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Empowering Children - Child Support and Child Care
Start date: Jul 1, 2015, End date: Jan 1, 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

With this EVS project we intend to support the service of two volunteers in a Waldorf kindergarden in Samara, Russian Federation. Both services will last for 12 months and start in September 2015. The Samara Waldorf Kindergarten is located in an area of Samara, with a high number of families who are socially or economically disadvanteged. Respectively many children visiting the kindergarden come from deprived families. Aim of the kindergarden, that is actually hosting forty children, is to promote and foster the children with special offers and to so give them new incentives for their personal development. The children who have already experienced discriminiation and exclusion are especially supported by the kindergardens approach in the development of their social competences and self-esteem. While hosting international volunteers, who can bring in new stimuli, perspectives, ideas and energy the project longs to reach these objectives. The exchange gives the children as well as the volunteers themselves an opportunity for an intercultural interaction and communication, they experience people from other countries, respectively life in another country, they establish personal relationships and are encouraged to broaden and diversify already existing pictures (stereotypes). While the volunteers during their service get to know different aspects of Russian society in general and the educational system in particular, the children get the opportunity to experiment themselves linguistically while living with people from another country. Center of this activity is to reach a growing positive perception of other „cultures“ and respect towards other people independently where they are from. During the service volunteers support the staff in all daily activities (wake up, supervision of feeding, sleeping, cleaning). They will also have the possibility to include and introduce own ideas and to make own offers. Volunteers, realizing their service at the Waldorf kindergarden should bring in a deep interest in working with children and a high degree of responsibility, even more as working with children requests permanent alertness and precaution. Volunteers should be creative, not be reserved towards assuming daily routines and be interested in experiencing life in the Russian Federation. Profound language skills are not expected. In order to be able to prepare the volunteers the best possible, they will participate in a ten day preparation seminar, realized by ICJA, before departure. This should enable them to get acquainted with all relevant topics before they start their work (EU, culture, discrimination and marginalization, stereotypes and racism). Throughout their service they will be assigned a mentor and a supervisor. In addition they will have a constant contact person at ICJA as their sending organisation, and Lastochki as their coordinating hosting organisation. We start our work from the premise that intercultural exchange – looked at on the long term – contributes to international understanding through enabling possibilities of meeting and so changing already existing pictures. Young people, who take part in a voluntary service are, in general, being influenced strongly by this in their personal development. For many volunteers this is a time where they experience the transition from Youth to Adulthood, assuming more and more responsability and putting their values and expectations to a test. Volunteers learn throughout their service to handle with new and enriching but also frightening situations and to develop solutions to them. They also include this competence in their environment (in work and personal relationships) after the service. This learning experience is not only limited to the volunteers themselves, but becomes important also for the ones who are also part of the exchange experiences, i.e. the children and families of the kindergarden.
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