On the way to 2020: Olga Cortac

Kyobi Travel Agency

When and where was your first workcamp?

It was in 2010 in Moldova. My first workcamp was actually an international project with 100 participants. The project aimed to support a local community in a village, painting gates and walls, making a feeding-place for the animals etc.  It was the starting point for me to get deeper involved in AVI Moldova.

What was/is your role in AVI Moldova?

At the time of my first workcamp, I was at local level involved for AVI Moldova, including some small trainings and volunteer projects. After this project I took on more responsibilities for the organization-  – placement officer position for 2011 and 2012- and since 2012 I have been president of AVI Moldova.

We have more than 100 volunteers active at local activities and 10-15 members really involved in the organization. We have not organized workcamps in the last years - local partners are not so open for it and there is always additional funding needed. This year we had a workcamp with 3 international volunteers. We need to promote it more. Instead AVI Moldova is well-known for its campaigns and festivals at local level, for example a festival which promotes ‘happiness in the movement’ and healthy lifestyle, with 5000 pax or planting tree campaign with more than 1000 volunteers that planted trees for 1 day in Chisinau.

What are the strengths of SCI as an international movement?

I think our large network is certainly a strength.  I like the saying: Alone you can go faster, but together you can get further. It perfectly suits SCI. We have – with all the resources we have - a voice to promote peace.

And what are the current challenges?

The concept of volunteering has to be put more forward, especially in our part of the world. Volunteers here always ask: what do I actually get back from volunteering?  Regarding a training or a workshop the answer might be clear, but a workcamp? The added value of voluntary groups-work is not often considered/felt in Moldova or in Eastern Europe, like in other countries of Europe. Recruiting volunteers and raising awareness about volunteering is thus often a challenge too.

When did you realize that peace is something important?

I live in a country where there is no war, at least not since my birth. I believe in (inter)personal development, harmony and peace between actually everything. Then there is the support to local communities and ecological project. The value of service to other people is important for me. I actually experienced that during my first workcamp and since then this concept has kept being valid.

What does the year 2020 mean to you?

Well, I was not so long involved in SCI, nevertheless it became my second home. I learned from the past, from people, who dedicated their life to SCI. I admire them and it always gives me a big motivation to do something similar for the world, not only for me and my neighbour. At the same time 2020 means reflection to me, where do we go as movement? Learn from the past and develop a bright view for the future. What is that view?  In my opinion a big(ger) network which brings peace in every corner of the world with qualitative projects.

How do you personally want to celebrate ‘2020’?

Personally: I should sit alone for a while. It is a good moment for reflection. What is my personal goal, where should I go as person?  In the back of my mind: 100 years later people in SCI should learn from us instead, I (we) should make meaningful steps forward.

On the organization level we should come together, also reflect, but consider what we have achieved and develop plans for the future.


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