The European Solidarity Corps (also referred to as ESC) is part of the European ERASMUS+ Youth in Action Program, which offers young people the opportunity to work in a host organization in another country, with the volunteering work for the benefit of the host organization or local community, while at the same time practical tasks enable the volunteer to develop skills and experiences.
The Pride Parade association is an accredited host, coordinating and sending organization for the European Voluntary Service. From 2016, we regularly host long-term projects, and in the time of the Pride Parade Festival, we also have a short-term group project.
Read what our previous volunteers have said about their experience:
Marta (Portugal) “At Ljubljana Pride I got the opportunity to develop my own knowledge in photo and video editing. This is something that I have been wanting for a long time so I am glad that they trusted me so much and that I was given the responsibility to carry out various events. I also learned a lot about the LGBTIQ + community in general and here in Slovenia. I was confronted with a different reality than the one I lived in Portugal. I have the freedom to suggest different activities and topics for discussion with other volunteers, with the help of our weekly Parade Connects events.
The experience will change your life and give you the opportunity to not only do something good but to meet different people from different cultures and grow as a person. It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so if you can – go for it!”
Avraam (Greece): “For those who are 18 to 30 and who read me, please treat yourself and search for this program called ‘European Solidarity Corps’. Don’t let such an opportunity slip away. My life has completely changed and I am so sure it will keep changing from now on. Grab this opportunity to change your own life and make new experiences. And if you are an LGBTQIA+ person, Ljubljana Pride is highly recommended”.
Read more here.
Julian (Germany): “I’m very happy to be on board of the Ljubljana Pride team for this whole year as a European volunteer. After living in Germany and working in Macedonia for one year, I am now looking forward to organizing the parade and other events together with our association.
So far I am struck by the hospitality and beauty of this city and country, making this working experience even more pleasant. ”
Maija (Finalnd): “My name is Maija. I am 22 years old and from Finland. I started volunteering at the Ljubljana Pride association about a month ago. Before I came here I was working in youth services in my hometown. I wanted to come here and volunteer because I want to challenge myself, gain self-confidence and learn new things.
My EVS here lasts one year so far, everything in Slovenia has gone really well and all the people in the association are really nice and encouraging. I also like the city, it’s beautiful! I am excited and look forward to all kinds of tasks, meeting new people and learning new things!”
After one year…
Maija (Finland): “One year ago my life was a rollercoaster because of many reasons. I had the feeling that I have to do something that I have never done before. I decided to leave, to jump to the unknown. To try my limits. To try if I could survive.
The year I spent in Slovenia was a collection of things, places, people, feelings and thoughts of all kinds. It was not easy and simple all the time. I faced loneliness, I faced feelings of being an outsider and not being enough. I doubted myself and my skills. I was scared. But on the other hand, I also felt many times connected, got feelings of belonging and feelings that I am doing all the things that I’m supposed to be doing. That I am important and I am enough.
I gained trust towards myself, towards all that I am. I came braver and more honest to myself. Now I know better who I am and what are the things and values that really matter to me. I wouldn’t say that it changed my view of the world. But I would say that it confirmed that I should follow the things inside of me. The things I feel are right.
Tonight I will step into the plane with all these memories and things that I learned during this year. The plane will take me back to Finland, back home. The new chapter will start.
From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank all of you who have shared parts of this journey with me. Especially to Ljubljana Pride team. You made me feel welcome, accepted, supported and appreciated.
And to you reading this. Don’t let your fears stop you. Do the things that you have always wanted to do. Be what you have always wanted to be. You will not regret it.”
Inês (Portugal): “The theme of this year’s Ljubljana pride, “uncover the invisible”, is provocative in all the right ways: it draws the attention of the public to a broader concept of the community that doesn’t restring itself to “LGB” and at the same time implies a self-critic, a look inside of our own efforts to create a safe, inclusive community while increasing visibility of the different struggles and needs. The festival combines different types of events that only enrichen its content and affect people at different levels. In Portugal, we host several marches with a lot of success, but if this festival taught me something is that it is possible to do more – to engage people and create safe spaces of discussion for more than a party or a march.”
Marko (Croatia): “Applying for volunteering program for Ljubljana pride festival happened because of the importance of building communities across borders and creating the environment for future collaboration in the region. This synergistic approach will inevitably result in a stronger fight for the rights of all those marginalized.”
