SCI Slovenia: summer workcamps by the river, castle and in fairy tale…

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Slovenia is a young and small country in the southern part of Central Europe with only two million inhabitants. A few years ago, one travel blogger described it as Europe's best kept secret. However, it is still relatively unknown and is often confused with the much bigger Slovakia. Service Civil International (SCI) is present in Slovenia since its first year of independence in 1991, and there were already hundreds of SCI work camps in this ex-Yugoslavian country.

As a Slovenian branch of SCI, Zavod Voluntariat this summer hosted 11 work camps which attracted 60 volunteers from all over the world. The first one took place in the idyllic location next to emerald green Soča River. It was hosted by Sajeta Art & Music Festival, which has a 19 year-long tradition. Each year it comes with its carefully selected programme of every music style and genre and attempts to create a harbour of creativity and diversity in the specific natural setting.

Thirteen volunteers helped with the setting and organization of the festival and its creative camp, but at the same time they had time to discover the beautiful Posočje region. Before the video workshop we talked with three girls from Spain, Czech Republic and Netherlands, who enjoyed staying in the nature and learning how the organization of festival is done. For Elena this was her fifth SCI work camp. She has chosen this camp because she was attracted by the beautiful river. Tereza was determined to participate in one Slovenian work camp and Jose was convinced by the combination of music and creativity.

In Voluntariat we are also delighted to send volunteers to the work camp at Festival Floating Castle in Picturesque surroundings of the Snežnik Castle. It derives from the experience of the HISTeRIA Festival (held in Istria) and mirrors its concept of the "folk-puppet-music-theatre site-specific event". It retained the character of a meeting of artists, opened to other people, inviting the general public as well as the local community. Volunteers can offer help to artists, take care of the visitors, try themselves in preparing meals while enjoying the beautiful surroundings.

The educational farm V Pravljici in Škofljica offered participants first-hand experience with animal work and farm life. The eco-farm ‘In a Fairytale’ shelters rescued animals. The participants of this camp built 'hobbit houses' for animals, made a recycling water facility, constructed  underground greenhouse from recycling materials in the world and planted a green fence around the pastures. They also learned about eco and permaculture gardening, basic sustainable living solutions and healthy veggie cooking.

Hopefully next summer there will be even more to choose and also that this workcamps happen again and in even more…

Article contributed by Zavod Voluntariat. 


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