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European Dialogue and Service Year 2015 - 2016
Start date: Aug 1, 2015, End date: Nov 30, 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The European Dialogue and Service Year in Youth Centre ‘t WasdoM in Zwolle, the Netherlands is a challenging year of action and reflection. Five volunteers will live and work together for 10 months. Youth centre ‘t WasdoM is part of the Stichting Dominicanenklooster Zwolle located besides the Dominican Monastery, close to the historical city centre. Zwolle is a medium-sized town in the North of the country with a rich history in trade. Today it homes a plethora of institutes for tertiary education. It is a magnet town in the region with a vibrant cultural life in which the programmes of the Monastery fully participate. The aim of those who live and work at the Dominican monastery is to be closely linked with, involved in, engaged with and reflect on contemporary society, social justice and the role of religion in this. Dominican philosophy is characterised by open dialogue, a search for those things that give everyday life meaning, a lifestyle that looks beyond the material and hospitality towards those that need a safe place to live or work. The aim of the EVS-project fits within this frame: through practical work and social engagement young people are offered a time to reflect and figure out their talents. They're also encouraged to develop new skills: lingual, practical, social, intercultural and reflectional competences will grow during this project. The project offers the five EVS-participants the opportunity to live in an international community and work in local volunteer projects. The project’s duration is 10 months: from September 2015 till July 2016. The group exists out of youngsters from Germany, Hungary, Latvia and Estonia. The volunteers are culturally diverse and come from a variety of religious and non-religious backgrounds. Also two NEETyoungsters have a place within this group. They're offered a more structured work schedule. The opportunity to be involved in this project offers for both types of volunteers encourages peer2peer learning both ways. The volunteers share their accommodation for the duration of the program and the volunteers will work within the diverse departments of the monastery and its youth centre and/or in various volunteer projects in the neighbourhood. This embeds the participants in various communities (many of them with some kind of social disadvantage) and ensures both a safe haven and exposure to Dutch society. One morning a week is dedicated to personal and communal formation through thematic education, training and exchange on topics of politics, social issues and religion. This day is also used for volunteers to develop and implement their own (practical) projects within the youth centre. This way, the volunteers are exposed to a variety of cultural, social, political and religious contexts and learn to communicate and live interculturally. A group of five volunteers offers the ideal size for the envisioned group dynamics of exchange, dialogue and personal growth. It aims to give volunteers the opportunity to discover more about themselves, about life in general and to live in a multicultural and international environment, to have more opportunities in the labour market and/or education.
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