Portrait of the month: Mathilde, volunteer (June 2020)

Mathilde started to work with us in May 2019 and was supposed to stay until May 2020. Unfortunately, due to Covid-19, many french volunteers and interns had to hurriedly fly back to France in March. Therefore, she tells us her story from France. Here is an overview of her 10 months as a volunteer.


Hi Mathilde, can you please introduce yourself ?

I’m Mathilde, I am studying social intervention and I took the opportunity of my end-of-the-year internship to come to Romania and work with Emmaüs in Iasi, which allowed me to discover a great organization and meet amazing people.

What were your missions?

As volunteers, we are lucky to have versatile roles, even if each volunteer has their specificities. I have worked at the shop, for the street outreach, and helped sorting out clothing items. I’ve also been able to participate in the project at the Belvedere site, which has developed considerably since I first came here.

What did you enjoy the most during your year at Emmaüs ?

I really enjoyed the family-like atmosphere of the community. As a volunteer, you have real responsibilities and you are included very quickly. Emmaüs Iasi does not limit itself to its main actions but also sets up a lot of projects, and Gelu, our director, is a star at Emmaüs International.

Iasi is a really cool city and hosts many cultural events. I have had the opportunity to go see a ballet “Lacul Lebedelor” (The Swan Lake). And what I loved the most were the day to day moments when we would laugh together, the street outreach with Nicu,, the shop with Irina, the office work with Dana, Simona and Leïla, and the shared apartment with the other volunteers.

What are your future projects ?

Whether I continue my studies, or find a job, I will stay in the social work sector. In the long run, I would like to contribute to social projects for organizations such as Emmaüs.

Do you have any regrets about your time in Iasi?

Perhaps, the time: There is so much to see and do, so many projects, that one year is barely enough. I also had to end this civic service two months earlier than expected because of this health crisis. And of course I already miss the community, the companions, my colleagues…. but I promise I will come back !!!

Thank you Mathilde! Good luck and see you soon !