New EVS volunteer joins the Rota Vicentina team
Two months ago Rota Vicentina welcomed its second volunteer via European Voluntary Service program – 30 years old Māra Skredele from Riga, Latvia.
Māra started volunteering in Rota Vicentina in November 2018, but she found out about the project two years ago, after walking the Santiago Road from Porto. At the time, she fell in love with the beauty of Portugal, its stunning coastline and was looking for other similar long-distance trails. “The sceneries of Rota Vicentina looked amazing and I made a promise to myself to hike these trails in a year or two,” she explains “Last spring, I accidentally found information on the volunteering opportunity with Rota; I became really excited, sent my application and was truly happy and grateful when I was selected.”
With previous work experience in intercultural relations, journalism, translation work and health sport, Māra currently contributes to documenting the activities of Rota Vicentina through photography and writing, and is also involved in trail maintenance and communication with other volunteers. As her interests also include active tourism and literature, she will assist with the promotion of cultural tourism opportunities for the visitors of Rota Vicentina.
European voluntary service is a scheme funded by the European Commission ERASMUS+ programme, allowing young people aged 18-30 to participate in a mobility program abroad and work on a wide range of projects in a nonprofit organization with the total activity length from two weeks to one year. Each year Rota Vicentina hosts one EVS volunteer from the European Union or Partner Countries for 12 months offering the opportunity to learn about its trail network and contribute to sustainable tourism development in the South-West Portugal. Māra admits that “at the moment, I really enjoy being in Odemira, its culture, the friendliness and hospitality of people and, of course, the astoundingly beautiful nature here. In reality, the trails look even more magnificent than in pictures but now I also realize how much work it takes to develop and maintain a project like this.”
Rota Vicentina joined the EVS project “Odemira na Europa – Há presente e Há futuro aqui” in 2017, coordinated by the municipality of Odemira. The first EVS volunteer Dóra Simay arrived from Budapest, Hungary in Autumn 2017. With experience in creative industries, press and photography, Dóra not only got to know and explore the trails and assist with their maintenance, but also documented several key actions carried out by Rota Vicentina during the year. She also created a blog storiesthrough.rotavicentina.com - by combining photography, music and writing, this blog explores the biographies, experience and feelings of the people who helped to create and develop Rota Vicentina as we know it today. In addition, Dóra’s Instagram account 365diasdeemocao provides another perspective of her EVS experience in Portugal, depicting the activities carried out within the one year placement. The announcement for the next long-term volunteering opportunity is expected in Spring 2019; meanwhile, we encourage you to follow the Rota Vicentina website, as well as Facebook and Instagram accounts for more information on the activities of our volunteers.