Creative Sustainability

Revitalizing Awareness of Cultural Diversity


Inizjamed's European Voluntary Service Project, HEI Ref. 2003-MT-3

September 2003 - August 2006

Alexia Papantchev Starts her term as Volunteer (Dec. 2004)

Chiara Perucca Arrives in Malta (May 2004) - Read Chiara's Bionote

Objectives - Tasks of the Volunteer - The Youth Programme

Alessandra Sciarra (Oct. 2003)


Alexia Papantchev Starts her term as Volunteer

December 2004


Alexia Papantchev arrived in Malta at the beginning of December 2004 to work as a volunteer with Inizjamed through the EVS action funded by the Youth programme of the EU. Alexia, who is from Normandy in France, is working within Inizjamed's Creative Sustainability project. She replaces Chiara Perucca who ended her term as volunteer with Inizjamed in November 2004. She will be in Malta for 10 months.


"I am here," says Alexia, "to live with the local population, to share in their daily life, to enrich myself with a culture other than mine and to merge into the cultural diversity of Malta. The EVS programme has given me the opportunity to put my knowledge at the service of a cultural initiative and to benefit from a unique experience.


In Normandy, Alexia has trained and worked mainly in the field of theatre and she has been involved in the coordination theatre workshops and other projects with various groups, including underprivileged people. In Malta she will also be working closely with the Third World Group and Koperattiva Kummerċ Ġust, two partners of Inizjamed in the Forum for Justice and Cooperation.


The Creative Sustainability project aims to promote cultural sustainability in Malta and in the Mediterranean and the ethical, educational and cultural richness of fair trade by designing and running concrete projects that are carried out in Malta among young people from various social and educational backgrounds and with the active participation of Refugees and asylum seekers, especially the young adults among them.



Les cacahuètes au caramel, le riz sauté, le poisson salé....


Les hommes et les femmes avec lesquels j'ai travaillé pour l'organisation d'une partie du NGOMA festival sont en majorité congolais et vivent dans le camp ouvert de Ħal Far.


Le Third World Goup est une Organisation Non Gouvernemental dont les membres visitent les réfugiés dans les camps ouverts et fermés de l'île de Malte.


N'ayant pas d'autorisation de me rendre dans les camps fermés, ma première démarche fut de me rendre dans le camp ouvert de Ħal Far ou j'y ai rencontré les personnes avec qui j'allai travailler.


De nationalité française, il a été plus facile pour moi de nouer des relations avec les congolais qui sont assez nombreux dans ce camp.


Tout les dimanches pendant deux mois je leur ai rendu visite et discuté avec eux de leur condition de vie, de leur histoire, de leur attente d'un pays qui fait désormais partie de l'Union Européene. J'ai joué avec leurs enfants et partagé leur quotidien (ce que je continue de faire).


Petit à petit, j'ai noué des relations d'amitié avec quelques femmes et hommes.


C'est donc tout naturellement que nous avons décidé de travailler ensemble pour une partie de l'organisation du NGOMA festival. Les femmes ont organisées une réunion et nous avons pris la décision commune de préparer des plats typiques de leur pays d'origine et de les vendre le 12 fevrier.


Nous avons mis au point une liste d'ingrédients qui leur ont été necessaire pour l'élaboration de plats pour environ 150 personnes et sommes tombés d'accord pour qu'elles préparent la nourriture à Ħal Far.


Je dois dire que tout cela s'est déroulé sous l'oeil amusé des hommes qui quand à eux ont pris en charge la publicité du festival dans l'enceinte du camp et aux alentours.


Cependant, deux semaines avant le 12 fevrier, il n'y avait pas d'électricité dans le camp ce qui rendait impossible l'utilisation des plaques électriques.

Le Third World Group nous a aimablement prêté son local de Valetta.


Le 11 fevrier au matin, moi, une membre du Third World Group et deux femmes sommes allées acheter tout les aliments necessaire à l'élaboration de la cuisine africaine.


N'ayant pas de moyens de déplacement, Inizjamed a mis a disposition des femmes un van le 12 fevrier au matin pour les conduire à Valetta et un grand bus l'apres midi pour emmener les hommes et les femmes des camps de Ħal Far et de Safi Barracks interresses par le festival.


Le 12 février au matin moi et deux personnes du Third World Group ont aidé les congolaises à cuisiner. Je cite pêle mêle : le boeuf à l'arachide, le poulet frit, les cacahuètes au caramel, le riz sauté, le poisson salé....


Le festival fut une réussite de mélanges culturelles.

Durant toute une après midi, des nationalitées différentes se sont cotoyées.


