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On the Way to Bloom
Start date: Aug 1, 2014, End date: Dec 31, 2015 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The project took place in Central Portugal. It included 2 volunteers hosted by ARCIL in Lousa for 12 months, 2 volunteers hosted by “Louzanimales” in Lousa for 12 months and 2 volunteers in a new Hosting Organisation APAFF for 8 months. In this project we selected volunteers from Turkey, Germany and Spain. The target groups of the host organisation ARCIL are mainly children, youth and young adults with and without disabilities. The organisation has from the beginning a special sensibility for the youth problems and realities. The second and the third host organisation: Louzanimales and APAFF work on awareness of animal rights for the local community. Hosting a young European was a good opportunity to work on awareness and inform the target groups, our team and the local community, especially young people, to the importance of intercultural activities as a way to exchange knowledge, practices and to experience different activities. Hosting European volunteers represented a helpful human resource and is motivating our teams. At the same time, these volunteers were considered like “something special” for the town, people and institutions. The volunteers helped the host organisations with organising different activities like leisure time activities with children, youth and adults with and without special needs, helped in adoption campaigns for animals, awareness activities for animals rights, etc. The volunteers gave a helping hand in organising special events, like information session on schools and promotion campaigns in fairs. The methodology we used was based on non formal learning, inter cultural learning and learning by doing. The volunteers were actually a new way for information for the young people of Lousã: in fact, the young people living in isolated area sometimes don’t know the possibilities offered by Erasmus Plus and it’s one of the reasons of their no- participation. In February 2008 we received the first European volunteer in ARCIL, and we hosted since the end of this project 20 volunteers in ARCIL and 9 in Louzanimales. In a new hosted organisation APAFF we have hosted 2 volunteers in this project. Each of the projects until so far gave us fantastic results and we are ready to continue the process of continuously hosting volunteers in Lousã and Figueira da Foz. In Lousã we have another organisation that host volunteers and coordinate it´s own project, We consider it as very useful if there are more projects occurring at the same time: for volunteers and for the promoting of the programme Erasmus Plus. It gives us a tool to collaborate together and built a structure in our region. This project had an important impact for the volunteers involved, the organisations and the local community. The volunteers brought a new intercultural dimension in the organisations and the local community. We believe that with this project we have promoted Erasmus Plus with giving the concrete example of something that is possible.
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