Far away from Briyani and Pakoraz, I came to the place known for chocolates and fries. Here I experience four seasons in one day. Welcome to one of the most complex, yet fascinating Belgium.
With its can-do spirit, Belgium is the perfect setting for driving change, combatting prejudice, and establishing sustainable, measurable improvements as a volunteer abroad. Belgium can be a bucket full of opportunities, you’ll never know which card you’ll be dealt.
So here my journey with the world’s largest youth run organization AIESEC as a global volunteer started on the 20th of February. After exploring the old diamond district and historic house Antwerp and cosy student hub Leuven, me along with super cooperative coordinator of #InteGreat and the team members went to Europe’s dazzling capital “Brussels” that allows me to explore a highly bureaucratic town, home to both the EU and NATO headquarters, but also a culturally rich, charming city.
In cooperation of “serve the city” a movement of volunteers serving cities in practical ways, we were assigned by the project “Le Petit-Château kids”. Nearby Canal, Le Petit-Château, stands out with its unique, very military style, this huge building was the recruitment centre for military but soon after 1986, it was converted into a reception centre for asylum-seekers.
So we decided to convert this whole week into something amazingly productive yet memorable for kids of Le Petit-Château, after considering all volunteer’s ideas , we planned to separate kids into 3 groups 4-7,7- 10 and 10-15 which were coordinated by one member of Le Petit-Château.
Welcomed by partially clouded turned into heavily raining weather, we got together in a big hall, after introducing ourselves to mini-packets of happiness “the kids”I choose “yellow group” of 7-9 year old kids , mostly speak French and few of them speak English and mixture of both ,we plan to start “treasure hunting” game. In which pictures of famous areas of le petit-chateau is displayed and kids has to find the real place displayed in pictures and then a kid named “precious” hold my hand and want me to run with him to find that treasure hide inside of that place. I was so amazed that each kid in this group knows every single place of le petit chateau. Finally we found all treasure and celebrated our joy of winning by choosing a name for our group “the Ninja group”. Not all children have immediate access to the arts, and we do our part to share the magic with them. They are allowed to put their imagination on paper and the results were outstanding. “Whoop whoop, we are going to cinema”, that was what I heard when I just took a first step in Le Petit-Château on the next day. While watching a movie, they were given chocolates and sweets – the small things that give children momentary joy.
So, that’s the perfect ending of a memorable week, spent by me and my team members with those naughty but super cute kids. I will always remember the crazy face they used to make and the funniest questions they asked. I have tried my best to make a change, even a small positive impact in their life. Now I hope Suriyya will not be afraid to fulfil her dreams to be a painter and one day Joseph will be the future “CR7’’.
Learn more about AIESEC’s global volunteer opportunity here
Cheers to our dreams!