In the two previous entries of mine I wrote about some hiking and hitch-hiking experiences I had during my first two months on Madeira. Why such topic? Convenience, I guess. Telling a real-life story has always been easier for me – usually less of an intelectual effort than coming up with a plot or a subject – so I found those texts fast and easy to write.
Now… now in all my self-justifying, self-warming, feeling-good-about-itself laziness I think those texts… can actually have their importance.
In early May, when we opened my foto exhibition in the Jesuits’ College, I had a few local people telling me that in just two months I had explored more of Madeira than it’s residents did during their entire life. Surprising as it may have sounded, it was still not quite as shocking as a group of local students pointing at a foto from Ponta de São Lourenço and asking: “Where did you take that one?”. “Where is that place?”. I couldn’t believe my ears.
I mean, really! How, “por amor de Deus”, can you live on an island as small as Madeira is, live in a city that’s an hour drive away from island’s most iconic landscape, and still, at the age of twenty-something, not know the spot?
And so on that one sunny day of May I discovered the peculiar truth that most of the Madeirans – how do I put it? – are not too curious about their island. It was then when I decided that Funchal… that this city… needs a hero. Somebody that will promote the natural beauty of all the peaks and forests surrounding the municipality.
It was then when I decided that I will specialize in those landscape-driven, sightseeing-focused texts. I decided that in this massive, collective EVS organism that we all create, in this Fernando-Pessoa-of-the-EVS body, I will be your Alberto Caeiro, I will be a heteronym that rather than writing elaborate entries, will tell you all you need to know about the well worth seeing nature of Madeira.
Porque nem todos os heróis vestem capas.
Maciej Śpiewakowski. Polish volunteer at AAUMa, passionate about journalism, photography, music and travels.
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, which is for the support of reformation policies.
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.