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EVS-Herøya Misjonskirke - EVS 2015-2016
Start date: Aug 1, 2015, End date: Jul 31, 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The activities took place in Porsgrunn, in the South of Norway. The location is Herøya in the town of Porsgrunn. The town has around 35,000 inhabitants and is, with Skien, the main centre of Telemark County. Telemark is situated in the south-east part of Norway. During the winter there often is snow from Desember to March. The temperature can vary from +5 to -15 degrees, which means volunteers can take part in winter activities such as cross-country skiing and skating. In the summer, the temperature is between 15-22 degrees and there are many chances to hike in the woods, swim or do other water sports. The Mission Church (Herøya Misjonskirke) is located in the centre of Herøya, which has nearly 3,000 inhabitants. The church in Herøya is in the same area as the food store and the local sports club. The church has its own cafe, conference room and an apartment. The volunteers live safely in a newly renovated apartment on the 2nd floor of the Mission Church. The church is prepared to assist in relation to issues concerning health, the police or family concerns if necessary. The pastor and his family live about 300 metres away and are ready to assist at short notice. This is also the case for the mentor, who lives around 1,5 km from the church . The project is also totally free from alcohol and other narcotic substances. The volunteers will receive a mobile phone if necessary, so it is easy to keep in touch and they will also have use of a car during the project. Support: The church in Herøya is the base for the volunteers and staff. Most of the activities take part in Herøya, but we also work together with Moflata Mission Church in Skien, who run similar activities to ourselves. We also work with the nursery school next to the church, where volunteers are also able to assist if this matches their interests. There are also several other organisations in the area that host volunteers. In previous years, the group of volunteers have provided valuable support for one another. Proposed activities for volunteers: The volunteers worked alongside our local volunteers, doing all types of tasks. The tasks were directly connected to the specific activities we offer and to the general running of the church. Tasks ranged from preparing and selling food to social interaction with people of all ages and cleaning. It was important that the volunteers understood that everyone needed to contribute and had a positive attitude. The main group that we work with are children and youth from age 6 to 16. Another important group are adults and parents aged between 30 and 55 and the third group is seniors citizens. The volunteers enjoyed ineracting with these target groups. The volunteers learnt to work in the local enviroment and developed their skills through working with the church staff and local volunteers. They also developed leadership qualities; learning how to plan and carry out activities. An important factor was evaluating the work and helping to make changes to the project for the better. The church serves several generations, but the volunteers work mostly among children and young people and gain experience in child/youth work. In our church, there are people of different ethnic and cultural backgrounds and the volunteers gain some experience in intercultural work. As the volunteers came from a foreign country, they brought with them experience from their own backgrounds. The volunteers were part of the staff and filled key functions in the youth section of the organisation. They were given the space to develop their own abilities. The volunteers were treated as members of the church staff and answered to the pastor as their managing director and superior. The church work is organised through staff¨meetings, where the future activities were planned and information given by the pastor. Our work with children and young people is focussed on children and youth from the age of 6 and up. In the various activities, the volunteer was one of the leaders, who again answer to the main leader. The volunteers participated in the following activities: During the he first few months, until the volunteers get adjusted to the Norwegian culture and language, the main job was to be a helper in the church kitchen, where the volunteers and the other leaders prepare and sell food during the different activities. After a few months, kitchen work was still a part of the volunteers work, but they then also participated and arranged other activities. The volunteers this year were able to give speeches about their home countries and cultures, participate in the church choir and teach the young people about their language and culture.
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