at the beginning of a new life adventure…

Volunteer Profile | Clémence Neyrat

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Clémence Neyrat is volunteering with Phiren Amenca in Budapest, Hungary

My name is Clémence, I’m 22, I come from France and I’m doing a masters in European studies in Strasbourg and now I plan to stay one year in Hungary as a EVS volunteer for Phiren Amenca.

I am interested in a lot of things such as cultural activities (theatre in particular), current global issues, politics etc. I have a passion for multiculturalism and I really enjoy traveling, exploring as well as meeting and communicating with people. It’s not the first time I will live in another country but volunteering is something new for me, and it’s not by chance that I decided to do this. It’s a considered decision, I chose to listen to myself and undertake something different, something I really want to do.

Though a volunteering year does not seem to fit into the standard expectations for young people in France, I refused to regard this as a problem. On the contrary, I really felt the need of getting out of the conventional scheme of study or work. For me, volunteering is the best way to fully develop, open up to the rest of the world while getting involved in a project I believe in.

Actually I just arrived in Budapest but I already have a very good feeling about this experience. I really enjoy being here because I am persuaded that every day I will discover something new. It’s not easy to describe how excited I am about this project which is related to understanding and researching Roma issues. I have a lot of expectations and I hope to find my place and develop my own project during this Hungarian year.

I consider it above all as a “human experience”. I want to live a common experience with people from different backgrounds, discover and open myself to other cultures and above all the Roma culture which intrigues me a lot but with which I’m not familiar yet. I think, to share (with other people) is important in every sense of the word. Such an EVS year allows us to enrich our knowledge but also enrich on a personal level through contact with others.

For me, volunteering is the best way to fully develop, open up to the rest of the world while getting involved in a project I believe in.

One part of this project is the fight against discrimination and antigypsyism. I wish is to contribute to change the common mentality and allow for a new way of being. In my opinion, this can become a reality by improving the knowledge and the understanding of the others, and by promoting Roma cultures.

I see this project as the possibility to empower Roma to enjoy the same opportunities in society as non-Roma have. That must be realized without renouncing Roma culture and identity, which are in fact a fantastic example of diversity we need to talk more about. For me it means allowing all aspirations to become possible, encourage the access to culture and education, with the aim of improving living conditions. Actually, I also hope to learn more about this issue, especially politically.

More generally, fighting stereotypes seems to me really important because we are all responsible for making our world more respectful. I would also stress that it does not solely concern Roma issues but quite simply because every person and every community has a right to be recognized. Indeed, I attach great importance to the respect of the others and their thoughts.

Awareness is another key-word. I consider it very important and I want to be an active part in the field of information, make people aware of real problems which are too many times ignored, here in Hungary, in the neighboring countries, in France and as a matter of fact in all Europe.

I included my country here as well, because I consider continuing to work in that direction after my EVS.