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The Fairytale of Childhood
Start date: Aug 1, 2014, End date: Nov 30, 2015 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The project "The Fairytale of Childhood" took place in Yoshkar-Ola in the Mari El Republic, a part of the Russian Federation. The receiving organisation, Opora, hosted 1 long-term volunteer from YMCA in the Czech Republic from 1 February 2015 until 28 September 2015, travel included. The selected volunteer had a formal educational background in psychology and interculural learning and had experience in volunteering in non-profit organisations in the Czech Republic. The project's mission was to support the development of youth movements in the local community of Yoshkar-Ola, Republic of Mari El, and also to strengthen the presence of other cultures in the local community with an emphasis on volunteering and active citizenship. Until now, the city is almost untouched by any kind of international volunteering, including the “Erasmus +” programme, therefore more promotion is necessary to support acceptance of voluntary service as a real life experience and to promote volunteering in general. The main task of this project wass thus to promote international volunteering, especially through EVS. By receiving a foreign volunteer, a bearer of a different culture, Opora helped to create a multicultural and stereotype-breaking environment in Yoshkar-Ola, and helped to develop the regional civil society. Jan engaged and inspired local youth by setting a good example and by teaching them about Czech and European culture. Also, the Czech volunteer in the Russian Federation helped to promote Czech and European culture and helped to build bridges between the countries, that have a troubled mutual history. Specific activities of the volunteer included working with the target groups of Opora (youth with limited opportunities, local children, students of secondary school and university...) and with the local partner institutions of Opora, PR activities promoting the project, leading a language and discussion club, presenting Czech and European culture through games, interactive seminars, media etc., organising leisure-time activities for youth, and more. The volunteer had a tailor-made individual work and a learning plan that were created along with the organisation to ensure a positive and fruitful EVS activity. We do believe that the project meant for Jan unique experience and continuous challenge for the activities he was involved in but also for the social, cultural and political background of Republic El-Mari and Opora, one of the leading NGOs in Yoshkar-Ola.
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