Posted in: October 3, 2023

Categories: Volunteering

Project: Supporting the national community of volunteers 

Type of Programme: Long-term European Solidarity Corps 

Organiser: Association Nationale des Compagnons Bâtisseurs, France 

Sending Organisation: Associazione Link APS, Italy 

“My experience in France started on March 15, 2023, arriving by plane in Paris and then later taking a train to Rennes, where I lived for 6 months and where I did most of the activities related to ANCB (Association Nationale Compagnons Batisseurs). 

My tutor Marie immediately welcomed me with great enthusiasm and kindness, and even throughout the whole course she always helped me when I needed it.  

The city from the beginning fascinated me and I will definitely return here in the future for a visit. The volunteer house is very large and allows each guest to have their privacy in peace, it has a large garden that needs to be taken care of and is very useful when there is a nice day to invite some friends and/or party. 

The office, very close to the house, is very large and well-maintained. It houses not only the ANCB but also CB (Compagnons Batisseurs) Bretagne, but despite the presence of many people inside there is a quiet and convivial atmosphere. Everyone has their own station, in their own room, shared or not by other colleagues. Here I go Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. with an hour lunch break in between. In the room where I work there are usually 4 other colleagues with whom I have had a very friendly relationship and who have a constantly guided me throughout my missions.  

My main mission is to be in charge of social media management, so also taking photos and making videos talking about the major activities carried out by ANCB. The first experience of this kind was in Paris in April 2023 for “La rencontre des volontaires” a meeting between all new volunteers with ANCB to introduce everyone to the world of CB and make new acquaintances and friends, I was also there to capture some photo shots and immortalize that moment and then share it on social channels.  

Back in Rennes we organized the “web reporters training”(May 2023) where I and another volunteer “taught” the basics of photography and video to a group of volunteers interested in learning. It was a very rewarding experience for me to be a “professor” for a short time and it made me very satisfied with the work done because I could see that everyone understood well what I was trying to explain and it was really nice to discover this side of me as well. At the end of this experience, with the group of guys, we set up this group of web reporters. Each of them came from different CB locations in France, so they were able to apply what they learned in their associations.  

Then in June 2023 there was the biggest event of the year, in Paris, a large group of volunteers from all over France and also from overseas departments come together for the “Chantiers Solidaires.”(Solidarity Works). At this event, I was able to go around the various construction sites around Paris to document the work of the volunteers through photos and videos. Thanks also to the help of some of our group of web reporters.  

Immediately after Paris I went to Tours for my mobility project, which is to go to another city where CB has a presence and document their work in that area. Arriving in Tours, after one day, we left for Cheverny with some volunteers and Animators from the association. Here in Cheverny the activity consisted of renovating an old wall in the old town centre using specific and traditional techniques handed down to us thanks to the ‘help of the “Compagnons du devoir.” We were hosted in a large house just outside Cheverny, and after work we would all go back there to have dinner and fun together. 

At the end of this experience, I returned to Rennes to edit all the photos and videos to post them on the various social networks. As a final project I was in charge of creating a guide brochure about the city of Rennes for the new volunteers. 

I am very satisfied with my experience here in France. I managed to overcome many “fears” such as using public transportation and of course being able to live on my own is a great achievement. I also had a lot of time to improve myself as a photographer and videomaker, driven mainly also by the curiosity that this place aroused in me.”