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George Orwell

A prolific observationalist of the changing nature of the early 20th Century.

George Orwell, whose real name is Eric Arthur Blair was born in India in 1903. He was the son of a lower civil servant who was serving in India. As a boy, he was very academic and was able to get into prestigious schools back in England. He joined the Imperial Police in Burma, but soon became disparaged as he realized how much the Burmese detested living under British rule. This experience would lead to him releasing one of his great novels, Burmese Days. After resigning from the police, Orwell went to immerse himself with the lower classes in Paris and London working as a dishwasher and picking the wheat fields in the United Kingdom. What was to lead from this experience was his next novel which was heavily based on his experiences, the novel was called Down and Out in Paris and London. In the 1930s he would write a succession of further novels, for example, A Clergyman’s Daughter (1935) and Keep the Aspidistra Flying (1936), the latter was about a bookseller’s assistant who despises empty materialism and commercialism but has to come to terms with it in order to marry the woman he loves.

Orwell would go on to declare himself an anarchist and later a socialist. His major socialist piece of literature would develop into Road to Wigan Pier which described his experiences when living with destitute and unemployed miners in the north of England. It was a sharp, critical attack on politics in the country. Afterward, George joined the Republicans in the Spanish Civil war fighting against the nationalists. However, it was his disagreement with the Stalinist communists which made him flee back to the UK. What followed was for some people, his understated masterpiece Homage to Catalonia (1938). Moreover, it was Orwell’s streak in the 1940s of Animal Farm and Ninety Eighty Four which would cement his place in world literature. Animal farm an amazing novel of political satire that would strike at the very heart of Stalinist Russia. But it is his 1949 magnum opus which would scare and permeate the consciousness of his audiences about the horrors of totalitarianism. The lessons and warnings in f still apply to a lot of political life today. Reading Orwell is an education that you can not afford to miss. As he said in Homage to Catalonia “It is the same in all wars; the soldiers do the fighting, the journalists do the shouting, and no true patriot ever gets near a front-line trench, except on the briefest of propaganda-tours”.

Text written in April 2019.

Short bio of the volunteer:

James Garn, from the United Kingdom. My interests include photography, music (especially: jazz, hip/hop, and reggae), and philosophy.


Erasmus+ is a programme of the European Commission embracing the fields of education, training, youth and sports during the period 2014-2020. One of the major aspects is the cooperation between the different fields where the programme acts, hence contributing for a diverse and rich Europe.

Amongst the several goals of the programme, the following are prioritised: the objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy, including the headline education target; the aims of the strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training (ET 2020), including the corresponding benchmarks; the sustainable development of Partner Countries in the field of higher education; the overall goals of the renewed framework for European cooperation in the youth field (2010-2018); the objective of developing the European dimension in sport, in particular grassroots sport, in line with the EU work plan for sport and the promotion of European values in accordance with Article 2 of the Treaty on the European Union.

In order to achieve these goals, the Erasmus+ has several action policies. The Key Action 1 (KA1) is directed towards the mobility of people; Key Action 2 (KA2) for the cooperation for innovation and the interchange of good experiences; and Key Action 3 (KA3) which is for the support of reformation policies.

European Voluntary Service

Since 1991 the University of Madeira Students’ Union has developed a wide incentive policy for voluntary work. In 2013 the Students’ Union started the process to receive, send and coordinate Erasmus+ projects of the European Voluntary Service, in order to have a larger influence in the volunteering field. The Union received its first volunteer withing the ambit of a KA1 project in 2014. Many efforts have been done to allow young people from Madeira to take part in several initiatives in Europe, as well as propose several projects allowing young people from several countries to work in the projects of the Students’ Union of the University of Madeira. The main goal of the voluntary work is the contribution of the volunteers to the communities and places they will be staying, being their work not rewarded with payment.

We believe that the European Voluntary Service is a mechanism full of experiences, allowing the approved candidates to have the privilege of taking part in these projects and benefit the places and communities where these volunteers will be staying.

Since 2013, the University of Madeira Students’ Union has received volunteers that have collaborated in several activities and initiatives. Besides being able to enjoy a wonderful experience which will contribute to their personal and professional growth, they are able to contribute in a unique way to the community in which they are inserted and to join dozens of volunteers from the University of Madeira.