How did it all start? They say that the basis for creating an NGO should be solving a social problem… This idea is also suitable for describing the story of our NGO.
I had an experience of participating in international youth projects since 2001, which had completely changed my life. I had also invited Ene, and these experiences had left a big imprint on both of us, helped us to grow bolder.
I worked with youth with special needs and also researched what was happening in Saaremaa. The peculiarity of Saaremaa is that after fnishing the school day, it is difficult to find a place to meet your schoolmates and do something interesting. In Estonia, a young person is already a 7-year-old child by the law, and most of the activities of youth centers are aimed at very young people. Teenagers and high school students can’t be found there.
So it was with me. During a school day, I was not short of activities and mates, but after the school day there were far fewer opportunities to meet friends. Maybe it was due to my “late maturation”, low self-esteem or modesty. However, life has shown that young people with similar interests have not disappeared, and it is often easier to find new acquaintances and friends abroad.
After joining the European Union, our young people had many new opportunities, such as European Voluntary Service, but many were unaware of them. That’s how we decided to create NGO Islander. When choosing the name, we considered it important that it would sound good in both Estonian and English and be short. We added the image of Saaremaa as a logo and that’s how the beginning was made.
Right from the first year, we organized the first international training for youth leaders and we continue with exciting projects.
What matters is not the great fame or the number of members of our association, but the sincere thanks and bright eyes!
The “CommComm” project meeting in Saaremaa, summer 2018.