How I learned to enjoy life during volunteer filmmaking
I started volunteering service many years ago at Donetsk Civic Organization «Alliance» (Ukraine). Then I chose to become a lawyer and spent a lot of time studying this profession in theory and practice. Still, I kept my interest in filmmaking and did film-cutting for my friends on various occasions. As a keen filmmaker, I also made a promo video for «Alliance» partners. Luckily, Don Bosco Youthnet Nederland noticed this promo and invited me to make a video for them.
I went to the Netherlands for 5 weeks to record and edit the film about «Vakantiebos 2016» — the event which takes place every year in Don Bosco Youthnet Nederland. Through camera I saw everything. From the first day full of curious people coming – and till the last day of leaving with tears on their eyes.
Every day I was observing the work of 32 volunteers who came from various countries of Europe. They had classes about how to work with children and generated a lot of creative ideas and games for the children. Their day-to-day activities with children were so great that sometimes children didn’t want to leave.
We did our recording, filming and editing job with another volunteer from Spain. Together we created a YouTube channel to show «Vakantiebos 2016» to the entire world. Nobody told us what to do. We had an opportunity to do everything in our creative way. I liked it. We created short videos for people to see an amazing atmosphere and joy of the project, with participants’ feedbacks. To watch them, please follow the link: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMJszMTcMj7ItIL3g1Ia2Nw
It was interesting to make video stories about volunteers’ culture exchange experience, their travelling, birthday surprises for each other, etc.
The most inspiring for me was my work on a short film about people who did a long-term EVS (European Voluntary Service). These people made a decision to do volunteering services for one year abroad. I asked them why they had decided to do so, what had they learnt and why they recommended EVS to all people around. You can check out their answers here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2iYE_kA5QsY
Long-term volunteers were of different age groups, from different cultures and with totally different experience behind but all of them told me that EVS helped them to better understand themselves and what they were going to do in their life. I was surprised. After each interview I felt like people just agreed to say the same stuff to my camera. Afterwards I realized that they didn’t. This happened after I’d found how much these 5 weeks helped me personally. It was just 5 weeks – and these people made a year of volunteering service.
So now I know the answers to my questions not because they gave them to me during the interview but because I felt the same about being there. I would say I learnt more during those 5 weeks than I had learnt for years before. This happens because you meet so many people from different cultures and you learn from these people. You can read a lot of worthy books but one conversation can change your way of thinking or even your life. Just because you are lucky to work at the place were all these people from different cultures and nations gather.
The world through the camera is different. Even people are different sometimes when you look at them through the camera.
I thank «Alliance» and «Don Bosco Youthnet Nederland» for such a great opportunity to work on what I was enjoying. «You look so happy on a photo, what happened with you?” – I heard this often from my friends. Maybe I have finally learnt what life is about? Maybe it’s about enjoying what you are doing — each month, each day, and each moment. It was the time of my life, and me with my camera were happy to be there.