Emerging throw the city of Molfetta Blog dei volontari

I embarked on a volunteer experience in Molfetta, a historic city in southern Italy. Through Associazione InCo, I focused on professional development in roles like social media management, filmmaking, and copywriting. I created InCo's branding and templates for future volunteers, and collaborated on projects exploring LGBTQIAP+ issues and addressing domestic violence. I also undertook a personal project documenting local perspectives, resulting in an e-zine. Engaging with local schools, I discussed democracy and European values. Navigating bureaucratic challenges, including understanding the European Council and Parliament, provided insights into European governance. This experience enhanced my self-awareness, tolerance, and commitment to community engagement through cross-cultural exchanges and creative initiatives.

In southern Italy, there is a city called Molfetta, which has historical remnants dating back to the Neolithic period. During the Middle Ages, it was an important port in the region, and much of the old city's architecture dates from that time. Speaking of the port, this area is known for its seafood, and the typical pasta of the region is orecchiette. Within this city, there is a wonderful place called Associazione InCo - Molfetta. And before I knew all this, I had no idea what to expect from this experience.


Starting on February 7, 2024, everything changed. I began my personal journey, focusing on my professional development in Europe through my participation in the volunteer program at the InCo office. During this time, I engaged in numerous activities. I concentrated on my communication skills, working as a social media manager, filmmaker, and copywriter. In the first month, I developed the branding design for InCo and created templates for other volunteers to use after my departure. I also participated in personal projects of other volunteers, such as a podcast about stereotypes with Marisia Katsiadrami where I discussed the LGBTQIAP+ community, a videocast about my ESC experience with Dario Modugno and Giuseppe Mastropierro, and a project on domestic violence against women by Claire Brunat. Additionally, I initiated my own project based on an initial question: what do the locals and residents of Molfetta feel about the city? What are their experiences? This resulted in an e-zine, an artistic digital magazine without traditional editorial rules. I also attended school events to speak about democracy, violence against women, European values, and what it means to be a volunteer in the European Solidarity Corps.


I didn't expect to cover all these topics before the project, especially since some bureaucratic and political issues were unclear to me, such as the European Council and Parliament. However, after our monthly evaluations, it became easier to understand Europe's internal politics.


A reflective moment during the project was facing strong cultural differences and having to adapt to adversities. This required a lot of self-awareness to recognize what could and should be changed within myself, even down to my core values. I believe this experience greatly enhanced my tolerance and ability to act according to that understanding. It wasn't just about thinking of what's best for myself and others but also taking action.


This brings me to an important point: this opportunity allows for significant self-observation and observation of others. It’s possible to see personal growth and the changes within the community resulting from cultural exchanges and new initiatives brought by volunteers.


At the beginning of my journey in Molfetta, I was asked: what does it mean to be a volunteer? Now, I can confidently answer that it means having a commitment and empowering others, making a positive impact with all the tools provided by the organization, and having the freedom for creative expression.
Link for my e-zine: https://issuu.com/emmanuellalopes/docs/e-zine_a4