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EU Volunteers in Central America share their stories

05 December 2018

On International Volunteer Day 2018, three EU Aid Volunteers with Trócaire in Honduras tell their stories about working in communications, safeguarding and protection mainstreaming.

Stefania Ziliani​ is an EU Aid volunteer working with Trócaire in Honduras. Photo : Giulia Vuillermoz / Trócaire.

This whole place feels like family

Giulia Vuillermoz, 26, Italy
EUAV Communications
Trócaire – Tegucigalpa (Honduras) 

“Art, design, communication, intercultural learning and travelling are now a common denominator in my everyday work-life. The best part of it is that I can use all of them for a worthy purpose, by working in an admirable environment and feeling I’m adding my small grain of sand to a bigger plan.

I thought it would take a while for me to actively start working with the team, to ‘get in the flow and be trusted’, to travel and visit partners and meet beneficiaries in the field. From the first days spent here, I realised how wrong I was: colleagues rely on us, trust our judgement and started including us in their plans straight away. 

All the people I’ve met have been so warm and so careful in making me feel part of something, helping me realise I’m not alone. 

This whole place feels like family: messy, loud, complicated and ruled by its own unspoken laws, made of extremely colourful parts, of delightful music, beautiful in some dynamics, terrible in some others, sometimes fulfilling and gratifying, sometimes disappointing, but always worth your interests, devotion and care. 

Inspiring work with local organisations

Dawid Forouzan, 29, Poland
EUAV Protection 
Trócaire – Tegucigalpa (Honduras) 

“The most inspiring thing so far has been the opportunity to work with local organisations and contribute to building their capacity. Thanks to this, we can leave a lasting effect on many more communities, and help them become self-sustainable and resilient against challenges they are facing.

Our NGO, Trócaire, has identified domains that still need more support, and has deployed volunteers to fill those gaps. 

It could be communications, protection mainstreaming, or in my case safeguarding – many of our partner organisations deliver assistance to people who may be vulnerable to violence and abuse, and I support them in ensuring the beneficiaries are kept safe from risk and treated with the dignity they deserve.”

Implementing protection mainstreaming

Stefania Ziliani, 26, Italy
EUAV Protection and Disaster Risk Reduction
Trócaire – Tegucigalpa (Honduras) 

“My job consists of supporting Trócaire´s partner organisations in implementing protection mainstreaming across their projects and approaches to programming. In other words, I help partners who are working with communities in need, to ensure that a focus on safety, meaningful access and dignity of beneficiaries is applied throughout their projects.”

I am grateful for the EUAV initiative because it is allowing me to further develop technical skills in protection mainstreaming mechanisms and to work closely with partners and communities in the field. 

On a more personal level, joining this programme gave me the opportunity to live in a fascinating country with a difficult socio-political reality but an incredibly warm, welcoming and resilient society which I found really easy to connect with from the very beginning.”

EU Aid Volunteer - Stefania Ziliani from Trocaire on Vimeo.

Stefania Ziliani​ is an EU Aid volunteer working with Trócaire as part of the REACH initiative, co-funded by the European Union. All videos were recorded and produced by Giulia Vuillermoz.​

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