Solidarity, sometimes referred to as sharing, is a core value of the Emmaus Movement. Although it can take different forms (sending a load of goods, exchanging good practice, a financial donation), it is one of the cornerstones of the Movement.
The European work camp held in the Netherlands in 2010 is a good example of solidarity. Around 30 companions, friends and staff from the Movement from seven European countries spent two weeks giving their invaluable help to Emmaus Feniks (cleaning, pruning, painting, gardening etc).
- What is the difference between work camps and the summer volunteering scheme?
Every summer, between 15 June and 15 September, a number of European communities open their doors to young volunteers to enable them to discover the Emmaus values and to share the companions’ daily life. The volunteers usually take part in the community’s day-to-day work. It is often the first time they have come into contact with the Emmaus Movement.
Work camps, meanwhile, meet a given group’s specific need, and can take place at any time of year. They are aimed at people from the Movement who wish to give their time and share their skills.
- Are the work camps and summer volunteering scheme a form of solidarity?
What could be a better example of solidarity than welcoming as friends people who have come to offer their support?
What could be a better example of solidarity than wanting to meet up and interact in a spirit of sharing and mutual enrichment?
What could be a better example of solidarity than to unselfishly offer your time and skills to a needy person / organisation?
Youth camp or work camp volunteers, who may or may not be members of the Emmaus Movement, can only provide their support if they come with a mindset of truly wanting to work and share, with this being the reward for the time spent together, everyone’s efforts and the tasks that have been completed.
Don’t we usually hear that there is strength through unity? These initiatives perfectly encapsulate the saying. From the outset, the Emmaus Movement has developed and become the entity that we know today due to the diversity of its members, each individual’s skills, and the ethos of sharing. Furthermore, these camps enable people to meet and interact, with this contact nourishing and enriching the Movement, which is constantly evolving and renewing itself.
These volunteer schemes are a form of solidarity and sharing that is vital to Emmaus.
- So what is Emmaus Europe’s role?
Emmaus Europe does not replace existing relations forged by the groups and does not arrange camps. Instead, Emmaus Europe’s role is to pool and circulate information in a fair and transparent way. The initiatives always come from the grassroots groups.
Summer volunteering scheme: Emmaus Europe’s role is to circulate information by making it available to all via the Emmaus Europe website (http://emmaus-europe.org). The Secretariat also answers email / telephone enquiries about the scheme and refers people on.
Work camps: Emmaus Europe has a wider-ranging role in this case. Once the camp has been approved by the Regional Executive, and depending on the needs expressed, the organisation may do the following: send the invitation and registration form to all the European groups, answer queries, manage registrations, seek interpreters, compile feedback, send reviews / reports to the groups by email and publish them on the website.