European Solidarity Corps: When a vision becomes reality

In only one year’s time, the European Solidarity Corps vision has become a reality. More than 35,000 young Europeans have joined this new EU initiative, and over 1,500 of them are already active on the ground.

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One year ago in September 2016, the idea of the European Solidarity Corps was born — a vision of young Europeans offering their help where it is most needed. A few months later, the first participants arrived ready to help: rebuilding cultural treasures and community life in the region of Norcia, Italy stricken by severe earthquakes last year, giving classes to Syrian refugees in Berlin, Germany or organising activities for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds in Rotterdam, the Netherlands just to name a few.

Some figures

More than 35,000 young Europeans joined the European Solidarity Corps since December 2016. They expressed their willingness to volunteer or work in projects in their own country or abroad to benefit communities and people around Europe. Over 1,500 young people are already active on the ground, and 3,600 placements are expected by the end of 2017. Our vision is that 100,000 young Europeans will take part by the end of 2020.

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Three examples

In March, Manon from France arrived to Budapest. During her 4-month stay, she looked for and wrote about stories of solidarity among 14 countries along the Danube River as they help each other to get greener, more inclusive, innovative and connected.

Manon in Budapest | European Solidarity Corps

“The European Solidarity Corps promotes everything that Europe needs right now. It promotes solidarity, cooperation, common values. It tries to get European citizens and countries closer to each other. I think this is the whole point of the initiative and of the EU.”

In August, a first group of 16 volunteers from six EU countries arrived to Norcia, Italy. They are helping with the reconstruction of the historic buildings heavily damaged by the earthquakes last year as well as working with the young and the elderly of Norcia, organising workshops, outdoor activities and cultural events for the whole community.

European Solidarity Corps in Norcia, Italy

“I wanted to participate because I felt that I could make a change, to feel useful and also to grow as a person.”

More than volunteering: jobs and traineeships

From the start, the European Solidarity Corps has been about more than just volunteering. Its aim is also to create opportunities for young people to develop their skills and increase their future prospects through a job or a traineeship. Until March 2019, up to 6,000 young people will benefit from a solidarity-related job or traineeship. One of them is Marco from Italy. He has started his traineeship in a shelter in Essen, Germany. There he will support residents with their daily issues including access to social services or help organising language and integration courses as well as leisure activities.

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Marco signing his contract on the day 1 of his traineeship

Do you want to become one of them? Join the European Solidarity Corps!

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