One of the main things that changed in my mindset is about sustainability. Of course it’s a global topic, that you can get in a different way with different perspectives. But I will try no to get it confused and draw parallels between sustainability and my ESC. In this case sustainability isn’t only about the environmental (climate change, clear environment etc) or economic (innovative partnerships or business models) types. it’s also about social sustainability which I find much more important. So being more clear, first of all I want to make a picture of how I get social sustainability itself, and how it can be related to my ESC. The concept of social sustainability encompasses such topics as social equity, livability,health equity, community development, social support, human rights, social responsibility, social justice,cultural competence. Being abroad long term you are passing through all of these competences regardless of your will. That’s how it goes.
By considering the fact that for example social equity is a state of affairs in which all people within a specific society have the same status in certain respect, including civil-rights, freedom of speech, equal access to social goods and services, so we can conclude that being ESC volunteer, you get that opportunity to be adhere these values. So I am a person, who has the new space to realize herself being relevant to it. So it means that I have civil-rights here, and all of the competencies mentioned above. The only thing where you can find a difference is the society where you can compare the differences, how these competences act in your current socium, and how they have acted in your permanent society. For example equal rights. I am working in an organisation where I am equal in my work to my colleagues. So if there is some misunderstanding I need to have a sustainable approach by considering the equal rights of all workers.
So in Armenia it’s possible to have some conflicts with your colleagues and nobody will concentrate on your rights. I mean maybe they will consider it, but you haven’t got enough guarantee to protect your rights. It’s already up to the approach of society. People prefer to keep silent because they have adapted already to that situation, and there is no idea about sustainability. But here for example if you notice that your equal access is limited, you can speak about it, even if your colleagues don’t care about it you have confidence that somehow your voice will be heard. And it’s because of society’s approach towards that competence to respect the rights of each other. So why am I showing this example. To get a clear image of sustainability, it depends where you are now, and how people around you react to it. So being here in some period my approach towards sustainability became more essential. So my first step, that I can do after my volunteering experience is working on the topic of sustainable approach, Because we can speak a lot about the importance of it. To say that we need to follow the rules of SDGs and so on. To be sustainable towards something, it’s essential to start with the simplest meaning of it. What is it? From where does its goals come from?
Probably it would be unclear for me as well, if I haven’t been here, and did get to know the specific knowledge that I have thanks to my ESC. Now my organization is organizing one youth exchange “Design and share your city”, where young people have the opportunity to get to know new things about urban places. To understand how it’s possible to use public spaces more productively, to share with different experiences and examples. So for me the topic of urbanism before was not so important. But being in the centre of the different discussions and perspectives of it, I start to think about it. Then I shared my opinions with my friends , how it would be nice to develop this or that idea for urban development and how we can use the spaces of our towns more productively.
Of course after i go back to my hometown it would not be possible at once to start to implement any ideas if the sustainable approach is generally absent. So the first thing that I can do is to focus on the topic about sustainable development.
Sustainable development is a systematic approach to growth and development in order to manage natural, produced, and social capital for the welfare of their own and future generations. That’s the idea that I got during my ESC. By seeing the approach of society for sustainability. It can be the simplest thing like to separate the trash, to respect the equal rights of each other, etc.
The common ideas of solidarity and sustainability
So in the text above I mentioned the sustainable approach. Because keeping sustainability towards something (environment, society, climate etc), firstly you have to have a sustainable approach. You need to be sustainable just for yourself. I think the common things of solidarity and sustainability is the idea to be in solidarity. It is just not possible to separate these two ideas that have common goals.
To be clear about what I mean I will give an example. So when you appear in society where things are mostly different, I mean lifestyle, manners, mindset etc, somehow you are involved in that atmosphere, having the impact of it on you. And you are involved in that society. So if it has a sustainable approach towards this or that thing, for example, to keep silent on weekends because people take a rest, and it’s their right and everybody should respect it. You also have this sustainable approach between each other. But having it you need to have solidarity as well. If I can’t adapt to this behaviour, I mean keeping silent, being responsible for my work, and separating trash attentively, so it means I will not be in solidarity, which means that I don’t respect the manners of the environment where I am living.
So for me solidarity is a sustainable approach for us towards everybody and everything, That’s what I found common for these two essential and important concepts. And I am hopeful that this consciousness will accompany me throughout my life. And the main thing that I will take with me as an overview of a sustainable approach with solidarity in everything I initiate myself.