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Gelebte und erlebte Gleichheit in einem Europa der Vielfalt
Start date: Jun 18, 2014, End date: Dec 18, 2015 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The EVS-project "Gelebte und erlebte Gleichheit in einem Europa der Vielfalt" facilitated a 12-months European Voluntary Service by a 27-year-old woman from Macedonia in a residential group for people with mental disabilities located in Berlin. The residential group is run by the Stephanus Foundation, which coordinates over 80 institutions all over Berlin and Brandenburg for people with disabilities, children and youth as well as elderly people and has successfully worked with EVS-volunteers since 2011 in another part of its organisation. The residential group in Berlin-Buch is home to people with mental disabilities aged 23 to 30. The eight residents live as independently as possible, and are accompanied and supported in order for them to achieve as much equality and independence as possible in their daily lives. The volunteer supported the work of the staff members in offering leisure time activities and assisting with the residents daily activities such as housework, cooking and grocery shopping. The staff particularly supported the residents in activities such as cooking, baking, gardening as well as in following creative and musical interests. Supported by the staff the volunteer was able to suggest and organise leisure time offers for the residents (creative, cultural, sports...). While taking part in the daily life of the residents she experienced the atmosphere of normality, of acceptance and of respecting different abilities and needs that the Stephanus-Stiftung aims at creating with their work. The project was successful in making a contribution towards achieving more equality for people with disabilities in their everyday life while creating more awareness of cultural as well as human diversity. The volunteer herself experienced a process of informal learning, the challenges and experiences changed her perceptions and contributed to a better understanding of the very diverse realities of human life. She also gave new impulses to the daily routines in the residential group, and simultanoeusly, by working with and getting to know a young woman from a less known country in Southeast Europa, the residents, staff members and many other people became more aware of the diversity of European cultures.

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