sensitivity!

Wochenendaktion im Nationalpark DonauauenComing home with good memories: Besides the muscle pain and the dirty rain boots, I came back home with a wide feeling of satisfaction to have directly participated in a useful project, with memories of laughter while seeing my boots filling with the dark water as I stepped in the wrong place and then helping others wringing their soaked socks as they fell in the same trap.

A final goal: repeat this experience next year!

Valentine Costa

Erfahrungsbericht Study Camp “Memoric – Heroes of peace and pacifism remembered” 2015

Verfasst von Hanna Rask

This year collaboration of SCI Österreich and its long-term partner organization Dolomitenfreunde got a new addition to the yearly work camps in Carinthian Alps: the very first World War 1-themed study camp was organized in Kötschach-Mauthen, Carinthia in July. My EVS-volunteer project with Dolomitenfreunde being also supported by SCI, I got a privileged opportunity to follow this new kind of collaboration as a “part-time participant” besides by work in the war museum of Dolomitenfreunde in Kötschach.

In mid-July, a group of 11 young Austrians and Italians settled at Fit&Fun youth hostel in Mauthen for 10 days in order to learn about the history of World War 1 with the emphasis on their home countries and other topics related, such as pacifism, heroism and national borders. The camp was part of the SCI’s campaign Memory beyond Rhetoric, which aims at remembrance of WW1 and raising awareness about the history of pacifist movement in Europe and the diversity of perspectives concerning issues like war, peace and heroes.

The collaboration with Dolomitenfreunde and the camp took place mainly through the Museum which not only shares with SCI and the study camp the purpose of peace education, but also provided the camp with unique resources when it came to information, material and expertise about WW1. The whole group visited the museum on the very first day of their program to get an overview about the WW1 events in the area. Everyone being filled with the enormous load of information from the permanent exhibition, it took yet another visit later to see the special exhibition and to get more deeply engaged with artistic aspects of war.

From the educational point of view, an important aspect of the study camp was to let the participants learn not only by being given workshops and educational sessions, but also by giving them to other people. The first opportunity for that took place when the group of SCI volunteers working in the open-air museum of Dolomitenfreunde up in the mountains visited us in the village. Timelines, map puzzles, quizzes and games got a positive reception, and the best part was of course to get to know with these new people from six different countries. At the end of the camp the group also organized a workshop for the local community, which turned into a bit of improvisation – the program was planned mainly for an audience of younger people with not that much knowledge about the war history, so there was some confusion in the air when the small audience turned out to consist only of people with more age and knowledge than us. Eventually the expected roles where turned upside-down, the locals sharing their expertise with us instead the other way around.

The life during the camp in itself was no doubt an experience for all of the participants: spending 10 days intensively together with a multinational- and cultural group had its ups and downs from the new, emerging friendships to occasional language- or cultural barriers. Those days required flexibility from everyone when it came to decision making within the group. Disagreements or misunderstandings happened at times, was it about the type of cheese to be provided with pasta or just about time schedules or division of tasks. Especially for the youngest participants the camp was also both an experience of excitement and a test of independence while being far from home in a completely different environment. Some hypocrisy may, though, be noticed here in-between the lines – participating only part-time, I had myself the opportunity to take some breath of the intense socialization by sneaking to sleep at home and “relaxing” part of the day in the Museum.

Once more back to educational point of view. I find that the area around Kötschach-Mauthen provided the camp group with a unique scene for learning about WW1 events and life of the time. It definitely gave the participants some more concrete touch concerning the dates on a timeline and names of the battles to first see the huge collection of original photos and remained material items in the Museum, and later to walk in the middle of the remains of trenches, caverns and fortifications up in the mountains. A colorful addition were also the pieces of local “oral history” heard during the community workshop and the guided tour in the Museum.

This Finnish addition thanks and bows (as we say in Finland) the camp group, SCI and Dolomitenfreunde for the educational and entertaining 10 days.

More Information about Memoric

 

Volunteering in Alpenpark Karwendel 2015

Foto: Daniel Sperl
Foto: Daniel Sperl

Zum dritten Mal fand 2015 ein Kooperationsprojekt mit dem größten Naturpark Österreichs, dem Alpenpark Karwendel statt. Zehn SCI-Freiwillige aus insgesamt acht Nationen halfen bei der Erhaltung traditioneller Almflächen mit. Dabei ging es dieses Mal hauptsächlich um Neubau sowie Erhalt alter, kulturell interessanter und ökologisch wertvoller Trockensteinmauern. Durch diese Arbeit konnte ein Bereich rund um die Hölzelstalalm von unzähligen Steinen befreit werden, welche sich über die Jahre auf natürliche Weise im steilen Gelände abgelagert hatten und so die Bewirtschaftung mit Kühen erschwerten. Auch einzelne weitere Almpflegemaßnahmen wie die Beseitigung von Unkraut wurden von den Freiwilligen durchgeführt. Der Besitzer der Hölzelstalalm zeigten sich sehr angetan vom enormen Engagement der jungen Camp-Teilnehmer*innen die auch unter widrigen Bedingungen auf ihrer „Jagd nach Steinen“ nicht zu bremsen waren. Ohne fremde Unterstützung wird es für Bergbauern immer schwieriger das Kulturgut der heimischen Almlandschaften für künftige Generationen zu erhalten und gleichzeitig die bestmögliche Haltung von Nutzvieh zu gewährleisten.

Foto: Daniel Sperl
Foto: Daniel Sperl

Eine Besonderheit des Camps war es, dass die Freiwilligen unter einfachsten Bedingungen im Hochleger der Alm untergebracht waren. Geheizt wurde mit dem Holzofen, geduscht wurde mit kaltem Brunnenwasser und Handyempfang gab es keinen. Für viele Teilnehmer*innen eine komplett neue, aber sehr geschätzte Erfahrung.