Jessica (Portugal): “I’m Jessica and I am the EVS mentor of Ljubljana Pride Association. I fully stand behind this year’s political message, in which we come together as one united LGBTIQ+ community who leaves no one behind, including those whose more marginalized identities are often forgotten and pushed to the side. I volunteer and I march on the parade day proud of being in a great team full of committed and motivated colleagues and grateful for being part of all of it. Our struggle as a community is far from done, and I am confident that the general society will see this on Saturday: we sure will be loud and out!”
“EVS, as a program, offers opportunities most of the youth can only dream about, especially if your EVS time is spent with Ljubljana Pride. The atmosphere of constant support, motivation and learning make every task easy, while your co-workers soon enough become your friends, and not only your colleagues. This experience taught me how to learn faster, to recognize my strengths and weaknesses and to work on skills I didn’t have the opportunity to work on before. So if you have the opportunity, don’t miss it, and apply for this wonderful experience with Ljubljana Pride. J
“Going to an EVS in Ljubljana Pride was one of the best decisions I’ve made, it marked my whole year. Three amazing weeks with beautiful people, working on the organisation of Pride is just to wish for. There’s enough to say I’ve met my love while being here and returned again for another longterm EVS.
If you want a special experience of doing something really, really important, this is the place for you. Become a part of the most colourful family!
“My name is Adrián, I am 28 years old (I was 27 when I did my volunteering) and I am from Spain. I did my volunteering in Društvo Parada ponosa last summer. The experience was wonderful. I would repeat that experience thousands of times. Why? First of all, the people are great, above all the people from the association. They are always for you. Secondly, the Pride in Ljubljana, it´s so different from Spain. In Spain, it is a show, in Slovenia people fight to have rights. So, that difference does that the Pride in Slovenia is better for me.
It was one of the best month of my life. I got a lot of things such as enjoying while I was working. Meeting nice people, travelling around the country and seeing the nice lakes. I would like to go back. However, I am working right now, so, it´s impossible. Maybe next year.
All of you who are volunteers, please, spend time together. Advice: Enjoy your time! Go out! Travel! Don´t be shy! Praises: To have been volunteering in Parada Ponosa.
“My name is Camille I come from France and I’ve been an EVS for the Ljubljana Pride 2016. This was basically the best experience of my life. First, because I met amazing people whether the team or the guests they were all beautiful people and it was always a pleasure to discuss with them. Second, because this is a rewarding job to do, you never feel useless or bored! Actually, for me it was a revelation, I discovered that the team work, the world of the event, being useful and supporting an important cause was what I was born to do. Moreover, Slovenia is a beautiful country and we had the chance to go and visit wonderful places even in Ljubljana itself!
To be true, this experience taught me how to build something big and give my best for a cause that needs to be supported. I came back home full of confidence because at 19 I never felt more useful and considered than during those 3 weeks. When I came back I decided to use everything I learned and I became a member of the LGBT association from my university. I stopped being shy and I decided to really act and thanks to my EVS I helped to boost the association and we doubled the number of members. I even became the coordinator of the anti-discrimination project I built and succeed in gathering people to carry it out.
So if you ask me, you should totally go for it and if I can give you any advice it’s to be yourself and enjoy the fact that being far from home you don’t need to dread sharing your ideas etc..
The team is made of people who will be supportive and make you grow and you’ll be a team of volunteers all sharing this adventure which really is a gift!
Everything I keep from this experience is a human experience full of laughter, fun, group work, sun, incredible people and artists, beautiful landscapes and unforgettable bond tightened!”
“Hello, beautiful people,
I want to tell you about my Ljubljana Pride 2016 experience.
It was lovely. I had the chance to spend one amazing sunny month in the beautiful town of Ljubljana, helping organizing the project for a good reason. I guess you all know what that is. And you know it probably because you alone are a part of the LGBT+ community. But guess what, I am “officially” not. I mean, I am heterosexual. Oh! Now I know how it feels like to come out, haha. But seriously, my point is, coming to an environment of LGBT+ people, was extremely enriching for at least one simple thing- for the first time in my life I felt I am the one who is belonging to the minority. Things like- oh Rita come with us I wanna show you something – but wait – no, you are hetero – did hurt somewhere in deeeeep inside. Except for that, of course, I’ve had an amazing time, riding the city bike all over the town, meeting some crazy people, travelling to the tiny little piece of seashore Slovenia has 😉 And nevertheless, getting to know so much about the struggles of a LGBT+ person’s life. That is why I want to thank again for the experience and encourage everyone to join the team of Ljubljana Pride.
And hey, guess what – I live in Berlin now, and although I live on another side of the town, the fate somehow made me work in a Café in Schöneberg, which was since 1930 (and still is) the Mekka of LGBT+ scene here. I mean, people attract things, right?
Love, Rita (Slovakia)”