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Gateway to Europe 2014
Start date: Jan 1, 2015, End date: Dec 31, 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Context and background of the project: This project is involving two areas: the Rotterdam area and the Zutphen area. Rotterdam is the second biggest city in the Netherlands, the Zutphen area is a very remote, rural area. We have 2 groups of volunteers: one of three volunteers living in the Zutphen area, one of four volunteers, living in the Rotterdam area. They both focus on activities that are related to people who need extra support. Volunteers in the Zutphen area are working either at a biodynamic farm or at a residential house for children. The volunteers in Rotterdam work for a great diversity of organizations, like a women shelter, an art gallery that educates less priveleged youth, a production kitchen where housemade products are made, together with special education students, a primary school with a coloured population of children, a gym for people with limitations, and an organization that supports people with mental and physical limitations. Objectives of the project: There are different objectives. From the organizational perspective, the aim is to support organizations that aim to support people in need. From the volunteer's perspective, the aim is to let volunteers get to know social work and the different ways how social work can be organised and how this is done in the Netherlands. Besides, volunteers learn to work and live with a multicultural group of people. Number and profile participants: 9 volunteers are involved in this project, 5 will be active in Rotterdam, 3 in the Zutphen area. Description of activities: All volunteer support activities that aim to help people that are in need of extra care. The content of the work is diverse: for the volunteers in Zutphen, it is related to farming, producing dairy products, working int he greenery, cooking playing activities with children and household chores. In Rotterdam the activities consist of playing activities with children, art and cultural activities for less priveleged young people, production of food products, administrative activities and sports activities. Methodology to be used in carrying out the project: The volunteers learn while doing. They execute operational activities and collaborate with professionals that are trained and educated in the social field. By watching how professionals work, the volunteers learn to know different working methods and strategies that are relevant in the social field. Results and impact envisaged: The main result is related to broaden the horizon of people involved: professionals learn to work with young people (from abroad) who might have a different view/approach on a working strategy, clients/students/children learn to know people from abroad, the volunteers bring foreign influences inside their organization. Last but not least, volunteers learn about working strategies, habits, norms and values of a country which is foreign for them. This makes them (more) aware of their own cultural background, but they also learn to know the Dutch culture from the inside.
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