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International Voluntary Year – Explore and Inspire Yourself and Others!
Start date: May 1, 2016, End date: Apr 30, 2018 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The project is following the tradition and experience of previous projects realized by Slezská diakonie (SD) and its partners. The project is based on the interest of SD schools, centres, and partner organisations to host international volunteers, and interest of volunteers from foreign countries to participate in international voluntary service. Wide network of social services and special schools located in the Moravian Silesian region, where the project will take place, will offer international volunteers sufficient space to participate on their activities. Main aim of the project is to enable voluntary service of 30 volunteers (9 of them will require additional support) at 16 HOs of Slezská diakonie, 8 schools of Slezská diakonie, and 4 partner organisations. Volunteers will come from France, Italy, Hungary, Germany, Poland, Austria, Slovakia, Spain, and Ukraine. Main goal of the project is conscious development and learning of volunteers through voluntary service, with focus mainly on personal, professional and spiritual development, and social, intercultural, and societal learning. Other goals of the project are support of learning of foreign languages and development of communication competences of all participants, support of conscious learning of other participants (supervisors, staff of HOs, users, local community), rise of their motivation through participation of volunteer, improvement of quality of services provided by HOs, improvement of quality of life if clients and students of HOs, and also raising awareness about volunteering and international volunteering in general.Common aspect of all realized activities is participation of volunteers in hosting organisation (schools of SD, centres of SD, and partner organisations’ centres) which focus on provision of social services and special education to various people (e.g. adults with disabilities, excluded families, children with mental, physical, and combined disabilities, youth endangered by social pathological phenomena, people suffering from mental illnesses, etc.). Participation of volunteers in HOs will be mainly in form of provision of individual support and accompaniment of above mentioned people. Part of the activities is also support of volunteers and supervisors through supervision, which is supposed to monitor the course of the service, help volunteer to reflect his learning and development, and also to prevent possible crisis situations. Supervisions will be held regularly, both with the supervisor (1/month) and coordinator of CO (1/2-3 months). The third supervision of coordinator and volunteer will specifically focus on the transferability and utilization of the EVS experience in the near future. Volunteers will be also supported in their learning and development during three seminars (OnArrival, Midterm, and Evaluation) and during Study visits of HOs.The whole project will be realized in close cooperation of coordinators of SD, head of SD foreign department, and other participants of the project. Activities and processes will be discussed with all people who will participate in them, and during the whole project, various participative and qualitative methods will be used in order to support its realisation. The impact of the project and its results will be seen mainly on its participants, that is volunteers, HOs and their personnel and users, local community, and coordinators, and they will have mainly form of development and learning. Specific outcomes will be development of volunteers’ soft skills, gaining of new competences and skills which will instil their confidence, help them to realize and understand cultural diversity, be able to work in multicultural team, and to realize social and societal responsibility in European and global scale. By participation of volunteer in HO and exchange of experience, points of view, and values, the project will also help to break prejudices and stereotypes. Above mentioned will be also relevant to the close community the volunteer will come in contact with during free time and participation in various activities and events. Significant impact will be also seen in lives of HOs users and students because in many cases, international volunteer will be one of few possibilities to come in contact with foreign country and culture. Long-term benefit of the project will be mainly represented by general development, enrichment, and learning by experience of volunteers, supervisors, HOs, and coordinators of CO and SO. The project will also have an impact on partnerships that it includes, mainly in form of growth of trust and exchange of experience and innovations.
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