Touts les bénéfices de la vente des plats africains sont revenus aux femmes qui ont cuisinés.


Les médias de l'île les appellent les réfugiés, pour moi ce sont simplement des hommes et des femmes qui ayant rencontré des difficultés dans leur pays d'origine ont décidé de se construire un avenir meilleur dans un pays de l'Union Européene.



Alexia Papantchev

fevrier 2005


Chiara Perucca about her EVS with Inizjamed in Malta


EVS volunteer Chiara Perucca from Torino in Italy arrived in Malta in May to replace outgoing volunteer Alessandra Sciarra who had been in Malta for a number of months coordinating projects like Bokkaporti Skejjel and Rhythm Diversity.


Chiara will be in Malta for six months to work on an Inizjamed EVS project called Creative Sustainability. This is a project about cultural sustainability in the Mediterranean island of Malta. It consists of a series of artistic workshops, seminars and cultural initiatives that aim to revitalize local culture and link to the cultures of other Mediterranean and European cultures. The volunteer will work closely with young volunteers from Inizjamed and other Maltese NGOs and with young people from various social and educational backgrounds to strengthen links and to coordinate the work on the projects.


Chiara Perucca's voluntary service is being coordinated by Inizjamed in collaboration with her sending organization, the Ufficio Progetto Giovani – Comune di Padova. According to Kerstin Oschmann who deals with EVS projects within the Council of Padua, "The main objective to send a volunteer is to provide the volunteer with a formation opportunity, both in terms of personal experience, and as a means with which to cultivate future professionalism.


Besides, it is hoped that the opportunity of being able to confront themselves with people from another cultural background  would be useful, both for the volunteer and the people who are in contact with him/ her, in helping to create a deeper awareness about their European identity and participate actively in the construction of the same."


In this short article Chiara Perucca explains why she choose to participate in the EU's Youth EVS programme with Inizjamed. 


"This is not the first time that I am participating in an international voluntary initiative: for me this EVS experience is a stage in a longer journey.

Since when I was at high school I have spent a month of each summer in NGO voluntary camps in developing countries, like working in an orphanage in Brazil. In March 2004 I graduated in Political Science, specializing in the Social Anthropology of Development. My ethnological thesis is about a group of Cuban actors who do educational theatre with a marginalized community in Cuba.

So why EVS? Because like the Erasmus Programme that I participated in in Belgium, through EVS the European Union gives young people the opportunity to make a strong experience and to build a peaceful world. Working in a foreign country and living their everyday life gives you a level of knowledge of the culture and habits that the tourism market can never offer to travellers. Taking the bus with local people, going to their markets, eating their way and learning their language allows you a tolerant vision of cultural diversities, and helps you to understand the Other.

I have chosen to do voluntary work with the Maltese NGO Inizjamed because its projects deal with development issues and because Inizjamed gives me the opportunity to make good use of the practical and theorical competencies that I have collected during my formal and informal educational process.

Chiara Perucca
Malta, 2 June 2004



Chiara Perucca studied at the Faculty of Political Science at the University of Turin in Italy between October 1999 and March 2004. She specialized in the Social Anthropology of Development and graduated with the highest mark possible, 110 out of 110. For her final dissertation about the educational use of performance in developing countries she did five months of anthropological research on a group of Cuban actors who practice educational theatre in Cuba.

For three years she also attended the "Multidisciplinary Course on Education for Development" at the University of Turin which was held in collaboration with Unicef. In 2003 she attended the course "English for international contracts, agreement and conventions", organized by the International Training Centre of the International Labour Organization in collaboration with the University of Turin.

Between October 2001 and June 2002 Chiara Perucca studied at the Universite Libre de Bruxelles through an Erasmus grant. During this period she made a six months apprenticeship in the office of the MEP Gianni Pittella.

In 2003 she collaborated as a part-timer with "Dialogo Diretto", a fundraising agency for Non-Profit Organizations. Chiara has worked many times as a volunteer in NGO summer camps in Senegal, Guatemala, Brazil and Capeverde and she participated in the NGO Forum on "Food Sovereignity" which took place in Rome in 2002 for the FAO Summit.


5 June 2004


The European Union has approved a proposal by Inizjamed which allows the organization to choose a volunteer to work with Inizjamed for nine months on a project called "Creative Sustainability: Revitalizing Awareness of Cultural Diversity". The volunteer, Alessandra Sciarra, will arrive in September, 2003.


In May 2004 Inizjamed will nominate another volunteer to continue the work started by Alessandra. This project ends in August 2006.



The project aims to promote cultural sustainability in Malta and in the Mediterranean by designing and running concrete projects that are carried out in Malta among young people from various social and educational backgrounds.


