In the new year we continued our free weekly German conversation club events with our German and Belgian (DE) volunteers in the Youth House. We resumed our year-round daily service of free event photography and English-language coverage of events for non-profit organisations in Debrecen. New volunteers from Italy, Germany, Tunisia, Spain and Iran joined our work.
We continued our community theatre development project in Debrecen with the students of the Szent József Gymnasium, which we completed with performances in February. From March, we launched our Hungarian conversation club in the St. László Domonkos Parish, where our volunteers and helpers offered free practice to anyone who wanted to join and practice Hungarian. We entrusted the management of the club to a Hungarian language teacher, so that we could provide a quality development for internationals living in Debrecen, it was planned on a weekly basis throughout the year.
Following the restrictions of the Covid-19 pandemic in spring, our volunteers shifted their focus from cultural event photography to outdoor building, object and nature photography. May saw the arrival of the first volunteers for our international programme for the Hortobágy Bird Hospital, organised as part of the European Solidarity Corps short-term group volunteering scheme. In accordance with the regulations, we only accepted young people already living here, and with their help we were able to prepare the hospital for the season following the awakening of nature. We ran this project in groups repeatedly till September. At the beginning of July, after the spring epidemic had subsided, we organised a meeting, in partnership with the HAHA Association, for European Solidarity Corps (ESC) volunteers and their organisations working in our region. In the garden of the Nagyerdei Water Tower, young people from the Köz-Pont Association and the Hortobágy Bird Hospital, alongside our own youngsters chatted and played games with the young people, while informing them about the volunteer programmes.
At the end of this month, we had the opportunity to organise our regular free summer camp in Hortobágy. The aim of the camp, which was implemented in partnership with the Ecumenical Relief Organisation and with the support of Szerencsejáték Zrt., was to familiarise the young participants with the gambling and gambling situation in Hungary using various theatrical tools (image theatre, forum theatre, newspaper theatre) and to raise awareness among their peers about the dangers of gambling addiction and dependence.
This was followed by a free public speaking and communication training series in Csenger, aimed at encouraging young people to stay in the area. In August, in Hortobágy, we introduced visitors to the opportunities offered by European Solidarity Corps’ volunteering programmes.
Summer ended and the autumn wave of the Covid-19 pandemic gradually arrived. From October onwards, the number of cultural programmes gradually decreased, so the attention of our volunteers turned to other thematic photo albums and videos. The end of the year was much the same as the whole year: many of our programmes were cancelled or postponed to the following year. However, many of our events, although transformed in the online space, remained and added a lot of new value. One of them was just at the end of the year: we were invited by the Tempus Public Foundation to share the experience of our short term group volunteering programme in Hortobágy. Despite the circumstances, overall we had a successful year, as the vast majority of the planned activities were carried out.