140 young volunteers to join Tarragona’s Mediterranean Games including refugees
Aged between 17 and 30, the helpers in the upcoming sporting event are from 25 countries
Some 140 young volunteers from 25 different countries, among them refugees living in Catalonia, will take part in the Mediterranean Games to be held in the southern Catalan city of Tarragona in less than two weeks. The volunteers, between 17 and 30 years old, are now in training for the event.
Their participation is through the EVSMeGa project, co-funded by the European Commission through the Erasmus+ initiative, and coordinated by the Mundus Association in collaboration with Tarragona City Council, as well as the event’s Foundation.
The young helpers arrived on June 7 and will remain in Tarragona until July 8, after the end of the Games, which start on June 22. On Monday, different organizations involved with the Games officially welcomed the young volunteers to Tarragona. The commissioner of the Games, Javier Villamayor, stressed that the sporting event depends on a collective effort and that Tarragona is "an open city that is delighted to welcome visitors."
The young volunteers come from a wide variety of countries, including France, Bulgaria, the UK, Croatia, Italy, Estonia, Austria, Greece, Algeria, Egypt, Tunisia, Lebanon, Morocco, Macedonia, Albania, Montenegro and Turkey. As for the refugees participating in the Games as volunteers, three are from Syria, two are from Venezuela, one is from Colombia, one is from Sudan, one is from Iran and one is from Morocco.
Samar from Lebanon: “We can travel the world”
Armando Orozco is one of the refugees. Only 19, Armando arrived from Venezuela with his family four months ago. He is currently getting his qualifications recognized so he can study marketing and public relations in Barcelona. Armando said he applied to be a volunteer out of gratitude for how the authorities had treated him. Meanwhile, Samar, from Lebanon, said he was honored to take part in the event, which he said shows young people that “we can travel the world, and that we are people of peace.”
Ferran Tarradellas, head representative of the European Commission in Barcelona, sees the program as a chance to “create links” at a time when he says they are more necessary than ever. The Commission believes that Euro-Mediterranean policy is key, says Tarradellas, which makes linking the “south and north of the Mediterranean” important, not only in terms of migration or refugees, but also for cooperation in areas such as energy and transport.
The program run by the Mundus Association helps cover the volunteers’ travel costs as well as other expenses, such as food, visa applications and accomodation. During their time in Tarragona, the young people stay at the city’s Education Complex and, apart from the training they receive for the Games, they are also introduced to local and Catalan culture, such as ‘castellers’ (human towers) and traditional ‘sardana’ dances.