Here is the second post from our Argentinian volunteer Pedro!
This is the project that I had dedicated the most time and that has impacted me the most. For instance, Artur (the driver) calls me early in the morning, we leave at 9 am and return to the office at 5 pm! The hours pass in a moment while meeting new passengers and discovering new parts of the city. Communication is quite difficult because Artur does not speak English, but we manage to understand each other and even have some fun.
This project consists of an adapted car with a ramp, and a whole security system to transport passengers with mobility disabilities. But not only that-the project would fail without a person like Artur, who is always motivated, optimistic and eager to work and help! Passengers have a close bond with him, are not ashamed or afraid to ask him to take them to the door of the apartment or the door of the building they need to access. In recent days, I have been able to create a good relationship with several of the most frequent passengers, we took pictures together and laughed a lot.
I have real intentions to bring this project to my city, Mendoza. Every day I talk to my friends and tell them the incredible impact that is generated on these people who are systematically marginalized in the society because they do not even have the chance to get out and move around without encountering physical obstacles. This project makes a giant contribution to the quality of the life of the people with mobility disability- you see them happy and wanting to go out. This is the real intention of the Social Taxi- dare them to go out and feel that they are a part of this society and deserve to have the chance to enjoy the city and its services.
Sometimes I work in the office with Arūnas and Neringa (the founders of the National Institute for Social Integration) and feel that they are missing on the good outcomes of their work; always doing their job with enthusiasm and joy, I wish they could see the daily joy of the passengers traveling in the Social Taxi.
Seed of Change
Seed of Change is the project with which I am doing my exchange in Lithuania. That does not mean I have an obligation to attend all the workshops, however, I cannot pass on the opportunity to attend some workshops and gain valuable experience. On the other hand, it is a good way to spend time I have. This project is managed by Kamile, of whom I spoke in the publication „My first week.“
But in this case, I will tell you nothing but my personal experience and what I have perceived, since the activities were in Lithuanian. It was in a special school, attended by youth with complex problems. It was a group of about 14 youth, we were in a small room with three large tables, chairs and had two posters hanging in the front wall that served as a board. The workshop trainer, an artist Zilvinas was responsible for giving the workshop; the main theme was the symbols, the youngsters paid a lot of attention. Everything was developed without any interruption, everyone participated and contributed to the activity. As well, Kamile did a short introduction to Social Rights.
At first, before the workshop and Kamile’s introduction, each of the participants made a short presentation of themselves (their name and hobby)- I did it too and Kamile translated it for the participants. After this, we had the main activity- the workshop. Each received a sheet of paper and crayons. The idea was that everyone had to draw self representation in a form of a symbol. They were all very different, I wanted to participate in the activity and also did my drawing, then, in order, each one explained what he had done and Zilvinas gave his professional opinion. Again, Kamile translated my explanation.
Everything went perfectly, even better than we expected, as we assumed it would be difficult to capture the attention of the participants and engage them in the activity. Experience was so positive, so we decided to return to organize the next activity with the same group. I hope I’m still in Lithuania to come and participate too!