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Sümeyye: “It is a perfect opportunity to practice my knowledge in action!”

I am Sümeyye from Turkey. I moved to Estonia to continue my further education with the
MA programme in Human Rights in the Digital Society at TLÜ. As the studies are flexible and I still had free time left, I searched for more opportunities to use my time wisely. Shortly after I discovered a volunteering opportunity at Peace Action Community Estonia (PACE) through ESC. The project “Unified Actions” has given me an opportunity to practice my knowledge in action.

Sümeyye is doing a long-term in-country volunteering activity and shared her experience of her volunteering with the help of her supporting organisation Continuous Action.

How did you find the project and Estonia?

As a person who grew up in a very hot Mediterranean City in Turkey, I was super excited to experience the cold weather in the frozen land, Estonia! It was a dream come true to experience this beauty that seemed like a fairytale. I could see every season with very vivid colours; summer has many shades of green. The autumn glows in golden colour leaves that cover the streets and the winter brings soft snow and wraps up the bare branches of trees. Well, I have not experienced the spring yet, but some say there are streets that smell like flowers.

I am sure you can feel my positive experiences in my words and beyond that. The volunteering I am currently doing has further enriched my experiences! I am lucky to be able to focus on helping my hosting organisation with the project called “Peace Education”. PACE itself, as a hosting organisation is unique and it’s a youth-led peace building organisation with lovely colleagues who are very knowledgeable and experienced people.

Peace Education resonates very close to my heart because throughout history, circumstances such as wars led people to grow apart from each other and eventually the ties among us were damaged. Especially, in today’s world with the digital age, we can reach any information easier than ever before and the world is knitted together more than it used to be. This means that there is a lot of false information on the internet. Moreover, the challenges the world faces today increased the damages on the ties among people. Therefore, Peace Education is more relevant than ever.

What has been your most recent activity in your project?

The project I am currently working on is a virtual art exhibition for kids, the theme of this project is PEACE. The aim is for kids to use paint, clay or any art materials to express the meaning of what PEACE means to them. The outcome of this activity is an online exhibition, through PACE’s social media to share their interpretations. We want to see what PEACE means from the eyes of a child, and we felt it would be very beautiful and heartfelt.

I believe Peace Education is essential for the youth to understand each other better and to build strong ties among communities in the society by breaking the prejudices towards one another and I feel privileged to be helping with the research of gathering sources to create Peace Education materials to present to the youth in Estonia.

To conclude, I am very delighted to be a part of promoting human rights and peace. It is a
perfect opportunity to practice my knowledge in action. Moreover, I understand once again
that I still have a lot to learn. I am not only practicing but also learning about new skills such as project management. Furthermore, the long term volunteering in the scope of ESC volunteering activity “Unified Actions” gives a lot of benefits to me such as linguistic support
as I wished to learn Estonian. I can learn it online with free practice during my volunteering period. The support from Estonian Agency has been very encouraging for me to know that these types of activities are available for everyone.
I consider volunteering very essential since it helps you to grow while helping the community to flourish! I sincerely advise everyone to volunteer because it is an amazing feeling as it sparks your interests and you can actually spark someone else’s interest and help to grow in promoting peace and human rights!