SEA TURTLE RESCUE CENTER “rescued” during the pandemic by Nele Joachim, a volunteer from the European Solidarity Corps
The lock down in Greece was admittedly very effective in flattening the curve of COVID-19, but had it not been for Nele and a bunch of other volunteers who stayed on, the operation of ARCHELON’s Rescue Center and it’s 20 injured or sick sea turtles would have been at stake. Here is Nele’s story about her experience with ARCHELON.
”When I graduated from high school in summer of 2019, I had many cool trips with family and friends booked, but I hadn´t decided on what I want to do after that. Go to University? Get a Job? A gap year sounded like the right thing to do for me, so I went to the CIJ, Centre de la Jeunesse (youth centre) in Luxembourg to find a project that would help me figure out where I want to go in life. They suggested a few different options, all with the European Voluntary Service (EVS), now European Solidarity Corps (ESC) . I directly fell in love with the Rescue Centre of ARCHELON in Athens and the idea of helping sea turtles to get back the life that they deserve. I signed up for 6 months but ended up extending another 3 months as a regular volunteer, since this experience is so much fun!
Cleaning turtles, feeding them and taking care of their treatments became my daily routine and, without a doubt, it is an amazing way to spend a day. I was given the chance to do some minor treatment such as physiotherapy and injections for a small turtle as well which was such an honour and a very special experience to me. The most beautiful period of my stay is now, June and July since we get to release some of our patients! Seeing them go back in the sea is incredible, so relieving and joyful. It makes us all so proud to see our hard work pay off!
The tasks are physically hard and exhausting, but, most importantly, working with those amazing animals and different people from all around the world is great fun. Since I arrived, I made friends from a bunch of different European countries, but also awesome people living in, for example, Zimbabwe and South Korea! The Rescue Centre has space for everyone, no matter where you are from or your age group. Everybody is welcome from me being 18 to the oldest volunteer who I worked with, being 50+! And believe me, you will not regret coming here!!!
The turtles will thank you.”
In turn ARCHELON would like to thank all volunteers for their support to the Rescue Centre.
Nele Joachim came to the Rescue Centre back in November 2019 and successfully finished her EVS volunteer time after 6 fruitful months for her as well as for the proper functioning of this project. She has been such one of the most important members of the volunteer team at the Centre that she decided to extend her volunteer time and is still making a difference by actively contributing to the treatment of injured and sick sea turtles.
European Voluntary Service (EVS), and now European Solidarity Corps (ESC), gives the opportunity to young people from the European Union and cooperating countries, aged 18 to 30 years old, to have a better understanding of their choices in life, their personal limits, as well as to be a part of a higher cause, but at the same time, to be introduced to new occupational opportunities. ARCHELON supports EVS for many years contributing to long-lasting friendships and carving out to people’s environmental awareness.
For more information about ESC, its benefits and ARCHELON, you can visit EU’s European Youth Portal: https://europa.eu/youth/solidarity_en and https://europa.eu/youth/volunteering/organisation/47933_en.