Volunteers and NGOs: who are they?

During these last years, in Italy especially due to the longlasting migrant crisis, there has been great discussion around volounteering organizations and other kind of organizations such as the NGOs. The debate certainly did not help the reputation of these organizations and the output of it is that there is a widespread lack of trust in them and in their members increasing suspicion and wariness.

In some cases, this has arrived to trigger open hostility towards NGOs world. An example of this is the case of Silvia Romano, an Italian volounteer in Kenya that, after being kidnapped, has received loads of negative comments and insults on the web.

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The Take Care Kids Foundation in the slums of Pattaya, Thailand

“When one comes to work in Thailand, never mind how long it last, he will see very little or nothing at all of Thailand” these are the first words Giorgio tells me on the phone, straight after I introduced myself saying I have been living there for a while. In his tone there is no haughtiness but the awareness that he knows much but not all about it because there is still much to discover. This is his starting point, his knowledge is not based on the amount of years he spent there, still appreciable considering he lives in Pattaya, Thailand since 2003 (and his first time in the country has been in 1996), but on the fact he passed all these years digging in the mud in the seek for reality.
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The life at the group home of Take Care Kids Pattaya, Thailand

We already talked about Thailand and Take Care Kids with its founder (here the link), but in this adventure Giorgio is not alone, with him are also the volounteers both thai and italian. Among these there is Laura, with whom I talked of volounteering (here the link) and took the chance to ask her questions and understand how is in concrete the daily life of an association like Take Care Kids and the one of its volounteers cooperating in the group home.

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Born in the EU

State of the (European) Union
Bridge connecting Denmark and Sweden.

The time of new elections has come and now, like never before, since Europe is unified under the flag of the European Union, this institution is feeling in danger. The outburst of Brexit and its referendum history shows that what was deemed to be unthinkable, today it can happen.

From many parts and throughout all Europe, the shouting voices pointing at Europe like a big useless (or even harmful) waste raise and seem to be unstoppable as they provide as alternative the safe shelter of so-called “souverainism”, perceived as close to the people, in opposition to the common European institution depicted as far from people’s needs.

What has to do this with us then? The new elections will tell what the future direction of Europe will be, and future belongs to us: the Erasmus Generation and those coming after us.

Here, we, those grown with and within the EU, do not want to be voice of propaganda of one or the other side. What we want to do is to give real and concrete examples of what being grown up and living in the European Union means to us, taking inspiration from our ordinary lives, the things we can touch every day in our jobs and studies, the way we see our future.

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Tensions and extremism in Italy, the Macerata wound

The titles of all the newspaper talk about the cruel murder of Pamela, a young Italian girl. It is not clear yet what happened to her, seems that a Nigerian pusher gave her some heroin before killing her, cut her body in pieces and tried to hide her corpse.

Luca is holding the newspaper in his hands, put his pint of beer on the table of the pub where his friend Matteo is sitting. The pub is one like many others in Italy nowadays: there is a slot machine room in the back and people meets there after work (for those who still have it) or at anytime for those who do not.

“Have you seen what the hell have they done, these animals?” he says to his friend

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CAMBODIA: history of a non-place as long as you don’t get there

The streets of Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s capital, make visible that Cambodia is in the middle of Thailand and Vietnam: its traffic jams are dense, and people drive on the right side, but it is nothing compared to Vietnamese streets with their continuous flow of motorbikes running and parked everywhere. Being a point in the middle, however, does not make Cambodia a meeting point. This place has its own identity, or, to put it better, it is imprisoned in its own identity. The streets are clean and here and there are trees and lawns. No, it is not Switzerland, or maybe yes it is, but only if compared to Asian standards… This also makes Cambodia a very particular place out of time, if it is also compared to the south-east Asian region. Cambodia, stopped belonging to the world as we know it during the 70s and now it is coming back to the world due to the indirect effects of globalization. Only lately, Japanese and Russians are starting to invest in the country that is long-affected by a deficit of infrastructure, such as the lack of roads that link the nation: the only pro actually is the very low cost of labor (the average wage is around 100$). 

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Vietnam Today – Communiste …moi non plus

What will be published here will be not a report, not a diary, not a set of documents.

Instead, it will be a set of experiences, sensations, impressions that I developed through what I saw and the people I met in this beautiful country of South-East Asia. A country that is stuck in between a past that reveals itself in the omnipresence of the sickle-and-hammer flags and Ho Chi Minh’s images, and a future made of Burger Kings, Nike shoes, skyscrapers and motorcycles produced by multinational companies that now have their production plants in Vietnam.

Yes, it is closer to a travel journal, and as travel journal it will be published here:

one day of the trip per time, on Thursdays.

 

Episodes:

1 – Hanoi, the capital city

2 – Halong Bay: rice & souvenirs

3 – Ho Lua & Tam Coc – the deep Vietnam

4 – Hoi An: American Nightmare & American Dream

5 – My Son & Da Nang: the old & the new

6 – Saigon & Mekong: money doesn’t stink… fish does

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The duty to be oneself

 

I was reading here on Jeune Europe the great article from A. Vagaggini and G. Sgaravatti about the heroism of originality. Here below I will not lavish it, I just strongly recommend you to read it, it is worth. I was reflecting about the importance of originality, or I would better say, about originality as something from the authenticity of each one of us, as nothing is as original and unique as we are.

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