Volunteer Profile: Andrea Annamária Duka

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Andi’s European Voluntary Service was with Amaro Drom in Berlin, Germany

Hi, my name is Andrea Annamária Duka.  I am from Budapest, Hungary.

In my life, volunteering is really important.  I started to volunteer 15 years ago. In early years I was involved in projects and organizations related to children’s rights. I am still in contact with some of these including the Hungarian Antipoverty Network and Uccu foundation because these organizations work with methods and concepts I really believe in. I like to be a volunteer because I like to help others, to think about solutions, and I feel really happy when I can support other people to take an opportunity. I have received a lot of help from everyone and I know what it means when you get something, therefore I also want to give something back.

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Hederlezi Roma street and culture festival 2013

After my last exam at university I came to Berlin to do my European Voluntary Service in Amaro Drom e.V.

Amaro Drom is a youth self-organization of young Roma and non-Roma which aims to give young people space to engage as volunteers through empowerment, mobilization, self-organization, and participation to become active citizens. As volunteers we get the opportunity to engage in the different spheres of the organization. In the beginning I worked in our children’s programme with Roma and non-Roma children from Eastern Europe. There are only boys in the programme, and they are very active and are really talented children. I worked every afternoon with the children; every day we had a program in a different place. We had program in a music school, sports hall, library, and kindergarten.  All of them learned to play drums, and they are really cool, they really play perfectly.  I organized with them my own project about Camera Obscura.  We prepared the cameras with the children, and took pictures afterwards in the street.

After three months I had my first EVS seminar.That was the time when I started to open myself to others.

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Phiren Amenca seminar “Demystifying Roma”, 2013

At the beginning I was very closed, because everything was new and my language skills were really bad. But after the EVS seminar everything changed in my EVS. My hosting organisation was and is still really flexible with me, because they recognised my hyperactive personality.  So I could become active and I did a lot of colourful things.  For example I went to Otterstadt with another volunteer, Attila Lakatos, to a work camp where Hungarian boys helped to build a community building and a playground. We were there translators and participated in the construction. This was the first successful moment, finally my organisation believed in me, and they gave me an opportunity to challenge my language skills.  After I was in Hamburg at Kirchentag  – the protestant church day, a very big event with a fair with a lot of organizations. This was very different, we introduced our organisation and I took pictures of people with posters making a statement against antigypsyism.

These events were the beginning, when I could start to open myself and show who I am. For me, it was important to open a connection to my personality even without good language skills.

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In Otterstadt with another volunteer, Attila Lakatos

During my EVS I got to know the office and I spend a time there. This helped me to understand where I am working, because our organisation works on lot of topics. We organize a lot of seminars, conferences and workshops on local, national and international level, we have a local youth group, and we support migrants from Romania and Bulgaria in the social contact point. Amaro Drom and Amaro Foro are elaborate, and I think that one year there is not enough if you want to know everything about the organisation. During my year I have worked in a lot of different areas: I designed flyers for different events, I worked in the children’s program, the youth group, I helped in the Hederlezi Roma street and culture festival 2013, I participated in a lot of seminars, I created photo documentations about several events, I realized my own Camera Obscura project, and a lot of other things.

What have I learned in addition? I am more creative, and more intuitive than before because of the languages I learned. I also learned that it is very important to ask questions – you have to ask everything if you want to do a good job.  For me this was an opportunity which I can use. Before my EVS I had a lot of experience with national volunteering, and now also on an international level.  I learned a lot about other cultures, other religions, and about the social situations of people, which is really useful for me. I think this experience will be very helpful for me also in other situations in the future.

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