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Pet therapy: an experience with people and animals.
Start date: Jul 1, 2015, End date: Dec 31, 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Individual EVS project in a special riding school for disabled people in the North East of Italy. One French volunteer will be working with us for 12 months. “Anche noi a cavallo” offers volunteers an important experience of personal development through close contact with animals working with disabled and marginalized adults and children. They gain insight into the world of disability and its difficulties, and see the important impact of our activities on the daily life of disadvantaged people in a natural surrounding. Since this is a small association, we welcome one volunteer at a time to offer her the most fulfilling experience, to allow her to interact with staff members and users, always having something stimulating to do. The activities in fact vary: assisting during therapeutic riding sessions, participating in vaulting class, working alongside with disadvantage and disabled people, assisting pet-therapies with dogs, taking care of the animals (horses and dogs), participating with psychomotricity activities, helping during summer day camps. All these activities are carried out in constant interaction both with staff members and with users, allowing social interaction, cultural integration, as well as learning, assured by the professionals who are ready to show her our practices and answer any questions. The staff at the riding school interacts continuously with the volunteers, accompanying them in their experience of informal learning in an atmosphere of mutual cooperation. Our helpful companions, horses and other pet-partners, add something special to our activity: for them all people are equal and there are no different nationalities, cultures or abilities. The results are mostly on the personal level for the volunteer, this is a growing experience in addition to a learning one, that will stay with her for the rest of her life. She will reinforce her positive attitude towards disadvantaged, disabled, marginalized people, she will integrate and appreciate new cultures in her daily life in the community, respecting individual and cultural differences. She will also be encouraged to share her experience and we will present it to the local community and schools, to show the possibilities offered by this programme. On these occasions, the benefits and growing opportunities of EVS and other European programmes will be introduced, encouraging young people to take active part in them.
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