It´s difficult to believe that half of my IVY voluntary service has already passed! Time flies indeed. And as I continue volunteering for POCTEFA, my experience deepens as well as knowledge about the trans-regional cooperation and EU initiatives.
Recently I had a chance to attend the Review Committee where I met some EU Commission officials and certain beneficiaries of our projects. As a Joint Secretary we were resolving doubts and giving detailed information on technical assistance, rules of financing and reimbursement and how to manage the projects. The event took place in a center which is supported by one of our projects, Jacob@ccess. It was therefore a perfect opportunity to visit the venue and see the tangible results of our work and how the funds are being used.
It was definitely a worthwhile initiative. The center called Atades Huesca was found around 30 years ago and its main aim is to shelter and give a creative and professional space to persons with mental disabilities. It´s open to everyone though the waiting list is quiet long. At this point there are about 30 people living in the center. They participate in workshops, they work (and get paid), they engage in handicrafts creating beautiful and original products which are later sold. They are taught to be independent and as self-sufficient as it´s possible. Their family can also stay with them for a while in cosy huts which are scattered in the grassy field and surrounded by the mountainous landscape. To make it even more idyllic, there is an animal farm with donkeys, goats, sheep, ducks and many more.
The project Jacob@ccess aims to create a trans-border net which provides easier access to the cultural patrimony of Camino de Santiago to the people with disabilities.
I also have to mention about my incredible experience I had a chance to have during EU Open Doors in Brussels. I was invited along with 11 other IVY volunteers to participate, represent and inform about Cohesion Policy of EU, Interreg Program and IVY Initiative.
We spent a wonderful day talking to visitors interested in the 30 successful projects implemented all over Europe and funded by European Regional Development Fund. We explained how the Cohesion policy of EU functions and what are the benefits of inter-regional cooperation. Besides, meeting and exchanging experiences with other IVY volunteers was also a very enriching part of this trip.
Now I´m back in Jaca, ready to continue my volunteering experience as an IVY Volunteer with a new energy and motivation!
P.S. And yes, finally I did take a course in rock climbing and discovered a new passion of my life!