The coordination of various projects will depend upon the strengthening of networks that already exist between Inizjamed and other members of the Forum for Justice and Cooperation in Malta, and local and foreign NGOs promoting cultural and social sustainability in the Mediterranean region.


The volunteer will work closely with young volunteers from Inizjamed and other Maltese NGOs to strengthen links and to coordinate the work on the projects. The process should lead to the drawing up of a number of proposals for the future. The projects include theatre and literature workshops and popular dance and music workshops which aim to revitalize traditional culture in an entertaining way. The volunteer will also work on the organization of public fora and seminars that deal with culture in Europe and the Mediterranean and promote the participation of young people in "culture planning" that does not ignore any section of society.


The main initiatives promoting cultural sustainability that are being coordinated by this project are as follows:

  • Popular Dance and Music Workshops: the advisor here is Simone Mongelli, a young percussionist from Milan who is a member of the cultural association based in Milan, "Il Paese delle Mille Danze".

  • Seminars and open discussions for young people on Cultural Diversity in Malta and in the Mediterranean: the advisor here is Adrian Grima.

  • Theatre and Literature: the advisors are educator, actress and theatre director, Marcelle Teuma, and educator and writer, Clare Azzopardi.

Tasks of the Volunteer

One of the main tasks of the volunteer is to lead weekly workshops and seminars dealing with cultural diversity in the Mediterranean with young people in the local community who are interested in sharing their own culture and their ideas about fruitful cultural exchange. In a country whose educational system draws much of its "culture" from the Anglo-American world, the volunteer will explore together with young people involved in civil society and others who are students the worlds that lie beyond the culture that reaches them through formal and non-formal education. The media plays a very important role in this respect, with its promotion of identifiable cultural values, models and aspirations.


The idea of having weekly workshops is based on the need to create fruitful cultural exchange and exploration that needs time and an atmosphere of trust. In this context, the volunteer will be working closely with the young volunteers involved in Inizjamed's projects and also with other members of youth organisations in the local community. Eventually the young people will be encouraged to take an active role in the organisation of the workshops themselves. The themes of the seminars and workshops will be intimately tied to the various projects dealing, for example, with literature, dance and music in the Mediterranean, that the volunteer will be actively involved in during her stay.


Networking with other NGOs: The volunteer will co-ordinate with other NGOs to promote the value of cultural sustainability and sustainable ways of working together and to encourage these partners to take part in the projects that are being proposed to revitalise traditional literature, music, dance, and theatre. An important linking factor will be the organisation of various seminar and open discussions on the subject of cultural sustainability.


Together with two local young volunteers, the EVS volunteer will be in charge of the co-ordination of and participation in the various projects and activities that will actually promote cultural sustainability in a concrete way. These includes include workshops in dance, music, literature and theatre and a co-ordinated series of seminars.


In the third phase of the project, the volunteer will co-ordinate both an evaluation of the tangible results of the various projects and activities by all the participants in the project and establish a direction for the possible continuation of the project.


Our prospective volunteer is particularly interested in the cultures of the Mediterranean and in literature in particular. Her work as a volunteer with Inizjamed ties in well with research she intends to carry out in Malta on the above issues. She is also particularly interested in the role of women in Maltese and other Mediterranean societies. Inizjamed has indicated Francis Ebejer's novels in English and Oliver Friggieri's translated short stories (in Italian and English) as possible sources of information for her ongoing research. The idea is for the volunteer to have hands-on experience of a wide range of tasks that are required to coordinate activities, establish strong networks and work with others. These include administrative tasks and constant networking both within the group of volunteers of Inizjamed and with young people that will afford the project some of their time. The volunteer will be supported and assisted by the young Maltese volunteers in such a way that all may learn from the various ideas and methods that come together in "Creative Sustainability".

  Alessandra Sciarra studied at the Facoltà di Scuola Interpreti e Traduttori di Forlì, Università di Bologna, specializing in Translation, between October 1998 and February 2003. Her course work included studying Italian Language, Linguistics and Literature, French (as a first language), English (as a second language), translation in and from French, and translation in and from English. She has also studied some Arabic. Her dissertation in textual hermeneutics, which is entitled “Modelli e archetipi di Horcynus Orca”, gives a detailed account of the novel Horcynus Orca based on the Jungian theory of archetypes and in the context of other literary and artistic works, including Bizet’s Carmen. Between October 2001 and March 2002 she was awarded an Erasmus grant to study at the Vleko Faculty for Interpreters and Translators in Brussels. Alessandra has also studied and worked in a number of countries, including France and the UK.  

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