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European Youth Project
Start date: Jul 1, 2015, End date: Jan 31, 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Tools for Self Reliance is a UK based charity, established 34 years ago and our mission is to contribute to poverty reduction in Africa by working with partner organisations and our supporters in the UK to empower people to build viable and sustainable livelihoods through the delivery of technical, business and life skills training and through the provision of tools for their trades. From our workshops in Southampton, we collect and refurbish used tools and sewing machines, reclaim timber for packing cases and aim to send 5-6 shipments each year to our projects in Africa. We also raise funds in the UK to enable technical, business and life skills training to take place in Africa as part of the project, delivered by the partner organisation. At the headquarters in Southampton, we have 8 full time staff and 2 part time as well as 140+ volunteers. Our objectives for this project are to offer the opportunity for the young volunteers to experience intercultural and inter generational learning through their volunteering. At Tools for Self Reliance, due to the nature of our work, we attract a diverse group of daily volunteers who support us in our work to sort the tools, refurbish tools, make packing crates for the kits, and work on the sewing machines. These volunteers have a wealth of experience in these areas but also have many years life experiences that they are happy to pass on to the younger generation. We recognise and value the opportunity for inter generational learning to take place as there are mutual benefits for both parties. The desired impact for the project is to provide the EVS volunteer with many opportunities for them to be left with a life long appreciation of cultural and inter generational differences and similarities. To continue to develop a practical and problems solving attitude to life along with improved language skills and an increase in their personal confidence and self esteem. All of these skills increase the young persons ability to secure sustainable employment for the future. The project is for 3 EVS volunteers, with one of these places being offered to a young person who has experienced poor school performance and/or the education system didn't benefit their individual skills. They may have also experienced limited opportunities for work experience due to their geographical location. All 3 of the volunteers ideally would be at the lower end of the age spectrum as this project will work alongside our Youth Programme working with young people aged between 15-24 years old. The principal activities will involve helping to meet the organisation's charitable objectives by practical work including learning about tools, industrial equipment and processes, health and safety, workshop processes and warehousing practices. These tasks will necessitate working alongside people from other countries, people from diverse backgrounds, young people from local schools and colleges, adults with learning difficulties plus retired people from the local community and thus will meet objectives regarding cultural and inter generational diversity, understanding of learning styles, as well as gaining practical, problem solving and team working skills. The host organisation are responsible for ensuring that the tasks are meaningful, within the capabilities of the participants and are in line with objectives of the project as agreed with all parties. In each case, the task will be preceded by a basic introduction and an in depth health and safety induction, followed by an informal question and answer session to ensure understanding. Specific on the job training will then be provided, either by the Operations Manager or an experienced and trusted volunteer. A non formal 'hands on' approach is adopted, with volunteers being encouraged to work alongside others until they are confident and competent to work without close supervision. The desired impact and long term benefits for the project and participants would be: Developing work skills or up skilling improves the volunteers employability. Gaining a lifelong appreciation of cultural and inter generational differences and similarities. A practical, problem-solving attitude to life. Recognising the value that older volunteers and people with disabilities are able to contribute to the charity and society as a whole. Improved English language skills. Increased confidence. Greater appreciation and understanding amongst our staff and volunteers of intercultural and inter generational differences and similarities. Effective, evolutionary planning assisted by the inputs/perspectives of the EVS volunteer. New ideas and attitudes engendered in the organisation. Informed, positive young people with enhanced life experience and a can-do attitude returning to their countries of origin.

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