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The Nature of Change
Start date: May 4, 2015, End date: Apr 3, 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The project took place in Natural Park of Serras de Aire e Candeeiros from 01.09.2015 - 02.03.2016, located between the villages of Bezerra (3 Km) and Arrimal (4Km) in Portugal. The hosting organization received 2 volunteers from Estonia who joined other national and international volunteers for multicultural and multilinguistic project. This project aimed to foster mutual understanding, intercultural learning and cooperation between the volunteers and the local community. The activities proposed established connection in three sources (leisure, educational and labour), aiming at the contact and direct experience with the environment in rural area and had as main goals: Promote environmental awareness, in order to engage in the community good practical environmental norms; To develop areas of information, awareness and enhance good practical environmental norms; Providing opportunities for training and education for young people with interest in ecology, nature, biodiversity and opportunity to learn several techniques that will allow to work in the environmental area; Contribute for building international volunteering, to provide to the volunteers a new way of living; Cultural exchange and create interest about other cultures; Promote social inclusion, to increase the self-esteem, the self- confidence of youth; Support the groups in the prevention of fire in forests and reforestation; Promote values of respect, tolerance and equality. The activities of this project were developed in rural areas. The fact is that some people believe that living in a small community is not positive as they don’t have access to many infrastructures, makes young people to leave their home place to the surrounding cities. By involving different young people in activities that foster the participation of people of all ages,project enhanced specific cultural aspects of the area where activities were developed, created a new way to look at populations that leave far from big city centers and made people understand that all should be included in society, independently of their origins. The young EVS volunteers were involved in the activities by taking part of working teams that were formed by workers, technicians, and local volunteers from the host organizations, responsible for those activities. This developed the level of key competences of the volunteers and gave them the experience of working in an international team. As for the local community, receiving volunteers, with different backgrounds, was a challenge to face racism and prejudice. Both, community and volunteers, worked towards a good intercultural dialogue and worked together towards integration. The intercultural dialogue and integration of the volunteers in the local community fostered sense of tolerance and the respect for other cultures. Integrated in the local community the volunteers developed their sense of tolerance and understanding of diversity. Besides that the volunteers promoted cultural diversity in Europe trough actions directed at school population and young people in general having for basis activities developed in the sphere of action of non-formal education. The volunteers promoted meetings/ ateliers to present their own countries, culture, language and express their feelings and reasons why they have chosen to do EVS. These actions helped both volunteers and local communities to understand each other better and to be more tolerant towards difference.
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