Invisible people, unheard voices: supporting communities in Europe 2
Start date: Nov 1, 2014,
End date: Jun 1, 2016
Context/background of the project:
This project was drafted based on the results of previous projects we implemented within the Youth in Action/Erasmusplus programme, and in line with another EVS Sending project "Invisible people, unheard voices: supporting communities in Europe" which started on the 1st of January 2014. This project was expected to be a valuable addition, building further on our experiences and commitment to support mobility and non-formal learning of young European citizens.
Our EVS projects formed one of the main pillars in the community program of Platform Spartak. This program focused on creating and promoting an alternative to current social and cultural trends by informing and involving local communities, partners and volunteers. While developing this specific project "Invisible people, unheard voices: supporting communities in Europe 2," we envisioned to contribute to an alternative [voice] in Europe based on strong and sustainable local communities in which (young) citizens are socially involved and encouraged to express and develop themselves. At the core of this project issues related with immigration and integration of refugees are touched upon. The goal of this project together with the hosting association CVS Bulgaria is to promote and support intercultural understanding, solidarity, and social justice towards refugees.
One participant, national of the Netherlands Anna van der Tas has participated in this project. The participant studied History and Russian Language at the University of Amsterdam. She had previously visited Eastern European countries and lived in Russia to study the language and had interests in projects such as those dealing with human rights, refugees, tolerance and cultural exchange in Eastern Europe.
Interactivity was the key throughout the project, and a large array of non-formal educational methods and techniques were used in order to address the differing needs of the volunteer as well as the target group of the project. One of the motors behind this project was an intercultural learning process that would stimulate active participation and initiative. The volunteer worked mainly on the project developed by CVS – Bulgaria in cooperation with Caritas Sofia for integration of refugee children and youth in the Integration Centre for refugees in Sofia. Anna’s main tasks within the project were: fulfilling the tasks of project coordinators (on CVS-Bulgaria’s behalf) in the work with volunteers, recruiting volunteers, administrative tasks (e.g. submitting papers to The State Agency for Refugees), organizing introductory training, on-going, mid-term and final evaluations with the volunteers, and working with former volunteers in the Integration centre and keeping them involved and updated about on-going activities. The volunteer also worked with children in the Integration Centre – teaching English, running free time activities and workshops, organized and coordinated international volunteer workcamps in the Integration Centre and/or Registration centre in Banya village, coordinated fundraising campaigns. Finally, the volunteer developed educational materials such as Informational materials about the volunteers in the world and in Bulgaria and information brochure for psycho-social support for the refugees. Another task the volunteer was organizing workshops for school students on the topics of tolerance, anti-racism, intercultural communication. She worked together with a group of volunteers (The Tolerance WG) and as part of this work she made presentations at schools, universities and other promotional events where she presented European Volunteering and other Mobility opportunities.
The volunteer has achieved the expectations regarding new knowledge, skills, approaches and attitudes, initiative and creativity through her living in a multicultural environment and involvement in a wide range of concrete activities. The volunteer contributed to raising the awareness of the meaning of active citizenship among the local youth.
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