Intercultural dialogue

The way to find myself

Long term volunteering

Written by Giuzel Gaffanova from Russia

June 2020

I can’t breath… I need something to change me and my environment. What should I do?

This city seems so boring for me. Nothing attracts me. Everyday is the same: work – home – work. Is there a possibility to get rid of this daily routine? 

Well, there is a huge world called the Internet, I can ask it. 

Wow! I found something interesting that is volunteering in the branch of SCI – CVS-Bulgaria. Thank you, Internet! So they have three circles in their project – volunteering, refugees and cinema. 

Refugees! I have experience working with them, it was a really nice one. I should try to apply for this project. Interviews, paperwork, documents… and I am in Bulgaria as a part of the CVS-Bulgaria team. 

First days are so lazy, nothing exciting happens, but then we are told to organize a Human Library with refugees. 

  • But what is Human Library? 
  • Oh, it is a library where books are represented by people and books tell their stories. 
  • I have never heard about it. Can I be a book as well? I have something to tell people.
  • Sure.

Great, now I am sitting in the park telling locals stories about refugees that I have learnt from my previous experience. People looked so excited! I have not only one but few readers! This experience is really exhausting, I put all my energy to depict all I have in my mind, at the same time it is really meaningful, I met so many personalities with different backgrounds. 

I feel that something is changing in my mind. Before I was a bit of a close person, now I am not afraid of sharing my thoughts and being active.

  • Please, what is our next project? 
  • Refugee month.
  • That means not only one event, right?
  • Yes, we will organize events almost everyday and you are responsible for communication between partners and us.

I am making a schedule of events pushing our partners. Everybody looks so busy, so I need to work on it asking for some information again and again. I feel an important element in this chain, I feel useful, I feel that I like it. To be a coordinator is one of the greatest experiences that I have ever had. Controlling everything, knowing all information… So, this Refugee month went really fast. 

After this busy month I feel a bit devastated. Life is too slow, but I want it to run. I need more events like this, more tasks. 

  • Our next two events are Dobrofest and Winter Kids Festival.
  • Yahoo! I am ready. What are my tasks?

With all these events, the first six months of living in Bulgaria flew really fast. I could implement my organizational skills into work. I could see myself in positions that I had never imagined to be. I became more open-minded and tolerant. And I like being myself and I like who I am now.


* This story was part of the the first SCI Stories contest “Voice yourself”. Guizel, thank you very much for your participation. Thanks to people like you, the SCI movement continues to be alive and positively impacting the lives of thousands of people!

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