The IYNF team is expanding. In the beginning of February, Francesco Mangiarini and Marica Farini, European Solidarity Corps volunteers joined our team. Our volunteers from Italy will work on Volunteering for a Community Empowerment project for a year with us and we are expecting more energy, creativity and ideas.  Welcome and good luck!

If you are also interested in what they had done before coming to the IYNF, and what are their expectations towards this year, you can read more in their own language below:

Francesco Mangiarini: “I would like to gain new professional skills, as I have never worked in an office with a clear timetable before and new personal skills, as this is my first time living independently and in a shared flat with other people”

“My name is Francesco Mangiarini, I am 22 and I am from Brescia, a city in northern Italy. I come from an Information Technology background in high school and an experience studying International Sciences and European Institutions at The University of Milan. This is not my first long-term experience abroad, as in August 2015 I left Italy at 17 and moved to Czech Republic, precisely to Hradec Králové, for an academic year. There, I was hosted by a Czech family and attended a normal Czech school, learning a bit of the Czech language. I still hold the memories from that period very dearly and I have a great relationship with my Czech host family, whom I visit often, and many of the friends that I gained while living here. That experience sparked my interest for travelling and discovering new places, so in the few years after my stay in H. Králové I visited many more countries, satisfying my (everlasting) curiosity for new countries. As I was studying in university and getting to know more people and stories from around the world, I participated in four Erasmus+ projects, two of them here in Czech Republic, titled “Communication with no Words” (Part 1&2) and two in Ukraine and Georgia, focused on human rights and equality. I also had a two-week experience of the “Summer University” of the faculty of Social Sciences of Charles University with the title “European Identity between Unity and Diversity: Problems and Challenges”. All these experiences paired with my studies, contributed to growing my passion in politics and human rights. So when in December 2020 I decided, after a long personal reflection, to drop out of university, I wanted to do something that would allow me to live somewhere new and at the same time actively work on the issues that interest me. When I read the IYNF call for an European Solidarity Corps volunteer I liked it straight away, I could really see myself in the values of the founders and the strong political basis of the organization. On top of that, moving to Prague had been a dream of mine since 2015, when I first lived here and so I decided to apply and I was selected to be a new volunteer in 2021. I arrived in Prague on February 1st 2021, after a few weeks of packing and preparing the several documents needed to move country during COVID, and I will be working with IYNF until the end of January 2022. Just a few days after I arrived, the full European Solidarity Corps volunteer team, made up of me, Khadija and Marica, attended the On-Arrival Training, where we learned a lot of the tools that we would need in case we had any type of problem and where we could clarify some of the technicalities of European Solidarity Corps with people from the organizing Czech National Agency. Next week will be the first full week of work for me, I am curious to work with the whole team and see how things work from the inside here at IYNF. In conclusion, I am confident that this year will be a positive experience for me: I would like to gain new professional skills, as I have never worked in an office with a clear timetable before and new personal skills, as this is my first time living independently and in a shared flat with other people. On a more tangible level, I would like to improve my Czech language and learn new ways to be more aware of the impact that I have on the world around me and work to make that impact as positive as possible.”

Marica Farini: “I think that volunteering for IYNF will allow me to gain much experience in the field of Environmental Sciences, Youth work and Education”

“Hello everyone! My name is Marica Farini, I’m 22 and I am from Italy. I have recently graduated in Modern Languages for Business and Intercultural Communication but I realized that this is not the right path I want to pursue for my professional life. In fact, I would like to become a Legal Consultant hopefully in a NGO dealing with Women’s Rights in Latin America.

The idea came to mind after volunteering for a couple of months in a local NGO in the US, where I gave Math classes to Latin American immigrants in order to make them get a certificate to apply for a decent job. That was such an involving and life changing experience which didn’t last that long but gave me the right input to start wondering that studying Languages and Linguistics was cool but maybe not for my whole life.

Finding ways to get some experience within an international organization, I came across the European Solidarity Corps program. So I started to search for projects related to the field of Youth work and Environmental Education, and among all the other volunteering projects I applied for, at the end I decided to choose IYNF for two reasons: first of all, their purposes and work themes matched with what was I was looking for, and secondly I was looking for a relatively big city that I had never visited before, so I thought that Prague was the perfect choice.

I think that volunteering for IYNF will allow me to gain much experience in the field of Environmental Sciences, Youth work and Education. Also, it’s a good and helpful start for pursuing a MA’s in Human Rights and Humanitarian Action. Moreover, it’s a unique opportunity to get into the world of a local NGO and see how it works and what the roles are.

Speaking about Prague, I’m loving it. It’s a very modern and picturesque city, with tons of colored buildings which make it even prettier. Also, at the beginning it was quite entertaining to see the weather snowing since I come from a town where it snows every 6 or 7 years. I haven’t tried the food yet but I loved eating the trdelnik with chocolate. So good!

However, when I arrived, I was a bit scared about making new friends during the pandemic or finding that connection to get on well with my roommates, but now that I’ve been living in Prague for almost two weeks, I can say that I couldn’t ask for anything better. Even though we have no Internet in our apartment yet, we do games, laugh, and fill the flat with some furniture to make it seem less empty. I’m enjoying the beginning of this new experience.

In conclusion, I’ll take my work with IYNF and the activities we’re going to do throughout the year, as well as my stay in Prague as a starting point for achieving my academic and professional goals but also as a chance to grow personally.”